Guns Should Not Be Banned in the US Essay

Guns Should Not Be Banned in the US Essay.

Just a few weeks ago a man with the name Adam Lanza decided to take the guns of his mother and take the life of 20 children and 8 adults, including his mother’s and his own. This atrocity hasn’t been the first one. In the weeks since the massacre, gun control supporters have called for a new federal ban on assault weapons and for reductions in the number of concealed-carry permits issued to private citizens. However, to blame assault weapons for this tragedy makes as much sense as blaming airplanes for the 9-11 attacks.

The problem lies with the perpetrator, not the tool used to commit the crime. It is an illusion that further gun control will protect the public since no law, no matter how restrictive, can protect us from people who decide to commit violent crimes. Guns should never be banned in the United States, because the possession of guns ultimately helps improve public safety. Embodied in the Second Amendment to the Constitution is the truth that self-governing individuals should bear the responsibility for defending themselves.

The Amendment states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Many heated controversies in regard to the Second Amendment have been generated among legal scholars. The most vigorous debate among all is the correct meaning of the phrase. Some argue that the right of bearing arms only applies collectively to those in the militia. However, Pratt indicates that many scholars ignore the foundational principles in the Amendment, including the law of self-government and the right of self-defense. His argument is supported by a quote from one founding father, “a primary law of nature, which . . . (is] the immediate gift of the Creator.” Pratt indicates that, self-defense is a God-given right that is unalienable and incapable of being surrendered or transferred. Many pro gun control supporters adhere to the belief that the availability of guns make violent crime happen and, more importantly, that criminal violence in general can be reduced by limiting access to firearms. This is a testable empirical proposition. Research shows that disarming the public has not reduced criminal violence.

For example, in Washington, D.C. and New York City, severe gun control laws had been applied, yet Washington D.C. is the “murder capital of the US” and New York City ranks among the most dangerous places in the country. In both cities, violent criminals can easily obtain the most deadly weapons on the streets within minutes. Legal scholar John Lott presents the most rigorously comprehensive data analysis ever done on crime statistics and right-to-carry laws. Lott had sat the agenda on the impact of guns on crime in America by creating a massive dataset of all 3,054 counties in the United States during 18 years from 1977 through 1994. He proposed a powerful statistical argument that state laws enabling citizens to carry concealed handguns had reduced crime (18).

There are two reasons why concealed handgun laws reduce violent crime. First, they reduce the number of attempted crimes because criminals are uncertain about the possibility of potential victims defending themselves. Second, victims with possession of guns are in a much better position to defend them. Lott also presented the strong negative relationship between the number of law-abiding citizens with permits and the crime rate, which declines as more people obtain permits (59). The ultimate question that concerns everyone is whether allowing law-abiding citizens to own guns will save more lives or not. While there are many anecdotal stories illustrating both good and bad uses of guns, Lott answered this question by illustrating his data analysis and conclude the net effect.

This timely and provocative work comes to the startling conclusion: more guns mean less crime. Possessing guns is one of the major methods for citizens to defense themselves. Some people may use guns in illegal ways, but more have the purpose of preventing horrible things from happening to them. Making guns illegal will primarily disarm peaceful citizens. At the same time, criminals will always find the weapons they need to carry out their crime. This situation leaves a green light for violent criminals to attack everyone, leaving potential victims defenseless. Every day, thousands of peaceful Americans successfully use guns to defend themselves. A study conducted by Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck found that Americans use guns defensively 2.5 million times a year based on 16 national surveys of samples of the U.S. population. Prior to Kleck’s study, thirteen other surveys indicated a range of between 800,000 to 2.5 million defensive gun uses annually.

Given that there are far more gun-owning crime victims than there are gun-owning criminals and that victimization is spread out over different victims while offending is among a relatively small number of offenders, Kleck arrived at the conclusion that defensive gun uses are substantially more common than criminal gun uses (102). This claim has been repeatedly confirmed, and remains one of the most consistently supported assertions in the guns-violence research area. Through years of research, Kleck has found strong evidence that “crime victims who use guns during a crime are less likely to be injured or killed, and less likely to lose property than crime victims who adopt any other strategy, including non-resistance.” The intent of some advocates of gun control can be misleading.

As the debate over the 1976 District of Columbia gun ban demonstrates, “gun control” often covers for a hidden agenda. British Cabinet papers declassified in 1969-70 demonstrate that contrary to claims made in Parliamentary debates, the intent of the Firearms Act 1920 was not to reduce or prevent crime, but to prevent a feared Bolshevik revolution in Britain. Direct statements by members of the Cabinet demonstrate an intent to mislead the public about their objectives. There are reasons other than the possession of guns that could cause the high frequency of shooting. Being one of them, Cramer’s article, Ethical problems of mass murder coverage in the mass media examines the way in which statistically disproportionate coverage of mass murders by Newsweek and Time from 1984 to 1991 encouraged at least one copycat crime, and may have caused others. Cramer uses a copycat crime Joseph Wesbecker convicted after Patrick Purdy as an example.

Initial coverage of Purdy’s crime was relatively restrained, and only the essential details were reported. But a week later, Patrick Purdy’s name continued to receive press attention, and consequently his fame increased. Articles referencing Purdy or his crime continued to appear in for many months. On September 14, 1989, Joseph Wesbecker, using the exact same weapon as Purdy did, conducted a massacre of his own. After reading about the destructive power of Patrick Purdy’s weapon, Wesbecker clipped out a February Time magazine article on some of Purdy’s exploits, in order to describe the gun to a gun dealer. Fame and infamy are in an ethical sense, opposites. Functionally, they are nearly identical. The human need to celebrate human nobility, and to denounce human depravity, has caused us to devote tremendous attention, both scholarly and popular, to portraying the polar opposites of good and evil.

The pursuit of fame can lead people to acts of great courage and nobility. It can also lead to acts of great savagery. Other than the long-time debates on gun control law itself, it is necessary for the public to think about other issues regarding public safety. In all cases, gun bans have been ineffective, expensive, and even counter-productive. If properly issued, registered, monitored and stored, guns will help defense US citizens’ safety. The fact is that we live in a dangerous world and the government cannot protect us for every single minute. We must ultimately rely upon ourselves and only by having the necessary tools can we make it realizable. Therefore, guns should never be banned in the United States.

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Guns Should Not Be Banned in the US Essay

Theories and Burglary Essay

Theories and Burglary Essay.

Routine activities theory is a theory that was created in the late 1970’s meant to explain crime and victimization. The routine activities theory is based off of the assumption made in previous theories such as deterrence and rational choice theory, which offenders rationally think out criminal behaviors before they engage in them. This assumption includes the theory that offenders calculate risks and consequences before committing a crime. The routine activities theory suggests that there are three elements that contribute to whether a crime will be committed or not.

In order for a crime to be committed according to theory there must be: a motivated offender, a suitable target, and the absence of a guardian.

Motivated offenders are individuals who are not only capable of committing criminal activity, but are willing to do so. Motivation could be the excitement of committing the crime, or committing a crime in order to gain money or other benefits. Motivated offenders have usually already decided on the fact that they are going to commit a crime, and move on to how, when, where, and against who that the crime will be committed.

The term guardian most often refers to members in the community who may potentially witness a criminal act. For example a guardian could be but is certainly no limited to a police officer. Other guardians may be neighbors, friends, family members, or just by standers. They say that there is safety in numbers, and according to this theory, it is true. The lack of a guardian creates a mindset of “no one is watching” which combined with a motivated offender and a vulnerable target, increases the likelihood that a crime will occur.

A “suitable target” can refer to either a person or an object depending on the crime. According to Felson, there are a number of factors that can create a “suitable target.” One factor is the value that a target holds which can be defined by the amount of money a target is worth. Value can also refer to items that are popular at the given time such as ipods, beats, or trendy clothing. Another factor is inertia, which refers to how easily an item or person is to access. For example if an item is lightweight or easy to move such as a bicycle, it is much more likely to be stolen versus a heavy or stationary item. A lightweight object could be a computer, a television, or other valuable but small objects. Visibility is also a factor and refers to how visible the target is to the motivated offender. In the instance of property, if an item or person is “left in plain sight” without a guardian there is a higher chance of criminals act being committed. The last factor is access. Access addresses how easily the offender can go to where the crime will be committed, commit the crime, and exit the crime scene in a non-interrupted fashion.

Routine activities theory better applies to property crime rather than to personal crime. In this instance the routine activities theory will be used to explain burglary. Burglary is defined as the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft. Burglary rates for various reasons such as law enforcement, education, and the economy, have fluctuated up and down. With that said there are still victims of burglary every day, and according to research there is a victim of burglary every 15 seconds. Victims of burglary may experience a loss of personal property and, or the loss of a peace of mind inside their own home, or property.

According the routines activities theory, a burglar will first decide to commit the crime through a thought out process, and then will use the same rationality to chose a target. The burglar will weigh both the risks and the benefits of specific targets in order to choose a target that presents the least amount of risk factors that would lead to being caught, and also the target in which they will have the most to gain. Burglars will most likely chose neighborhoods that they know well so that they can maneuver throughout without being noticed. Burglars will chose houses that are the most accessible. Accessible meaning, houses that are easy to get in and out of undetected such as homes that are located on streets with two entrances and exits versus homes that are located in cul-de-sacs.

Burglary is more likely to occur in homes and neighborhoods that have fewer guardians. Burglaries do not occur as often in homes where more members of a family stay at home, acting as guardians. In recent years there has been an increase in burglaries due to lack of guardianship that is correlated to the increase of women in the workforce versus women being “house wives”. With no one home during the day, the house becomes a more suitable target. In better-established neighborhoods there is a higher likelihood of neighbors acting as guardians to help prevent property crimes. With that being said, better-established neighborhoods do not always have lower burglary rates. Burglars often choose homes by the attractiveness or the value in which the burglars associate with the physical appearance of a home. A neighborhood full of nice homes could potentially become a target because of the valuable items that are predicted to be inside the homes according to how valuable the house appears on the outside.

The lifestyle approach is a theory that is closely related to the routine activities theory and also effectively explains possible causes and factors related to the criminal act of burglary.

The lifestyle approach theory focuses a lot on the victim’s side of a crime and what factors could increase the change of becoming a victim. For example, it examines the increase of rates of victimizations throughout racial and ethnic minorities such as African Americans. It also addresses how a person’s personal lifestyle can affect the likelihood of becoming a victim of a crime. The lifestyle approach suggests several lifestyle choices that could possibly lead to victimization.

One approach of the theory is that individuals who choose to spend time in public places versus at home, especially at night, become at a higher risk to be victimized. As it relates to burglary, a person who is not at home as much may cause their property to be at a higher risk due to their absence. A person who is often away from the home at nighttime increases this risk due to the fact that there will be less guardians during a night time crime and also due to the fact that a crime committed at night time presents less risks for the criminal. A person’s interaction with other people in the community also presents a link to victimization. It is human nature for people to be social with people who share similar lifestyles. In the instance that a person does commit crimes such as burglary, he/she will most likely interact with other criminals.

Interacting with criminals makes a person more likely to become a victim of a crime. Also a non criminal who socializes with criminals is more likely to eventually become a criminal. Although, the situations mentioned are situations that can be changed in order to prevent victimization, there are some lifestyle factors that a person cannot simply change. For example a person, who is living in a risky neighborhood may financially not be able to move into a better neighborhood, and unfortunately become suitable targets for criminals that are living in the same demographic area.

Although these two theories address the circumstances and explain the rationalization a burglars thought process, there are some aspects of burglary and crime in general, which the theories do not explain. In both theories there is no focus given specifically to the individual that is committing the crimes in relation to personality, socioeconomic status, current economy, personal lifestyle, or past events. In both theories there is a significant amount of attention focused on the circumstances caused by the victim, and members of the society, but nothing about what creates a motivated offender. There are items that the theories could include in order to better explain burglary. One example would be to include factors that lead a person to make a rational choice to commit a crime. Why does one person become a “motivated offender” versus another person?

Between the two theories that were discussed, routine activities theory and lifestyle approach, there was information that one theory covered that the other did not. If the information between the two theories were combined it would create an overall better explanation of burglary. For example the routine activities theory addressed the factors in which made a burglar more likely to be commit a burglary, where the lifestyle approach focused more on how a victims made themselves vulnerable to burglaries according to their lifestyle. Each theory would be more valuable in including both sides of the criminal and the victim. The lifestyle approach addresses how crime rates and victimization affect racial and ethnic minorities.

Both theories present valuable information to both the study of criminal behavior and educational suggestions for potential victims. The theories explain clearly how a persons lifestyle, environment, safety precautions, and the role of potential witnesses, all create or destroy a criminal’s opportunity to make that person a victim.

Theories and Burglary Essay

Travis Hirschi-Criminological Theory Essay

Travis Hirschi-Criminological Theory Essay.


Radical positivism has two wings: a mild version which takes the legal code as representative of a consensus and proceeds to create its own statistics in terms of this measure, but independently of the police and the judiciary and a stronger version which derives its statistics from a posited consensus which is held to differ significantly from that enshrined in legal definitions. Travis Hirschi, like the majority of modern criminologists, adopts the milder version when he writes (1969, p. 47): ‘In this study, delinquency is defined by acts, the detection of which is thought to result in the punishment of the person committing them by agents of the wider society.

The responsibility for evaluating whether an act is to appear as crime or not is shifted either to the wider society in general, or, in the case of self-report studies (e.g. Eddy, J. M., & Gribskov, L. S. 1998) to the offender himself. The law provides a rough moral yardstick, the statistics representing the willingness of individuals to admit to an act retrospectively, or the extent to which police officers are willing and able to arrest offenders whom they encounter in the course of their work.

In this perspective, the stress is on the seriousness with which lawbreaking is viewed, whether by the agency of social control (the policeman) or by the respondent in a self-report study. It is assumed that there is no great disagreement on the morality of law itself.

The predicament which arises in this perspective is that crime, thus defined or quantified, is found to be well-nigh ubiquitous. It is found to occur in all sections of society—amongst the rich and the poor, the young and the old—amongst men and women—and always in greater amounts and in different proportions than was previously assumed. Criminological theory, however, has largely worked on the assumption that crime is an overwhelmingly youthful, masculine, working-class activity.

Radical positivists—confronting the altogether different picture of criminality arrived at by their own techniques—conclude, not that there is a greater spread and variety of rationality in the society at large (some of which is rational law-breaking) than was previously allowed, but that the effectiveness of social control throughout the society is not all that it has been assumed to be. The police, the social workers and the judiciary are, by implication, accused of exercising non-scientific criteria in the decisions they have made about the disposition of rule-breaking individuals. Reforms are therefore necessary to ensure that social control operates effectively and ‘scientifically’ in accordance with the objective interests of the consensus. Radical positivism, therefore, is concerned with the operationalization and the enforcement, via the techniques of positive science, of the moral consensus embodied in the body of criminal law.

All of the evidence about the guilty demeanor and the techniques of neutralization is derived from the situation of apprehension, and apprehended delinquents could have no reason to give strategical (apologetic) answers to the questions he (or others) might have asked him. Individuals may engage in delinquent behavior not because of episodic release from moral constraint, but perhaps because those engaging in delinquent activities do not generally subscribe to the moral codes which prohibit such activities.

More important argument is that of Travis Hirschi (1969) according to which most delinquency is the product of drift. Hirschi suggests that most delinquents may perhaps not concur in conventional assessment of delinquency because (p. 26) ‘the less a person believes he should obey the rules, the more likely he is to violate them’. Much delinquency is explicable as a reaffirmation of working-class values which is dissociated from middle-class values. There is a considerable literature which denies the systematically integrated view of culture which in almost Parsonian fashion, attributes to contemporary society. In sum, the empirical evidence to support the view of the neutralization of the moral bind of law is thin and ambiguous. (Matza, 1990)

Criminological Theory Evaluation

Rather more importantly, if one were to accept with Matza that every kind of statement made by delinquents about the morality of law (whether in the situation of apprehension or elsewhere) is a neutralization, then it would be difficult to conceive of any kind of statement that could be anything else. How, then, could one begin to explain the statements of political deviants in court? Was Jonathan Jackson neutralizing the moral bind of Californian law when he took a gun to court, and told them ‘OK, gentlemen, this is where we take over’? Matza would allow this exception, arguing that Jonathan Jackson was a radical, and that bohemians too may make oppositional statements in the situation of apprehension. Juvenile delinquents, on the other hand, are juveniles and they are held in check by the moral bind of the family.

However, as Hirschi (1969, pp. 199-200) has astutely noted: ‘the more strongly the child is tied to the conventional order, the less likely he is to be able to invent and use techniques of neutralization. ’ We do not accept, with Hirschi, that delinquency may result from differential attachment to parents, and learning processes which result in children being differentially attached to moral authority in general—especially at a time when the hold of the nuclear family is, by all accounts, being weakened. However, we do accept Hirschi’s argument that large numbers of delinquents have a limited code of discourse which takes the form of restricted codes of communication prevalent throughout the working class (Hirschi, 1967).

There is no warrant for assuming, with Matza, that because these codes enable only a non-critical and inarticulate response that therefore their ‘implicit critique’ is not a critique at all but a neutralization. Indeed, even in the most extreme cases of verbal disorder where linguistic utterances are hardly possible by the deviant (e.g. schizophrenia), it has been strongly argued that non-communication itself can be understood as political attack upon the double-bind concentration camp of the nuclear family. Moreover, Matza seems to assume that all his techniques of neutralization are on the same level that is that they are all techniques which neutralize the moral bind of society in the same kind of way. Of course, he does allow that there are various degrees of freedom in using different techniques.

For example, he allows that disclaiming responsibility because one is sick is altogether different from denying one’s responsibility by ‘condemning the condemners’. The problem with this convolution of different types is that even a full-blown ideology could be made to look like a neutralization. Moreover, the list of types is posed in a unilinear fashion: all of the techniques, or any one of them, is seen to neutralize conventional morality. However, it is perfectly apparent that they make different sense depending on what deviant action is being contemplated and upon what kind of morality is being ‘extended’. A homosexual who says he cannot help being a homosexual because he is sick is very different from the homosexual who denies the fact of harm to the victim, who declares that ‘gay is good’ and that his partner agrees.

Of course, deviants do switch from one position to another, but this is contingent upon the dialectical relationship between their deviant action and (not just the conventional morality) and the structure of power, the changes in cultural options, the opportunity to act and the likelihood of apprehension. We are claiming, as against Matza, that deviant motivations run the whole gamut from total acceptance of social morality (coupled with an absolute need to break that morality, e.g. theft in order to feed, killing in self-defense) through to those cases where deviants are in total opposition to conventional morality and are in large part motivated by their desire to alter or destroy it (e.g. total cultural nihilists).

In sum, Matza’s schema of ‘moral neutralization’, underpinned by a simple notion of the relationship of the individual to his culture, must be seen to be what it is: an ambiguous construction of highly articulate assertions. 5 If, however, Matza had been operating with a rather more explicit view of the relationship of men to structures of power and authority he might have become aware that the cultural options available to the majority of citizens in an inequitable capitalist society are designed to make opposition look like neutralizations rather than the critique of the frustrated and the deprived.

The central approaches to the study of deviant behavior often emphasize the importance of relationships with significant others. For example, Social Control Theory focuses on the role of social bonds and the extent to which variation in bonding with the family is associated with delinquent behavior. Accordingly, the strength and quality of relationships with significant others are crucial in the individual’s decision to refrain from deviant behavior. The tendency to deviate is restrained and most people conform to legal and normative behavior as a result of their positive bond with society. When this bond is weakened engaging in deviant behavior is more likely.

The stronger the social bonding of adolescents with parents and peers, the more conformist their behavior is likely to be, in order to avoid jeopardizing these relationships. Control theory states that inadequate socialization will result in weakened bonds, freeing an individual from internal and external controls. When controls are absent or low, individuals are more likely to deviate.

Differential association asserts that individuals exposed to criminal patterns are more apt to deviate and adopt definitions favorable toward law violation. Social control theory argues that people are motivated to obey the law by social controls but that they do not need any special motivation to violate the law because this occurs naturally in the absence of any social controls. Since social control theorists assume everyone would violate the law if they could get away with it, they concentrate on explaining why people do not commit crime.

Travis Hirschi’s social control theory argues that everyone has the potential to be law violating; however, fear deters most people because they do not want to jeopardize the social bonds that they have with others. Drifters, for example, have the greatest likelihood of committing crime, for they have few social bonds at stake. Hirschi stated that there are four aspects of social bonds: attachment, commitment, belief and involvement. For example, an adolescent will be less likely to engage in criminal behavior if he is attached to his parents, if he commits time and effort to conventional lines of behavior and if he believes in community values. In addition, he will probably be involved in school activities, thereby leaving little time to engage in criminal behavior.

Every group or situation encountered in everyday life is governed by social norms. Social norms are the accepted way to behave within a group or environment. (Hirschi, 1983) There are norms for every social group ranging from work environments, socializing and even waiting your turn at the petrol station. Every place or group has it own social norm, for example, when driving on public roads, individuals are expected to follow all the rules but when driving in banger racing on private land, then individuals are expected to speed and collide with other cars. Without social norms, society would collapse into chaos, we need to know and understand what is expected of us.

Early control theories include both socialization, in which a person acquires self- control, and the control over the person’s behavior through the external application of social sanctions, rewards for conformity, and punishments for deviance. Personal controls are internalized, whereas social controls operate through the external application of legal and informal social sanctions. The three main categories of social control that prevent deviance are:
1) Direct control, by which punishment is imposed or threatened for misconduct and compliance is rewarded by parents.
2) Indirect control, by which a youth refrains from delinquency because his or her delinquent act might cause pain and disappointment for parents or others with whom one has close relationships.
3) Internal control, by which a youth’s conscience or sense of guilt prevents him or her from engaging in delinquent acts.

It is argued that the more adolescent’s needs for affection, recognition, security, and new experiences are met within the family, the less they will turn to meeting those needs in unacceptable ways outside the family. At about the same time the control theory was formulated, Walter Reckless proposed his containment theory of delinquency and crime. Reckless’ theory was based on the same principles of internal and external control. The basic idea of this containment theory is that these inner and outer pushes and pulls will produce delinquent behavior unless they are counteracted by inner and outer containment.

Travis Hirschi’s social bonding theory laid the footsteps for all other criminal theorists. Hirschi formulated a control theory that brought together elements from all previous control theories and offered new ways to account for delinquent behavior. Michael R. Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi wrote a general theory of crime in 1990. This is a more refined control theory than originally presented over twenty years earlier by Hirschi.

The theory states that children with behavioral problems will tend to grow into juvenile delinquents and eventually into adult offenders. They believed the path toward or away from crime commences early in life, and also that the level of self-control depends on the quality of parenting in a child’s early years. The theory supports that parenting is the most important factor which will determine one’s level of self-control.

In conclusion, empirical research has produced moderate or weak evidence in favor of social bonding and self control theories. Overall, the direct and indirect tests of tests of self- control theory support it, albeit with weak to modest relationships often reported. Travis Hirschi and his colleagues have developed two influential theories of delinquency, one emphasizing social control, the other self-control (M. R. Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990; Hirschi, 1969). We examine each of these in turn.

Social Control

Social control theory assumes that children and adolescents have a natural tendency to commit antisocial behaviors and that this tendency must be controlled by society (hence the name “social control”; Shoemaker, 1996). Hirschi (1969) argued that this unruly tendency is kept in check by emotional bonds and attachments that have been developed between the child and society. More specifically, Hirschi postulates that the social bond consists of four components: Attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief.

Attachment refers to the emotional bond the child feels toward other persons and groups. To some extent, Hirschi’s use of the concept of attachment is similar to that of psychologists, in that both describe an emotional bond between the child and someone else. Child psychologists, however, stress the importance of the initial attachment to the caregiver, but have rather neglected the child’s attachment to other individuals and groups. Hirschi, on the other hand, emphasizes the child’s attachments to groups (such as the family, school, and peers) more than to individuals. Children who develop strong attachments to individuals and groups that uphold conventional values are more likely to hold those values than are children who lack such attachments. (White, 1992)

A second aspect of the social bond is commitment, a measure of the extent to which the benefits of conformity to social conventions outweigh the benefits of conforming to antisocial values. If working hard and adhering to conventional morality pays off both materially and psychologically, then the child will continue to uphold societal standards. Conversely, if antisocial behaviors such as aggression, cheating, stealing, and lying pay off more than prosocial behaviors, the child will act antisocially. This aspect of Hirschi’s theory sounds a lot like reinforcement theory

Involvement, the third aspect of the social bond, refers to the extent that the child participates in activities sanctioned by the larger society. This would include, for example, the extent to which children participate in school activities, community service activities, community recreational activities, et cetera. The assumption is that the more children participate in such societal activities, the more they become invested in the values their society holds.

The final aspect of the social bond consists of the beliefs that children hold. This aspect involves the acceptance of the community’s value system. However, if the community lacks such a shared value system, children will develop their values from other sources. Thus, any factors that weaken such shared values also make antisocial behavior more likely Social control theory places a great deal of emphasis on the emotional relationship between the child and others as well as on the set of values the child holds.


More recently, Hirschi and Gottfredson (1994) developed a self-control theory of delinquency. According to this formulation, criminal acts occur because the individual is insensitive to and hence ignores the long-term negative consequences of antisocial behavior, while at the same time being unusually sensitive to the immediate pleasures the antisocial act produces.

In their view, the problem is that individuals who habitually commit antisocial acts do so because of a lack of self-control, defined as the ability to avoid antisocial acts whose long-term consequences exceed their momentary pleasure. Thus, for example, the young child who cheats on a test manifests a lack of self-control because he is unable to resist an act that is immediately satisfying but will have long-term negative consequences. Indeed, self-control theory’s emphasis on the long-term importance of self-regulation is supported by the results of the Mischel et al. (1988) study in which delay of gratification at age 4 was related to positive effects 10 years later.


Hirschi and Gottfredson see self-control as a personality trait that begins to develop in childhood and becomes more stable as the child reaches adolescence and adulthood. Children who develop self-control can inhibit their antisocial tendencies, but those who lack this trait will focus only on the present, and not on any long-term consequences, no matter how strong the long-term consequences might be. Self-control theory relates to the self-regulation processes, which we examined in connection with children’s moral development. In both cases, the ability to self-regulate and to value long-term consequences over short-term gains are seen as important elements in the development of prosocial behavior.

It concurs with attachment theory that the development of emotional bonds between the child and others is a crucial component of moral development, but it expands attachment theory by arguing that the importance of attachment lies in the fact that an attached child is more likely to internalize the values of the parent and society than is a nonattached child. Another interesting aspect is its assumption that involvement in “conventional” activities will strengthen the social bond. Today, this aspect of control theory is probably best seen in the increasing tendency of school systems to impose some kind of a community service requirement on students.

David Matza; 1990. Delinquency and Drift: Transaction Publishers.
Eddy, J. M., & Gribskov, L. S. 1998. Juvenile justice and delinquency prevention in the United States: The influence of theories and traditions on policies and practices, Delinquent Violent Youth: Theory and Interventions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Hirschi Travis, and Michael Gottfredson. 1983. “Age and the Explanation of Crime”. American Journal of Sociology 89: 552-84.
Hirschi, Travis (1969), The Causes of Delinquency, University of California Press.
Hirschi, Travis and Michael J. Gottfredson. 1993. Commentary: Testing a General Theory of Crime. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 30:47-54.
Hirschi, Travis and Selvin, Hannan (1967), Delinquency Research: An Appraisal of Analytic Methods, New York: Free Press.
Hirschi, Travis. 1969. Causes of Delinquency. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., & Peake, P. K. (1988). The nature of adolescent competencies predicted by preschool delay of gratification. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 687–696.
Shoemaker, D. J. (1996). Theories of delinquency (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
White, Harrison C. 1992. Identity and Control: A Structural Theory of Social Action. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Travis Hirschi-Criminological Theory Essay

Social Process Essay

Social Process Essay.

The social process theory draws the conclusion that criminals were raised in an environment that forms them to make unlawful decisions. People are influenced by what they are taught and their surroundings such as where they were raised, their guardians, and people they associated with. Individual’s actions and thought process will be based on what their first instinct is and their first instinct will be what they know best. For example, if a boy is raised in a home where their family shows his or her anger by reacting physically, that child will be more likely the one that is getting in fights at school than the child who grew up in a home were fighting was never present.

No one is born with the mind be a criminal, they are in some way directed to perform the behavior or actions he or she have committed.

Gangs are groups of people usually with the same common demeanors. Members in a gang who commit crime have been exposed to previous malicious behavior.

The containment theory emphasizes what pushes and pulls an alleged deviant criminal. The containment theory has two principles, external, and internal contributors pushing someone to commit crime. The external contributing factors of the containment theory represent some background abnormality, such as negative influence, possible biological or psychological defects. The internal principle is observed as wants and rewards, such as financial gain, sexual satisfaction, whatever personally motivates someone to commit crime Schmalleger, 2012, p. 181).

The social bond people developed in gangs are attachment through shared interests, committing to how much energy and devotion is put toward others, involved with members from the group, and sharing the same beliefs. Some possible issues of the containment theory relating to gangs would be the psychopathic behavior being passed on like a cold. For example, the Columbine shooting was committed by two young men who shared social bonds. On the 20th of April in 1999, two high school seniors walked onto their Colorado high school campus and started shooting everyone in sight. By the end of the siege both gunmen were dead along with other 13 people and 23 were wounded (Ehrlich, n.d.). These actions brought about many theories about why these two young men had committed such a heinous act. Some people blamed the violence on guns, others blamed bullying, and some even blamed the parents of the shooters. No matter what tragedy occurs people will always put the blame on whatever it is that they do not like.

However, there are a few social process theories that may explain the actions of these two young men. One such theory is the social control theory. This theory “Focuses on the strength of the bond people share with the individuals and institutions around them, especially as those relationships shape their behavior, and seeks to identify those features of the personality and of the environment that keep people from committing crimes” (Schmalleger, 2012, p. 181). This theory seems to lay more of the responsibility on the parents of the shooters because the parents are those that exposed their children (the shooters) to violent games as well as weapons. These parents may be partially too blamed for the actions that occurred that dreadful day simply because many of the weapons used were either built in the same house as the parents or were legally owned by them. Another theory that seems to tie into the social control theory is the social learning theory. The social learning theory states, “All behavior is learned in much the same way and that crime is also learned.

It places primary emphasis on the roles of “communication and socialization in the acquisition of learned patterns of criminal behavior and the values supporting that behavior” (Schmalleger, 2012, p. 186). These two theories go hand- in-hand with each other. Another theory that can be attributed to the actions of the shooters is the labeling theory. This theory “Points to the special significance of society’s response to the criminal and sees continued crime as a consequence of limited opportunities for acceptable behavior that follow from the negative responses of society to those defined as offenders” (Schmalleger, 2012, p.183). This theory helps fuel the idea that the shooters were bullied and were labeled as outcasts. Therefore, the shooters were probably upset about being bullied and reacted in the only way that they knew how. Unfortunately, the true reason behind the shootings will never be known and criminologists can only assume about what caused these two young men to snap.

According to Harold E. Pepinsky, and Richard Quinney the theorists who developed the concept for peacemaking criminology. Peacemaking criminology “holds that crime-control agencies and citizens must work together to alleviate social problems, including crime” (Schmalleger, 2012, p. 215). Radical Criminology is a social conflict theory governing 1960s – present, concept of social class. The peacemaking theory stands for the complete opposite of the radical theory. The peacemaking theory emphasizes parties working collaboratively to resolve social problems. The radical theory is the opposite of peacemaking, and capitalizes on “disenfranchising those less successful” (Schmalleger, 2012, p. 215). The radical theory the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and the peacemaking theory states everyone must work together to fix social problems. It seems that however, American society has made much progress since its beginning and we still have much crime to deal with.

The United States economy is based on capitalism and the reason for most of the nation’s crime, according to the conflict perspective theory. This theory maintains that though we have laws to keep order they themselves create dissension and crime. These laws are put into place by the ruling class in power to control those not in powers. This leads to dissention and ultimately to those out of power to commit crimes. This theory says that as long as we have a materialistic greedy society such as capitalism produces; crime will be a natural byproduct (Reid, 2012). The conflict perspective says that criminals are not much different from normal citizens but that society reacts differently to their behavior. Workers are demoralized in a capitalist society: caught in a vicious cycle of wanting consumer goods that they are taught are essential for life and not being able to acquire them without reverting to crime to do so.

Materialism leads to crime because the American dream can never be realized because they always need more (Sims, 1997). This theory has its roots in the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Their work maintains criminal and antisocial behavior stem from social conflict. Private property ownership is one example of capitalism that leads those not able to own property into poverty. They believed capitalism to be the largest factor in why there is crime. Their work eventually produced communism where in theory everyone shared equally in all things so there is less desire to have more than the other person (Reid, 2012). There is an emphasis on social and economic conditions instead of the traditional belief that criminals commit crimes by rational choice or suffer from a biological/psychological deficiency. The crime conflict theory portrays individuals as somewhat faultless as the system is rigged against them. They are denied some of the finer things in life that they believe they deserve. Therefore, crime in a capitalist society will always be with us according to this belief (Sims, 1997).

The world is a dangerous place and some neighborhoods are a more dangerous than others. One reason behind the variations in crimes by neighborhoods could be associated to the social disorganization theory, which says that the prevention of crime is because of the direct supervision of law enforcement (Triplett & Gainey, 2007). This theory implies that each individual neighborhood has its own characteristics that form the level of social control that the neighborhood has on its occupants (Triplett & Gainey, 2007). An example of this would be a homeowners association. Many homeowner associations have strict rules and regulations for the residents that reside within their neighborhoods. Theses strict rules help the homeowners association establish a hierarchy that allows it to fine residents that break the law and to establish its dominance among the people.

Another example would in south central Los Angeles where homeowner associations do not run the neighborhoods, but gangs do. These gangs make it seem that the “thug life” is the best way to live and therefore many people end turning to it because that is considered the norm. This however, is not always the case. When this occurs it is known as the anomie. Anomie is “An environmental states where society fails to exercise adequate regulation or constraint over the goals and desires of its individual members” (Durkheim & Merton, n.d.). This basically means that a select number of people will go against what rules that the governing body of the neighborhood says are being violated. Due to the lack of constraint, many people who fall victim to this often end up taking their own lives.

In conclusion, criminals are not born with the intent becoming a criminal without help from outside forces. Everyone is born innocent however the person’s surroundings will influence how he or she think and act. An individual cannot control how he or she was raised and who you were surrounded by until you are old enough to make that choice, however, it might be too late. When an individual is able to make his or her own choices of who they spend time with, they are most likely going to follow a crowd most familiar to what he or she know, good or bad.

Without even being aware people are being directed and led to a certain path in life, and it is unfortunate for those born into a life where people around them are living the wrong way. Yes, people have a choice on how what they do, no one is forced to commit a crime, however, it is very hard to look outside of what you were taught and raised to be. All people can commit crime and most likely will if they were raised with that mentality. It is believed that many criminals today could have had a different fate if they were positively influenced by their environment and had better role models to look up to.

Durkheim, E. & Merton, R.K. (n.d.). Durkheim’s Classic Contribution. Retrieved from
Ehrlich, H.J. (n.d.). The Columbine High School Shootings: The Lessons Learned.
Retrieved from Reid, S. (2012). Crime and Criminology (13th Ed.). : Oxford University Press. Schmalleger, F. (2012). Criminology Today: An Integrative Introduction (6th ed).

Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database. Sims, B. (1997, February). Crime, Punishment and the American Dream. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 34(5), 5-24. Triplett, R.A. & Gainey, R.R. (2007). Understanding Neighborhoods and Crime. Retrieved from:

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Social Process Essay

Catch Me if You Can Essay

Catch Me if You Can Essay.

Theory q 325 Karla Pope Catch Me if You Can Catch Me if You Can is a movie based off the true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr, who mpersonated a Pan Am Air pilot, a pediatric doctor, and a lawyer, and accumulated over 2. 8 million dollars through these impersonations as well as check fraud all betore his nineteenth birthday. The movie starts ott as a game snow where the contestants question three men all dressed as airline pilots, one of them being the real Frank Abagnale Jr.

Through a series of cut sceens, we see young Frank as a teenager living happily in a big house with his mother, a French woman named Paula Abagnale, and his American military veteran father, Frank Abagnale, Sr. This appiness was soon cracked, however, as the family runs into trouble with the IRS, forcing them to move out of their home and into a smaller apartment. Paula, dissatisfied with her new life, ends up cheating on her husband with his best friend and eventually filing for divorce.

When she tries to get her son to choose between the two of them, he freaks out and runs away.

While struggling to live on his own, Frank runs out of money, starting him down his path as one of the youngest con artists during his time. After getting turned down from the bank after trying to cash his very irst fake check, he decides to impersonate a Pan Am Air pilot, conning the company into giving him a uniform while forging his credentials and passport. After gaining too much publicity doing this, he ends up pretending to be a pediatric doctor in Georgia, where he falls in love with a girl named Brenda, who thinks he’s a doctor as well as a lawyer from Harvard.

He ends up resigning as a lawyer to protect his identity after a real Harvard graduate at the firm started poking around into his background. He eventually is forced to run again as he realizes that FBI Agent Carl Hanratty, who has been chasing after him this whole time, is onto him again, escaping to Europe where he is eventually found by Carl in France, printing his own checks. After spending about a year in Perpignan Prison, Carl got him deported back to America. After trying to escape upon learning that his father died, he was caught in front of his mother’s new house and went to prison.

Eventually, after helping Carl with a check fraud case, Frank is transferred from prison into FBI custody to work under Carl’s supervision. When he becomes bored, he tried to run again, but nevitably returns after a confrontation with Carl at the airport, continuing to help catch con men and check fraud with his experience. There are many theories in this movie, but the primary, main one that was obvious to me was Rational Choice theory. With Rational Choice theory is defined “the view that crime is a function of a decision- making process in which the potential offender weighs the potential costs and benefits of an illegal act. . What this means is that the criminal (or would be criminal) is faced with a choice due to the set of circumstances that he is in and weighs the ros and cons of an act that he/she knows is wrong. In this movie, Frank is faced with many choices due to different circumstances that all lead back to his first act of desperation. When his parents try and force him to choose between them, he instead runs away, staying in a hotel as he tries to get himself together. When he runs out of money, he is kicked out, leaving him with a dilemma.

How to get more money so he can live? There are many options open to him, but he chooses check fraud because not only does he see it as the easiest way to survive, but also the best way that he knows to get money. However, after his check is rejected, he turns instead to impersonating a Pan Am pilot after seeing one sign autographs to a small child outside the bank. After acquiring a uniform from the company by saying that he “lost” his, he forges his credentials and passports after he creates a fake, Pan Am Air salary check and successfully cashing it in.

His need for money to survive on his own drives these decisions to act on these illegal activities, outweighing the cost ne will end up paying for committing them. Part of the Rational Choice Theory is whatever techniques the criminal learns and perfects to avoid detection from authorities. Franks first run in with authority is when FBI Agent Carl Hanratty tracks him through his forged Pan Am bills toa hotel he was staying at. In Frank and Carl’s first meeting, Frank impersonates a Secret Service agent named Barry Allen (after The Flash) when confronted by Carl’s gun, convincing the agent long enough in order for him to escape.

After his close call, he retires to Georgia, where he impulsively convinces the hospital and town that he is a Harvard medical doctor after meeting a new, young nurse named Brenda, whom he ends up falling in love with. The branch that Frank as assigned to was chief doctor of the pediatric ward, where they don’t do much work. The motivation behind this was to get closer to Brenda, whom he had an attraction to when he first met her. His growing love for Brenda outweighs the consequences that come with impersonating a doctor, as well as the potential lives he’ll endanger under his care.

He also passes the bar exam to become a lawyer after Brenda introduces him to her parents as such. He eventually has to run again, however because both the firm and Carl are putting pressure on him. He assumes his pilot identity again. In the beginning of the film, with the game show, fake Frank 1 says that the reason he chose to pretend to be each of these professions was because he was young and needed money, and that, instead of actually trying to legally go through the training to BE a pilot, doctor, or lawyer was because it seemed easier than to go through all that trouble.

Another theory that I see present in this movie is Social Control Theory. Social Control Theory is when people commit illegal acts when the bindings of the society they live in are either weakened or broken. When we see Frank when he was ounger, he was in a good school living in a big house with his American veteran father and French mother. His father was a part of the rotary club and was inducted as a lifetime member, giving him great status in the community. However, he had problems with the IRS, and was denied a business loan. This led them to give up their house and move into a much smaller apartment.

While this isn’t considered illegal, Paula, Franks mother cheated on her husband, Frank Sr. , with his best friend and eventually filed for a divorce so she could marry his friend. This was largely due to the fact that she was used to living a larger life with Frank Sr. nd when they were forced to move because of money problems, she grew dissatisfied. When Frank Jr. finds out about the divorce, they try to get him to choose between two of them, he freaked out and ran away. This led to the decisions he would make in the future as his need for money to survive increased.

Some other elements of this, mainly the self-control portion, is also seen in this movie. There is a scene when he is pretending to be a doctor in Georgia when a little boy with an injured leg is brought in. Since he hasn’t the first clue as to how to fix the child’s leg, he talks his interns into oing it by using the language he heard off of a medical tv show before running off and throwing up in the sink of the bathroom. It was clear that he knew his boundaries in this role and, instead of making it worse and possibly endangering the child’s life, he had the people under him that actually had training in this fix the boys leg.

One thing that I could also see in the film was a form of Social Learning Theory. Social learning theory is when a criminal learns their trade by watching more experienced people’s actions. In one instance, his father was taking him to the bank and stopped by a tuxedo store. Even though the store was closed, his father managed to con the lady into opening the shop for them so that he could buy his son a suit to make him look presentable by presenting the woman with a necklace he had “found” outside in the parking lot.

Frank tried to use this same technique later, the first attempt, trying to cash his first forged check, was unsuccessful, but his second, tricking a flight while pretending to be a Pan Am pilot, was successful. Another element of this theory is when he decided to impersonate a Pan Am pilot. He studied as much as he could about the paychecks a pilot received, how much they make, even anaging to get a hold of an expired FFA license from a former pilot he was “interviewing for a school article” and the check template for their pay checks .

Elements of Neutralization Theory techniques are also in this movie. Neutralization Theory states that a criminal “must learn and master techniques that enable them to neutralize conventional values and attitudes, which enables them to drift back and forth between illegitimate and conventional behavior. ” Some of the elements of this theory include respect and admiration for honest, civilian people such as baseball layers, priests, teachers, or in this case, fathers.

Frank was always trying to make his father proud throughout the movie, sending him letters of his glamorized “accomplishments”, meeting his father for lunch in his pilot uniform, even giving his father an expensive car with the money he had “earned. ” Another person he looked up to was Carl Hanratty himself. He called Carl every Christmas, seeming to look up to him as a father fgure, even though Carl was trying to apprehend him. He even placed his complete trust in Carl when the agent finally caught up to him and placed im under arrest.

Another element of Neutralization Theory is when criminals of this nature conform to the same social obligations as the rest of society. Frank can be seen hosting a party at the house he lived in with many, many young, privileged people over, socializing with most all of them. There are also some small incidents of Social Reaction (Labeling) Theory in this movie. Social Reaction Theory “explains criminal careers in terms of stigma-producing encounters. ” One such encounter is after Frank quits being both a doctor and a lawyer and goes back to impersonating a Pan Am pilot.

He does a “follow up” interview with the former air pilot, and in this he learn that the press has found out about him and wrote about him in the paper. When he finds out they call him the Airway Man, the “James Bond of the Sky’, he goes out and watches one of the Bond movies in the theater. After this, he is inspired to go out and get an exact replica of the suit, even doing and almost exact impersonation of Bond in the film. This seems to boost his ego extremely high. In the end, however, he is caught by Carl in his mother’s hometown in France and is convinced to turn himself in.

He spends a few years in Perpignan Prison before Carl comes to get him. He is sick due to the living conditions, and fakes a faint in order to get out of the Jail cell and tries to escape. He is caught, however, and taken back to the USA, where, after two more attempted escapes, one where he is caught and the other when Carl confronts him but refuses to catch him, comes and works at the FBI in the check fraud unit under Carl’s supervision.

Catch Me if You Can Essay