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Posted October 10, 2011
I have always looked at environment as a reason for criminal thinking and was reluctant to read this book. However, I was pleasantly surprised and learned a great deal from this book. It applies to my clients completely. Need more work in this area of criminal justice.
5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 23, 2004
Part of Left-wing theory of why people commit crime is, the 'system' turns them into criminals. This excellent book shows that that is not true, and that it is a disservice to the poor to say that their condition turns them into criminals. The truth is that the human mind is the most complex thing in the universe, it is not a 'lump of clay' that society forms and puts its imprint on. If the human mind were just a lump of clay, people would be extremely predictable. But how do you explain the kid from the ghetto who becomes a gang member, and enjoys the rush of the power that gives him, and actually enjoys abusing women and using violence, whereas his brother goes to college, law school, and then enjoys defending poor people and helping others. The answer is not 'society made them what they are today' - because they both grew up in the same societal conditions. The truth is, and the author states this, people decide very early in life what their value system will be. Some play within the rules, and some play outside of them. According to the author, criminals think of themselves are special, gifted, more deserving, and they use relativism to justify their own actions. They feel that there is right and wrong, but that it does not apply to them, because they are so special. Thus, criminals are in essence, relativists, egotists, narcissists, and they are 'grandiose'. They feel entitled to take what they want. Of course our DNA and biology plays a role there, but the author states in the book that, for example, twins studies have shown that there is a 60 %- 80% correlation between one twin's alcoholism, and the others. So, the author is not saying it is all about genes, but he also is not saying that it is not about genes. Of course, the reality lies in the fact that it is partly about genetics, but ultimately, the person decides whether he gets his kicks skydiving, or robbing banks. One good point in the book is that the author does not make a distinction between ghetto criminals and white collar, rich criminals (CEOS of companies, who lie and use relativism to justify their behavior). This is refreshing, and it actually helps the poor, because it says to them: 'being poor or underprivileged is not an excuse'. The truth is, this book places the blame where it belongs: on the criminal, and it gives the criminal a chance to change - to understand the effects of his actions, and maybe change them. Thus, prisons are not there to rehabilitate, but to punish. Ultimately, a John Malvo does not pull the trigger on his sniper rifle [the author worked for the prosecution on that case], because he is black and 'oppressed', he pulls the trigger on his rifle because he decided a long time ago that the rules don't apply to him, that he is special, and that if he wants somehting, he is entitled to take it, and that power and violence make him feel strong and powerful. One interesting thing in the book is an added chapter on terrorists. According to the author, terrorists are criminals, sociopaths, who use an ideology (Islamism) to justify the power trip that they go on. That is a very interesting new view of terrorism, too.
4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 1, 2011
Haven't read this but....
Everyone who is discrediting Dr. Samenow because he claims criminals choose to be criminals have obviously never studied psychology nor sociology, nor have they counseled such individuals on a one-to-one basis for an extended period of time. Every human being has a choice in life. Even if you were born into an alcoholic, abusive family (citing the environment argument you are all presenting), once you become aware of the difficult situation you are in, you can either choose a better life for yourself, or you can choose to make the worst of it. Criminals CHOOSE the worse path, they CHOOSE to be criminals. This is the mindset that "CRIMINALS" are born with. Every human being is presented with choices in life, unless they are determined to be completely criminally insane, and that is very very rare. In order for that to happen the subject must not comprehend right from wrong... and even sociopaths (anti-social personality disorder) understand right/wrong.
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 5, 2009
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Posted November 29, 2013
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