Anda di halaman 1dari 6

David Smith

Professor Banda

Soc. 292

1 May 2015

Analysis of "Gang Tattoo Leads to a Murder Conviction"

In the featured article in LA Times, "Gang Tattoo Leads to a Murder Conviction", its

speaks of a homicide investigator named Kevin Lloyd and his efforts to solve a murder case

involving a possible suspect by the name of Anthony Garcia. Garcia was involved in a gang in

Pico Rivera. There are two theories that can be applied to this article. The first theory is the

"Miller's Focal Concerns Theory". The second is "Sutherland's Theory of Differential

Association". With these two theories, we will be able to understand the meaning behind the

criminal's action as well as behind the murder itself.

This case first started when Homicide investigator Kevin Lloyd began looking through

various photos of known gang members and their tattoos. While looking at these photos, Lloyd

found that one gang member (Anthony Garcia) stood out from the rest. "Inked on the pudgy

chest of a young Pico Rivera gangster..... [was] the Christmas lights that lined the roof of the

liquor store where 23-year-old John Juarez was gunned down, the direction his body fell, the

bowed street lamp across the way and the street sign all under the chilling banner of RIVERA

KILLS, a reference to the gang Rivera-13" (3-4). In addition to these previous tattoos, Garcia
also had some that seemed to "seal the deal" (5) in his conviction. The article states, below the

collarbone of the gang member known by the alias 'Chopper' was a miniature helicopter raining

down bullets on the scene" (6). After this find, authorities then arrested Anthony as a suspect for

the 2008 murder. It was said that tattoos like Anthony Garcias were something out of the

ordinary. According to Homicide Lt. Dave Dolson (mentioned in the current article), it is said

that, " gang members frequently get symbolic tattoos to bolster their street cred: three dots on the

hand to signify 'mi vida loca' ('my crazy life'), sketches of prisons where they've done time, gang

insignia prominently stenciled on their heads and torsos. But a tattoo laying out a detailed picture

of a crime scene is something far outside the norm". He continues saying, "I haven't seen it

before, and I haven't heard of anything like it either" (9). Along with a confession inked on

Garcia's chest, an undercover "...detective posing as a Los Angeles gang member who'd been

arrested on attempted murder charges was placed in Garcia's Norwalk station jail cell. He soon

got Garcia talking, sheriff's investigators said. Garcia was proud, and he bragged about the

shooting. He didn't know the conversation was being recorded and that it would soon be played

for a jury" (15).

Through Anthony Garcia's demonstrated actions and outward representations (i.e. his

tattoos), we can infer that this could in fact be related to the "Miller's Focal Concern Theory". In

the textbook titled: Introduction to Criminology, it implies that those that are in the lower class

youth of society tend to "seek status and prestige within one-sex peer units (gangs) in which the

exaggerate focal concerns already in existence in lower class culture" (p 170). When referring to

the "lower class", this quote is speaking about those that come from a hard life or are struggling.

With this, those individuals are seeking a form of comfort, or belonging, and see this in gangs.

As soon as these individuals are in a gang, they can satisfy their need of acceptance, and begin to
build their status, so as to have more of a reputation. In this case, Anthony Garcia displayed this

theory through the information he gave to an undercover officer while incarcerated. When

sharing his pride with the officer, Garcia tried to show his physical prowess and his ability to

outsmart authorities, thus trying to get favor or acceptance. We can see that this also is another

factor of the "Miller's Focal Concern Theory", in which it states that "lower class culture

emphasize trouble, toughness, smartness, excitement, fate, and autonomy" (p. 170). Trouble,

being the act that gives the deviant a reputation and attention that sets the troublemaker apart

from the rest of the crowd. Toughness is the ability to be self-reliant. Smartness is the goal of

out-thinking the police. Excitement is the thrill of the unknown result of the effort. Fate is being

the lack of planning, but obtain success because despite the lack of expertise. And lastly,

Autonomy or being free from the chains of authority (or in this case the police). All of these

together make up the goals of what most young gang members hope to claim.

However, another not-so-obvious theory might also be as relevant, the Sutherlands theory

of Differential Association. This theory concludes that an individual that is immersed in a

particular sub-culture such as criminal activity will eventually begin to embrace some of it as a

normal way of life. It may begin with an initiation in which the young person must rob the local

liquor store and later escalate to busting a cap on a innocent person. The theory implies the

almost any inhuman act whether rape, maiming or murder can eventually be perform without

interference of a conscience and even at some point be revere as something to brag about. This is

found in the horrific story which Garcia proudly displays in his tattooed chest.

The fact that many gangs member have tattoos is not so important. The tattoo plays a

significant part in many fraternal organization and is largely seen in many branches of military

service. However, it is Garcias choice of art which suggest that he has become desensitized to
the terrible actions of the world of the gang banger. Differential Association theory is not

directed at the issue of the origin of crime in society, but concentrates instead on the transition of

criminal attitudes or behavior (168, Introduction to criminology). Garcias exposure and

immersion into gang activity has clearly changed him into a dangerous person void of a desire to

assimilate into a civilized society.

According to Sutherland, there are four required components to his theory that one must

check off before the individual will turn to a life of crime with his homies. The first being the

frequency, which is the amount of contacts the person has in his life that are a part of the gang.

Second, being the duration spent from when the person first joins the gang and the life of crime

to present day. Thirdly, is listed as the priority, which are the standards the individual has towards

crime. And lastly, the intensity of the relationship of the deviant and the deviant acts.

This theory relates to the article because Garcia showed frequency by it stating that he

was in a gang (or a group of like-minded individuals). Garcia showed duration in the article by

the article stating this case had lasted for quite a few years before the police officers were able to

solve it. He demonstrated priority because he displayed no regret of his actions of killing other,

and in fact would brag and show off the story from his chest. Antony showed intensity by the

way he would brag to unknown people about a serious crime that would make the average person

shun or rationalize the acknowledgement of the action.

In conclusion, Antony Garcia does compare to the two provided theories. The

theories arent two detailed and do have other flaws that could be exploited, but for using it as a

possible idea to explain and humanize criminals, Antony in this case, it works perfectly. But the

really scary thought is if this individual didnt try to obtain more prestige and having others in
gang impressed by tattooing this crime scene, there wasnt much that tied Garcia to the crime.

This case was old and practically dead because its been years since anymore evidence turned up.
Work Cited Page

1. Faturechi, Robert. "Gang Tattoo Leads to a Murder Conviction." Los

Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 22 Apr. 2011. Web. 9 May 2015.

2. Hagan, Frank E. "Chapter 7." Introduction to Criminology: Theories,

Methods, and Criminal Behavior. 8th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications,

2008. 167-71. Print.