Do you believe that murder is an interactive event? If so, does that amount to “blaming the victim?” If murder is a transaction, should we consider rape, domestic assault, and so forth to also be “transactions?”
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Of course, not all murders are the same. Therefore, some murders may be interactive events while others are not. If we understand “blaming the victim” properly, we can say that murders are interactive events without necessarily blaming the victim.
Some murders are clearly not interactive. For example, the “D.C. Sniper” pair of John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo picked victims essentially at random. There was no real connection between the victims’ actions and their being killed. The same is true of most mass shootings like the one in the theater in Colorado. These are random attacks in which there is very little interaction between the killer and the victim.
However, many murders are interactive in that they come about because of the relationships between the people involved. When a husband kills his wife, for example, it is usually because of the ways in which the two interacted. He did not kill her randomly. To him, her actions were the cause of his desire to kill her.
If we explain a murder in this way, are we blaming the victim? I would argue that we are not. When we blame the victim, we are saying that they deserved what happened to them. That is very different than identifying things they did that caused their killer to want to kill them. Think about these two statements: “he got mad at her and killed her because she stayed out late with friends” and “she deserved to be killed because she stayed out late when he wanted her home.” These are very different. The first statement shows that we know the murder was an interaction, but it does not imply that we think he was right to kill her. This is not blaming the victim. The second statement is an example of blaming the victim because it says that we believe the victim brought the crime on herself.
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