Nothing worse than getting involved in an un-academic argument over issues about crime with the armchair Criminologist. In fact, one of the first warnings I got in my first year in University was, “Criminology is one field that everyone believes they know more about than the expert.” And I can honestly say that my Professor was absolutely right. I hear it at my work, when I am out in public, and among my neighbours–they all have their their tails of victimization, abuse of authority and bulk at why laws are so loose on those who commit crimes.
I was waiting in the check-out at Walmart, when I over heard two women talking about how bad the crime rate is in Langley City. I listen with curiosity, and they were aware of my proximity to them, as I am sure they would have happily allowed me to join them on that topic. While they went through the line-up, and departed on their marry way, I heard another couple, this time behind me, talking about how they just installed their brand new auto security system; to deter would-be thieves from taking their SUV. They talked at length at what they say is a growing problem of vehicle break-ins; so they wanted to protect their investment. On my way to the parking lot, after paying for my groceries, two young teenage boys wearing their hoodies over their heads, riding on B.M.X. bikes, raced through the parking lot at full speed, sparking another conversation, with the people in the parking stall beside me, on youth crime.
Yes, in a very short period of time, about an hour, I heard these three groups of people all talking about crime. I am not surprised though, as this time of year people are more stressed, and more busy than normal, so attitudes change, and priorities too, when being with families and friends over the holidays take precedent. I like to call this, looking through rose coloured glasses, as we tend to see world in this weird tint.
But remember the media, pumping out story after story about crimes, one after another; it is no wonder that more people do not just stay at home with their doors locked and windows bolted shut–now I am being sarcastic. And this is where most get their few bits of data from, the morning newscast before they head out to work. One would think that crime is all around us, in every corner, behind every closed door–it is everywhere–oh no. We all believe we are victims, reciting that one event when a wrong doer wronged us, and we felt that the punishment given was a joke, or the authorities did nothing to catch them, and they got away with it. Everyone has an event to talk about from their past.
The last time I engaged a person on the topic of Criminology, specifically on youth crime, was my former land lord’s wife who was dealing with her grand child’s social and physiological deviance, and I chimed in. The first response to my thoughts were that she should recommend her daughter take her child to a specialist, was, being that I did not have a child of my own, I therefore have no valued knowledge in the field of child rearing–and she said, “Thank you.” In which I replied, “That is like you saying that, becuase I am not a criminal, I do not know anything about criminals? How absurd.” She did not offend me, but I learned a valuable lesson that day, citing that I can bring a horse to water, but I cannot make it drink.
Knowledge is valuable tool to have. It changes us from ignorance, to people of reason. Knowledge is very costly, both in time and access; you generally have to go to an institution that teaches it, where you learn from those who have mastered in it, in order to have gained it in its pure form. Anyone can obtain knowledge, but few do because of its costs, yet in the same vein, the free stuff–well, you get what you pay for.