Violence is a reoccurring act in the history of humanity. Violence takes a multitude of forms, but the more perpetually influential forms are through physical and verbal means. Let us take a step back into the past. For our ancestors to survive, they relied on physical violence, it is what was needed to be done in order to have food on the table, in their case, food in their caves, to be partitioned among their band of hunters. Verbal violence was what they needed to ward off harsh competitors in their territory: may it be other human parties or even wolves.
The colonialist period, violence reared its unpleasant head into the picture as the colonialist ravaged many lands with their swords and illnesses: attaining their goals for their destructive visitations for natural resources.
Violence in modern times manifests in various forms. Albert Bandura and his Bobo doll experiment showed how aggression can be learned, and this is the primary source for most individuals. As children we are exposed to violence, may it be through seeing your peers fight over a lego brick, Tom hitting Jerry with a frying pan, or even killing an enemy in a game of Call of Duty. With the advancement in technology comes the more frequent normalization of violence by children. Violence is more normalized as these individuals spend the majority of their critical period being exposed to violence as it is normal and publicly accepted. However the manifestation of this perspective towards violence is what renders a more sinister future for this generation.
Normalization of violence is one of the chief causes of its permeation in society; thus promoting a new generation of possibly physically abusive parents through the platforms of media. According to a longitudinal study on Early Physical Abuse and Later Violent Delinquency by J.E Lansford and colleagues states that “physical abuse predicts subsequent violent delinquency.” Understanding that promoting violence through television or even victimizing children will cause an upbringing of defiant individuals later on. Thus it is important to strike the iron while it’s hot. The primary fix to this is the promotion of a more positive philosophy towards discipline in households. This means redefining the systems of reinforcement and punishment. That the decision to whether to encourage the behavior or to discourage it would lie in the hands of the child, not the parent. Fostering this type of relationship would aid in the decline of the upbringing of delinquent individuals.
According to the 2017 Annual Report conducted by the CPD(Chicago Police Department), out of the 85,752 arrests in Chicago in 2016, 20241 of those arrests were individuals from ages 0-21; 23 percent of arrests made in Chicago on the year 2017 were minors who decide to spend their time breaking the law rather than focusing on their education. This report alone should have called for a re-evaluation of our households and our systems that lead up to a criminal lifestyle. There are many theories that may explain such a trend: social learning theory, social disorganization theory, etc. But some things are certainly true: that for the most part, a criminal life is often learned. And that everyone has the same goals in life, however, not everyone has the same resources towards those goals, therefore try to cheat the system and live a life of crime. Systematic alterations will definitely lower the instances of crime, however it just takes a matter of investments in the right areas.
One thing the U.S government should understand is that Prevention is better than a cure. According to an article published on the U.S Dept of Education’s website “The United States spends more than $80 billion annually on corrections.” On the other hand according to the fiscal year of 2019 budget, there is only allocated $68.4 billion towards the Dept of Health and Human Services, a staggering decrease of $17.9 billion from the 2017 budget. This decrease may not be of immediate importance of the majority of people, however for the individuals living in challenging environments, criminal environments, need such centers to aid themselves.
Rather than depriving citizens of its right towards proper mental health facilities, federal and local governments should push towards the establishment of more centers in high crime areas. The investments should be towards the betterment of the citizens, not the incarcerations of citizens. Alongside the investment into mental health, the government should also invest more into education. Citizens should be reinforced the socially acceptable means of achieving their goals while they are in their critical period; this can only be achieved through investments into education and mental health.