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expos essay #6 - Andrew Crowley 101:DA Expos Final Draft 6...

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Andrew Crowley Expos 101:DA 12/2/07 Final Draft # 6 Title With the growing population in our nations prison system, many questions come to mind as to what to do about it and the nature of crime, the foremost being what makes a criminal? Is it the person in questions psychological or emotional problems, or is it something completely different. Are the surroundings, whether they be the people the place or the time, the cause of a criminal? This answer may never be concluded but there is significant evidence present to both sides of the argument. Malcolm Gladwell, a well-known critic working for The New Yorker, wrote an essay pertaining to just this subject. In his essay, “The Power of Context: Bernie Goetz and the Rise and Fall of New York Crime,” Gladwell writes about how the mind of the person does not affect them being a criminal, but it is their surroundings, both prior to and during their crime, that leads them to take illegal action. Susan Faludi’s work, “The Naked Citadel” and James C. Scott’s “Behind the Offical Story”, help confirm Gladwells thesis because of specific examples from both texts that do not necessarily have to deal crime as much as the situation at hand. Gladwell begins by telling the story of Bernie Goetz, a disgruntled man who shot four delinquents on a New York Subway. A persons first reaction 1
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would most likely be that Goetz is “crazy”, but Gladwell blames it on Goetz’s surroundings, “His father was a strict disciplinarian with a harsh temper… At school, he was the one teased by classmates, the last one picked for school games… He was constantly clashing with his superiors over what he saw as shoddy practices and corner-cutting,”(185) According to Gladwell, these events all lead to Goetz’s shooting rather then the fact that he was mentally unstable.
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