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Winston

Steve of Destruction

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I was raised in Macho culture. Rock and punk music, fast cars, punishing my body with all kinds of chemicals. I joined the Marines when I was seventeen. We would literally shout "Kill!" before each class in boot camp. My early relationships were misogynistic, not abusive but not respectful. Later, I worked in law enforcement where there were those with power, and those without. Good was accomplished through the proper use of force.
There's a lot of dysfunction to unpack there, but lemme take one step back...

I studied criminal justice in college. Some people made careers trying to get to the root causes of crime. My senior paper covered "Marxist theory" in social control (spoiler alert: that route is a dead end). I'm sure today you'll hear experts bemoan the "causes" of crime, as they purport them. I've heard them all, and studied them all. For what it's worth, I don't make a living at this, so I'm not beholden to any ideological Think Tank, or the like. Nope, I just call 'em as I see 'em.

Crime is committed by men, primarily young men. That's it. I'm dropping the mic now...

Ok, some meat for those bones. When you control for factors such as education, income and race, it's young men that commit 90% of crime in modern society. That number is even higher for violent crime. Sociologists have muddied the waters with such assertions that if we get a young man a degree in... something... they will be less likely to commit a crime. But they push Four Year degrees on both men and women. Are we worried about women committing violent crime as well? Nope. Look in any jail or prison. Old ladies are not the primary custodial demographic.

So, can we stop with the insulting assertions about economic status and crime as well? Most poor folks are law abiding, I daresay a majority are. Or, do we really want to admit our bias that we think lower income people are one repossession away from a life of crime? Absurd. There's a great book called "Crime in the Streets, Crime in the Suites". It turns out rich people commit a lot of crime. Who knew? (EVERYONE).

Persons of color are over-represented in arrests, convictions and time served in custody. I'm not going "into the weeds" with this, but it is sufficient to say that the man had to be doing something prior to police contact. There's a lot of societal stuff we need to fix with race relations in general. But let's not lose focus: We're not locking up old black women (even if they're poor and uneducated).

So here's the facts: Young men are more likely to lack impulse control, reasoning skills and life experience necessary to navigate situations where they may stray into criminality. As I've noted before, if you want crime to drop precipitously, lock-up every male at age 16, and release them at 35 or 40. In lieu of that, what?
I hate socialist, "nanny state" programs, but we need some form of National Service. Aside from age and gender, the only other constant among offenders is low self worth. Sending unprepared kids to college only makes that worse. We need rigid, structured programs that teach real skills, and give young men a feeling of accomplishment. And when they contribute to society, they are invested in it.

Not everyone is "boot camp" ready, but any program needs to be rigorous enough to give participants a real feeling of accomplishments. People may be uneducated, but they aren't stupid. They can tell when they're just getting a participation ribbon. Any program should have participants up early and hitting the rack exhausted. Infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, irrigation and reclamation are prime candidates. They can learn marketable trade skills, and after a term of service, EARN a two or four year degree (if they choose).

Young men have a certain "energy". Pretending they don't is just idiotic. So, here's a crazy idea: Instead of trying to force young men into acting like old ladies, howabout we use their strength to benefit us all? Or, there's the "same old same old". That ain't working. And it's only getting worse.

Peace.

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  1. dither's Avatar
    Winston,
    I may be talking out my arse here but two words spring to mind tension and friction. Be it racial social economic whatever. We need to get to the root causes and try to educate people on how to deal with their own kinds of shit. Life , the world, is what it is. We can't changed it. Sounds like a massive task [ and nobody likes to think they're being pigeon-holed ], but I DO believe that much of what is going or has gone wrong can be narrowed down into not so many factors. Also, we need to start listening, and talking. I think.
  2. Smith's Avatar
    You know, there was a time where a lot of that energy could've been put into a half-decent lady in a committed relationship. I guess I must be old.
  3. tinacrabapple's Avatar
    I have a son and I'd like to see him go into the trades. Where I live their is a serious shortage of man power. It's really awful. I agree that this country may benefit from such a work program. It's a good idea!
  4. Winston's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by tinacrabapple
    I have a son and I'd like to see him go into the trades. Where I live their is a serious shortage of man power. It's really awful. I agree that this country may benefit from such a work program. It's a good idea!
    I'd like to take credit for the concept, but guys like Mike Rowe are at the forefront of such discussions (from a practical standpoint, not a social one as much). His group claims that there are currently seven million unfilled trade jobs in the US, most of them well-paying.
    But from a social view, think of how much healthier our society will be if we simply get a bunch of unskilled, underemployed young people into solid blue collar jobs. Many people's self-worth is derived from what they do. Doing nothing equals unfulfillment.

    Another thing Rowe espouses is the folly of encouraging young people to "follow their dreams". The result of this philosophy thus far has been twentysomethings living in their parent's basements, with crushing debt, and a useless degree.
    The alternative is to build useful skills, at a young age, in services that people actually need. THEN, after a young person has a better idea of their strengths and where they fit in the marketplace, they should further their education.

    And what work is below a man?

    "If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.

    ― Martin Luther King Jr.
  5. kaminoshiyo's Avatar
    I disagree.

    I think young people do commit most crimes, sure, but the worst problems of our society are not a collection of these petty crimes. They tend to be "sophisticated" complications usually administered by older men.

    Also, I've heard this argument before- that they youth (or the world) would benefit from military discipline. I doubt this. The thing that pushes the world is not rigid structure. I'd say that was a component in stability, sure, but if you want people to advance, to progress, to constantly challenge and dare, you need people who work outside of the box and who have the flexibility to make their own rules and do their own thing. The military and the formal education system (sort of like kiddie military in a way) is not good for this which is why actually gifted children are encouraged to deviate from these paths.

    There's more than one way to skin a cat and ironically, even in the military, the person who can break convention and structure and find a new way to achieve an objective tends to become much more successful. Hannibal, Caesar, Khan- all of them were deviants who broke the old system and made their own.
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