Violence in United States essay

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In the recent past, violence has been characterized as a slowly arising societal dilemma in the United States. The rise of violence is largely attributed to the changing behavioral patterns in different societal settings. Profiling of reported cases of violence reveals that the cases of violence are mostly associated with the young population. Numerous research studies have been carried out with an aim of establishing the causative factors and trends seen in violence. As a result, a major variation can be seen between people who choose to engage in violence and people who make an effort to avoid any association with violence. In essence, people involve themselves in violence due to developmental problems, negative cultural/racial influences, family problems, education, and bad media influence; while others do not involve themselves in violence activities due to positive family values, role play, socio-economic status, and positive educational perspectives.

Why people commit crimes

Majority of people committing violence crimes have a history of developmental problems. This mainly begin during their childhood and extend into their adult years. Most of the developmental problems usually manifest in the form of psychological problems, negative peer influences and interaction cycle. Psychological problems affect the manner in which maturity occurs among people belonging to the adolescent age. This can be attributed to the stages of brain development, which potentially affect the behavioral nature of the adolescents. The brain networks responsible for self-regulation usually have a relatively long maturation period, mostly manifesting itself in the later adolescent years; hence, this makes many adolescents to engage in behaviors with a risk-taking component (Schwarz, 2009). Negative peer influences are also closely associated with developmental problems seen among the young people. This is primarily seen in the respective forms of interaction evident among the teenagers. It is essentially the reason leading to the occurrence of most violence cases as teenagers are easily influenced to participate in activities potentially leading to the occurrence of violence.

The constantly escalating family problems are among the major causes of violence in the United States of America. This is especially seen among children growing up in family settings where there are constant problems, which impact negatively in the exhibited behavioral patterns. Previous profiling of families in the US reveals that there is a significant problem in the level of stability in some of them. These families have distinct traits and most of them arise from single parenthood situations. In the recent past, profiling of dysfunctional families have been characterized as follows: the head of the family is a young mother who has gone through numerous negative life events including unwanted pregnancies; the mother of the children exhibits mental health problems (Hines & Kathleen, 2005). In such situations, the children adopt negative tendencies towards life, while they are constantly exposed to physical beatings from their irate single head of the family, the mother. “Furthermore, the families may lack emotional closeness and flexibility, have problems with communication, and be socially isolated” (Hines & Kathleen, 2005). These elements are very important in the emancipation of a fully functional personality among children. In the modern day society of the united states there is an evident fragmentation especially when it comes to the domain of healthy interaction among family members, which leads to the adoption of improper social associations portraying strong links towards violence. In the end, we have people who embrace violence as a mode of expression especially when they encounter difficult situations where they are elementally forced to protest.

Some of the behavioral elements leading to the emancipation of violence in the society are as a result of poor cultural influences. These cultural influences have led to the introduction of young minds into violence related activities at a young age. For instance, in 2006, more than 720,000 youth aged between 10 and 24 years received treatment from emergency departments due to injuries that were sustained from culture instigated violence (Schwarz, 2009). This shows the manner in which the youth are increasingly falling victims of violence as a result of the ongoing cultural manipulations of the people’s minds and tendencies. It is also important to note that some state in the US report more racial violence incidents more than others. For instance, California has one of the highest reported cases of racially motivated violence. This has largely led to the springing up of vigilante groups affiliated with particular neighborhoods in the vast California. Chacon and Davis (2006) observe that, “Before looking at the centre of vigilantism in California history, it is first useful to map its location within the larger history of the American class and racial violence” (p.15). This implies that some of the culturally or racially motivated forms of violence have a long history deeply rooted in the American slavery period. As a result, the culture of violence was slowly along the different lineages affiliated to the then conspicuously separate races.

Education has also been found to be a nutrient leading to the occurrence of violence in some cases. In the history of the United States, a new wave of violence became common, especially during the revolutionary period. During this time, organizers of the revolutionary events were mainly highly educated people who sought to use their education to promote their sentiments to the population. Short and Wolfgang (2009) observe that, “In this fierce anti-intellectualism, feeling and sentiment, not cognition are important. Education becomes not the transmission of learning but a search for ‘meaningful identity’ to be gained by dialogue, encounter, and confrontation” (p.267). These aspects essentially form the major drivers in the emancipation of violence behavior common with revolutionary movements, which have the tendency of organizing public protests on some of the emerging societal concerns.

Why others do not

The incorporation of positive educational perspectives in the modern day educational systems has instilled positive mentality in the subjects of educational systems as seen in some states. It has been observed that these educational institutions have systems in place, which subdue any potential of individuals portraying any form of violence. In the states of Illinois and New York, legislations have been passed, which require schools to address social and emotional learning domains with an aim of improving violence prevention programs (Schwarz, 2009). Hence, through legislative amendments it has been possible to promote positive strategies that aim at stopping the growth of dangerous violence behaviors especially among the teenage and youthful population. This is a group that is still developing; hence, they are the most vulnerable to negative perspectives. Therefore, the positive educational programs contributes immensely towards molding positive behavioral patterns among those attending school, while the lessons learnt are passed across to the general population in a cyclic manner. Majority of this group of persons will therefore tend to portray non violent behavior in the course their interaction with other members of the population.  

The family setting provides growing minds with the necessary behavioral skills. This mainly occurs through influence from the parents, siblings and members of the extended family. As a result, where positive family values are the norm, the children will tend to adopt positive approaches with regard to anger management and display of non violent behavior. This is especially evident in the mode of upbringing adopted for this group of persons. Hence, if a person is planning to commit an act of violence while living in a close psycho-social relationship with his people, who consider such an act as being illegitimate, he or she will need to justify his actions to other members forming part of the family relationship (Short & Wolfgang, 2009). In such a scenario, positive family values play an important role in discouraging the potential of violence acts manifesting themselves in society. Moreover, those who are essentially brought up in an environment of positive family values tend to portray similar traits later on in their lives.

Role play forms a critical element in the developmental cycle, leading to the adoption of non violent behavior.  The presence of positive role play in a child’s life potentially leads to the development of peaceful relations. Role play usually reveals itself during the critical developmental stages of a child’s life. In the American setting, children tend to adopt famous sports, music, entertainment, and political personalities as their role models.  By virtue of the public focus on these personalities most of them do not act in violent ways. In addition, majority of the persons will tend to ape behavioral traits of these famous personalities. As a result, the children tend to role play these newly acquire behavioral traits among themselves leading to positive outcomes in terms of non violent behavioral traits.

In the American society, socio economic status at the family level plays a significant role in the display of violent acts. It is important to note that most of these values are strongly embedded to the existing racial socio-economic differences evident in our society. For instance, it is a fact that non violent behavior is commonly associated with the white race by virtue of the positive socio-economic status of white families, which discourage violence. The presence of high economic status at a young age produces a positive feel leading to political efficacy and significant tolerance towards incidents of unexplained rebellion (Short & Wolfgang, 2009). On the other hand, violent acts are a common trend among the afro-American people due to the historic socio-economic progression. Short and Wolfgang (2009) remarks that, “Because the family economy was passing through the early stages of differentiation, the social context for responsible attention to physical evils was a precarious state” (p.80). As a result, violence acts become common with the afro-American by virtue of the social pre-condition, while whites portray little association with violence.

Finally, it is important to note that people tend to involve themselves in violence related activities due to the existing developmental problems, negative cultural/racial influences, family problems, education, and bad media influence; while others do not involve themselves in violence activities due to positive family values, role play, socio-economic status, and positive educational perspectives. These are critical factors that effectively mold the behavioral trends portrayed by members of the population. They have a great impact on the developmental stages of the young American minds, for instance, this can be effectively portrayed in the growth cycle and evident patterns of interaction. It is also evident that the differences driven by the potential driven by the existing racial conditioning, which leads to an element of stereotyping as explained in the paper. For example, this can be seen in the historic socio-economic differences. Violence in the American society has evolved into a perennial problem; hence, by focusing on the identified factors it is possible to come up with action oriented solutions that will end the social ill.

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