Socialization and Criminal Behavior Essay

John Wayne Gacy is known today as one of the most disturbed serial killers in American history. Over the course of 6 years he claimed the lives of 33 men, brutally raping, torturing and eventually murdering them. Eventually, he was caught by police and was tried and convicted for his crimes. He was sentenced to die by lethal injection and was executed in 1994. Gacy was born in Chicago during the 1940’s. As a child he was very overweight and shy.

He was very close to his mother but felt the need to constantly seek approval from his father who never felt he was good enough to amount to anything. His father was very abusive verbally and physically. When he was a young child, a male family member molested him, which is what may have triggered his obsession with men. He moved around to different high schools and eventually graduated from Northwestern Business College. His studies had focused on management and it led to apprenticeships and trainee positions in sales.

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It is common knowledge that Gacy presented himself as an intelligent, friendly individual and enjoyed entertaining children and being involved in community activities. It was obvious that Gacy took his involvement in community organizations very seriously and he devoted most of his free time to them. Many who knew Gacy at this time considered him to be very ambitious and eager to make a name for himself in the community. However, it has been suggested that he was very anti-social at times and might have suffered from multiple personality disorder.

In business, he was very friendly with employees, especially male applicants that he was interested in personally. Eventually, he would lure them back to his house and would kill them. While on trial for the murders former employees testified that they survived sexual and usually violent encounters with their boss. Some of his ex-employees told of his mood swings and how he would trick them into being handcuffed. Others told of how he constantly made passes at them while at work.

Following an arrest for sexual misconduct in the 1960’s a judge ordered Gacy to undergo psychiatric evaluation at several mental health facilities to find if he were mentally competent to stand trial. Upon evaluation, Gacy was found to be mentally competent. However, he was considered to be an antisocial personality who would probably not benefit from any known medical treatment. I think some people were aware of some underlying issues he may have had, however nothing was done to solve this problem. He continued visiting hospitals dressed as a clown and was still llowed to manage teenage boys who worked for him. I think many of the murders could have been prevented if people would have paid more attention to this man’s actions and his past. But I suppose, in the 1970’s it was not standard practice to really check someone’s background before they were hired. I feel that sometimes there is a distinct link between social forces and crime; however, this case is a bit different. Gacy was not poor and didn’t commit crimes to survive or join a gang because he didn’t come from a family.

I think the only social impact was the fact he made himself so readily available socially to commit these crimes. He became outgoing to fool his friends, family and neighbors. He fooled his employees and activist friends into believing that he was just like them, when in fact he seemed to detest everyone and just wanted to be by himself. Gacy used his social outlet to fuel his passion for crime. He preyed upon those who thought that they knew the real him, only to find that he was not who he seemed. References Bell, R, & Bardsley, M. n. d. ). John wayne gacy, jr.. Retrieved from http://www. trutv. com/library/crime/serial_killers/notorious/gacy/gacy_1. htm Kifner, John. “Gacy, Killer of 33, Is Put To Death as Appeals Fail. (National Desk). ” The New York Times. (May 11, 1994): NA. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Apollo Library. 5 July 2010 . Andrea L Brown. (2009, September 30). Des Plaines’ last Gacy investigator retiring :Detective interviewed, helped arrest serial killer. Chicago Tribune,p. 4. 4. Retrieved July 5, 2010, from Chicago Tribune.


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