On Friday, two days ago now, I had to take a little detour through Langley City to pick up some items from one of the speciality stores: computer supplies at discount prices. Normally I stay away from the city centre because of traffic congestion and construction chaos that follows the huge Casino Building that will become the city landmark of Langley City. I stay away because the town is becoming disorganized. I stay away because, well, quite simply, I feel that the crime rate is too hight. Of course, I am basing everything on my point of view and what I see when I drive through the streets in the down town area and some of the suburbs districts I go through to get there. I feel crime is too high, not because I have had something taken from me or witnessed some criminal event, but because I see kids and young adults standing at street corners and in front of old shops and parking lots. And even though my stay in the shop I visited was only for a brief moment, I still put the steering wheel lock on [the club] and set my vehicle alarm.
So I have become paranoid while in Langley City.
But it was when I walked into the shop that I heard some of those young adults talk amongst themselves that really struck accord with me. It was what they said that fascinated me. This fascination hit me because one of paragons of Criminology that I have dwelt upon is how we perceive ourselves on the social fabric of the great whole. For most of the University students that I share the classroom with, most are from the middle and upper class stratus of the economic class spectrum, myself included. When academics conjure up class ideologies and labelling theories, I cannot help but wonder where these theories came from, or how they developed. Listening to these young adults talk to each other was a page right out of that chapter.
The group on the corner were challenging one of its members on contributing to the group’s customs and norms of giving cigarettes to other member if they are in need. Quite simply put, that member was being accused of taking, and not giving back the total said amount in return, and therefor, he had a debt to the group collective. Although I got the impression that the debt was solely born upon him by the Alpha Male in the group, nevertheless, the group as a whole began to ridicule the member for is his inactions as a group consensus.
I could easily hear the debate though the glass door inside the shop. It was not a well organized debate, nor a controlled one. The onus of the singled out member was to out talk, out pace and if need be prepare to physically defend himself against the attack.
The volley of actuation’s were fierce and quick. All lasting not less than 5 minutes resulting with the lone member leaving in a hastily retreat with the a short frontal attack by the Alpha Male pushing him forward as to imply that: “even though you have left before your final judgement, the group will still follow through on it’s Will and enforce this action, and punish.”
My interest was sparked when the group members started to tell the accused that he should get a job and start taking responsibility for himself. The Alpha Female lead this verbal attract by yelling over top of the other’s saying, “get a job you bum…. You’re a bum…. Street trash.”
Another member, probably second to the Alpha Male, stated that if he does not get any money, then he should find someone else to bum off of, or go to the government building to collect welfare.
Here, we have 6 or 7 people, who are, with all certainty and probability, who were unemployed themselves, passing judgement upon one of their own members. The group’s interest may not lay in forcing the individual to become self sufficient or employed, but rather to control and manipulate the member into following the group-think. Perhaps, the group who is well endowed from the official state slogans of engaging the poor, youth crime and blaming the youths for being in this economic situation, were quick to pick up on this “name game” and use it to their advantage?
Nevertheless, watching this event unfold convinced me that the problems we see in the filed of criminology are real and you must have total understanding before you start to change the world, the system and Mankind.