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Crime in our society
Every day the morning papers bring news of dacoities and murders, kidnappings and rapes, hold-ups of trains and hijackings of planes, adulteration of foodstuffs, drugs and even of poisons. All this makes one sit up and wonder whether crime is inseparable from civilized life. We appear to live on an earth of well-dressed gangs.
Men have been barbarians much longer than they have been civilized. They are only precariously civilized and deep within them there is the propensity, persistent as the force of gravity to revert to our first natures. Small wonder that under stress and strain the most civilized people are as near barbarism as the most polished steel is to rust. Nations, like metals have only a superficial brilliancy.
Compared with our wonderful progress in physical service and practical applications, our system of government, of administering justice of national education, and our whole social and moral organization, remains in a state of barbarism.
The wealth and knowledge and culture of the few do not constitute civilization. Shaw has castigated our superficial civilization in words bitter but true. “Our laws make law impossible; our liberties destroy all freedom; our property is organized robbery; our morality is an impudent hypocrisy; our wisdom is administered by inexperienced or mal-experienced dupes, our power wielded by cowards and weaklings, and our honour false in all its points.”
Crime and violence are inherent in our political and social system. “The poor are always with us” said Christ and the believer reconciled himself to his lot. But the time comes when it is asserted that poverty is man-made and stems from the inequity of the wicked system that obtains. The covert crime begets the overt crime.
The biggest of all crimes that we associate with this civilization is the horror of war. War today is murder on a gigantic scale. At one time it was thought a few hundred corpses would be enough; then came a time when thousands were still too few and today we cannot even count all the dead wherever we look. And the irony is that this large-scale killing, this organized butchery is eulogized in glowing terms, and Victoria Crosses are awarded. Besides, being organized murder, war is also organized loot.
All efforts are directed towards crippling the economy of the enemy. The atom bomb was thrown not on Tokyo, the capital of Japan but on Hiroshima, the industrial hub of that country. The outcome of war in the modern world is un payable debts, repudiations, ruined investments, the utter disorganization of finance, the collapse of the monetary system, the disappearance of the greater part of foreign trade, and, usually, on top of it, revolution from below. Here then is a crime, which does not pay.
The crimes of extreme civilization are probably worse than those of extreme barbarism, because of their refinement, the corruption they presuppose and their superior degree of intellectuality. The barbarian hacked the enemy to pieces; the civilized man tortures him mentally, wins him financially and then, if necessary liquidates him physically. Politicians are past masters in this sordid game. The barbarian was cruel but open-handed, his descendant today is no less cruel but hypocritical.
The barbarian was a beast, with beastly appetites. He was a tiger, an ape, a camel, a goat in turn, whatever suited the occasion. After all it was a struggle for survival, for him. He acted like an automaton. There was no consciousness of crime. The modern civilized man perpetrates crime deliberately. He hoards foodstuffs with a view to selling them at the opportune moment. And in the meantime millions are starved to death. Bengal famine was a glaring example of this sordid game.The civilized man stabs in the dark. His crimes wear a thick cloak.
Crime is a serious issue that affects everyone in society. It affects the victims, perpetrators and their families. Crime has increased drastically within the last decade. More prisons are being built around the world because there is not enough room to hold inmates. The government has made an attempt to reduce crime by funding programs such as prevention and intervention for youth at risk , as well as rehabilitation for prisoners that will be released. Some argue that criminal behavior is due to environment, others believe that it is genetic, and yet others think that it has to do with personality. If there were certain personality traits that could be identified with potential criminal behavior, steps could be taken to try to reduce or diminish the “criminal personality”. Although personality is not the only factor in criminal behavior, there does seem to be a strong association between the both. Alfred Adler believed that children who failed to solve the vital problem of social interest-who lack cooperation and a desire for contributing to the well-being of others-will always meet significant problems later, during their adult years (Adler, 1998). This could include personality problems or criminal behavior.
Personality develops early in life. That is why early childhood aggression and antisocial behavior should be taken seriously. Being able to identify potential criminal behavior is vital for prevention and intervention. Childhood factors shown to relate to the development of antisocial behaviors include a difficult early temperament, low IQ, academic deficiencies and learning problems, lack of empathy, underdeveloped social skills, and negative peer relations. (Sutton,Cowen, Crean, & Wyman, 1999). Environmental factors such as family structure and poverty are also associated with potential criminal behavior. The Federal Bureau of Investigation Report (1993) noted that one violent crime (e.g. aggravated assault, murder) was committed every 22 seconds in 1992, and 15% of those arrested for such crimes were under the age of 18 (Sutton, ete.al. 1999). Juvenile delinquency is becoming more common. The age at which these young kids are committing crimes is getting younger.