By the eighth grade, Richard Kuklinski had dropped out of school. Later on, he committed his first violent crime at age 14. A crime is an act of deviance that breaks not only a norm but a law. ( ) Richard killed Charley Chase, a kid who had bullied him for some time. He took revenge by killing him and throwing him off a bridge and removing his teeth and fingertips to prevent identification (Richard Kuklinski-Criminal minds). After his first murder, Richard was scared that he would be charged with the crime, but at the same time, he liked feeling in control and not being bossed around. ( ) According to George Herbert Mead’s theory of Symbolic interaction, we are thinking beings who act according to how we interpret situations.( ) Following this further, Richard acted according to how he interpreted the situation because of his abusive childhood, he did not know another way to react.
In his neighborhood, people knew he killed someone and was considered a ” tough guy”, this encouraged Richard to continue doing deviant acts, he felt he had earned this. Erving Goffman called this Achieved status, a position that is earned or chosen. ( ) Richard felt like he earned to be a tough guy, He started feeling powerful and in control. During his childhood, he had no control over any situation with his parents abusing him. Now, he had found a way to take out all his anger. From there on Richards started to commit random crimes; killing strangers with no real intention. In this case, Sociologist Edwin Sutherland proposed that through interaction with others, individuals learn the values, attitudes, techniques, and motives for criminal behavior. ( ) Correspondingly the theory of differential association explains this, “if an individual associates with people who have deviant ideas, the individual is likely to become deviant”. ( ) According to Sutherland, deviance is less a personal choice and more a result of differential socialization processes. Children learn certain behaviors from those people who surround them, especially from their parents. ( ) This was the case with Richard: his parents demonstrated deviant behavior therefore, he learned deviant behavior, and this was one of the reasons why he started committing crimes.
Fast forward into Richard’s adulthood, he continued murdering people, Richard knew this was wrong but he still continued to do it. He was then noticed by the Gambinos. His Deviant career began after he took a job at a film lab and sold pornographic movies to the Gambinos. His Deviant career included “robbery, hijackings, and pornography, but murder was his favorite (Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski, 2015). Richard had done many “type one crimes”, this included violent crimes, random crimes, and organized crimes. Organized crime is an organization of criminals who intend to engage in illegal activities, most commonly for money and profit. Richard Kuklinski started working for Newark’s DeCavalcante crime family and New York City’s Five Families, including the Gambinos. Richard was considered an innovator because he continued to accept socially approved values but use illegal means to acquire them. He had no other way of making money with his 8th-grade education, therefore he became a number one hitman for the Gambinos and DeCavalcante family.
Richard Kuklinski was labeled as the “Iceman” because he would occasionally place his victims in freezers after he murdered them and leave them there for years until he dumped the bodies. (Richard Kuklinski). According to labeling theory is the process of interaction between non-deviants and deviants in society. Labeling not only affects how others see an individual but also influences the individual’s sense of self. (Edwin Lemert,1972) Lemert believed secondary deviance describes cases where individuals come to accept the label and see themselves as deviant. The label can influence a person’s identity and lead to the continuation of deviant behavior. ( ) This means that once people are labeled deviant, they tend to see themselves as deviant.