Deviant Behavior

To deviate is to turn from a naturally occurring path, action, or behavior to one that has been artificially produced or copied (Newburn 45). As a result, deviance can be described as a shift away from socially acceptable behaviors toward unacceptable actions. It can also be characterized as the defiance to social norms or the violation of laws. Furthermore, it can be described as the act of defying the ordinary culture’s values, beliefs, and behavior (Tomasson 96). Was taking alcohol when under the age of eighteen, for example, can be considered deviance because rules instituted by his or her country and even parents for that matter.

Nevertheless, sociologists describe deviance as the collection of somebody’ acts or conditions that are looked down upon by the society. Theories have also been formed to explain deviance behavior. Examples of such theories include the condition theory or the social bonding theory by Travis Hirschi, which explains deviance behavior as a result of being attached to certain groups or institutions (Kaplan and Robert 56). Additionally, there is the labeling theory by John Kitsuse, which define deviance behavior by first defining a deviant act and then attaching the act to the person. This theory was founded by Howard Becker and he explained why people’ behavior clash with social norms.

Moreover, there is Robert Merton’s Strain theory, which is also known as the means-end theory. In this particular theory, Robert says that one can be pushed to act outside the socially acceptable norms of the society so that he(she) can achieve the societies’ set goal(s) without being given the means to achieve his (her) goal. Mr. Robert gives an example of the American dream, which most people, young and old, yearn to achieve their dreams despite whatever it takes or cost. Most of the people are pushed to achieve the goal of changing their living status or that of their family as there is a belief that in America they would get rich faster. As a result, many go to the extent of committing crimes to make sure they get there.

Unfortunately, these theories have suffered some challenges as their founders have been harshly criticized concerning the basis of their theories. Some critics have termed them as people who have created a misconception in the arrangement of law (Pontell and Stephen 17). Also, Kitsuse’s theory was termed insufficient because as an analyst he conducted his view as general misconception and fails to harmonize the effects of subjective and objective aspects. Furthermore, other theories were dismissed as processes of determining deviant norms and not as theories defining deviant standards.

Furthermore, some of these theories contradicted each other regarding definition and basis of analysis. For instance, Edwin Sutherland’s theory of differential association in which he is of the opinion that non-standard behavior is learned just the same way one learns about his surrounding environment (Pontell 26). He says that when one is exposed to a lot of actions violating the law one becomes accustomed to breaking the law and prefers being deviant to keeping the law. Therefore, Edwin rejected certain theories that claimed that some criminal behavior were hereditary. He also denounced theories that attached crime to a distinct character type or psychodynamic mechanisms.

In conclusion, most sociologists feel that their theories explain deviant behavior best in their capacities. Nevertheless, we cannot reject each of these contributions as they try to give meaning to this topic. As you can see right from the start, all of these sociologists conform to the one basis that culture and association to individuals or an institution affect one’s behavior and terming a behavior deviant or not depends on one’s social standing and morals.

Question 2: The History of Marijuana

Initially, cannabis sativa commonly known as marijuana was used as medicinal, recreational and industrial drug in the United States. In fact, it was listed among medicines to be sold in approved pharmacies after it was first used in Western as medicine by William O’Shaughnessy. At first, marijuana was grown and sold as an export to support England by American colonists of Jamestown (Sloman, Larry and Michael 67). It was also amongst the main crops grown by George Washington. However, laws were later enacted to control the sale of pharmaceuticals, which as a result affected marijuana’s sale in pharmacies because it was labeled ‘drug’ and ‘poison’. This meant that one had to buy the drug under prescription or using details and that of the packaging of the drug recorded after purchase.

Following the publication of these laws, criminalization of marijuana was initiated. The Pure Food and Drug Act required the drug to be labeled accurately by stating its exact contents (Lee 98). However, critics still argued about the availability of narcotics as they were considered poison, leading to more legal actions being carried out to restrict their sale including that of cannabis sativa. Therefore, in Massachusetts, New York, and Maine the Towns-Boylan Act which restricted the sale of drugs that prompted addiction (Lee 56). Consequently, many other acts were adopted to tighten the use of cannabis and other drugs giving rise to the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and many bodies to help curb misuse of cannabis, especially for non-medicinal and non-industrial use.

Unfortunately, several people were arrested following the implementation of the laws mentioned above, including even patient authorized to be in the possession of cannabis like those suffering from glaucoma, tumors, cancer, and even AIDS (Sloman, Larry and Michael 76). Although they were authorized, being in possession of more than an ounce of cannabis was a punishable criminal offense among the states of America. In fact, one Mr. Robert Randall sued the state for arresting him for being in possession of cannabis that he was using to treat his glaucoma. Besides, Mr. Robert advocated for the supply of the same to AIDS patient, a movement, which later George W. Bush stopped during his administration.

However, the state of Colorado among others like Washington and Oregon legalized possession of up to an ounce of cannabis. Later, the state of Oregon decriminalized cannabis by reducing penalties to those who possessed an ounce or less of the drug. The state of Colorado followed suit among other states and even legalized the use of cannabis for recreational purposes, but only by adults (21 years and above). This was effected by the then Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, who foresaw a boost in income revenue. Although some activists against the use of cannabis, including several attorneys, members of Congress and the police department of Denver staged protests and campaigns to criminalize the use of cannabis for non-medical or non-industrial, they were overridden by the majority of Coloradans who voted for legalization of the use of cannabis including recreational use (Lee 102).

In conclusion, the fight against narcotic drugs in the United States proved futile as even the citizen were willing to change the constitution to enable them access and use the drugs. Therefore, another approach was to be used in bringing a fair ground without any citizen feeling offended, and this was to decriminalize the use and possession of cannabis. Although this is acceptable due to the majority rule of democracy, it should be considered that cannabis is more useful for medical and industrial purposes than for the recreational purpose as it is used by the citizens of America.

Question 3: Solutions to atrocities

Deviant behavior as described by sociologists is the act of going against a set of socially accepted norms or breaking of socially approved rules (Ahern 67). Mass shooters are people who kill a group of people single-handedly with hidden motive or as an act of outrage toward that group of people. Studies conducted on these mass shooters after carrying out these massacres have shown that most of them have had troubled backgrounds during their childhood. Therefore, making them dock some rage towards the society.

Stephen Paddock, the man behind the mass shooting at Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Hotel that left 59 people dead including himself, was reportedly depressed before carrying out the shooting. He had ended a relationship with his girlfriend and seemed distressed when he talked to his business associate, Scott Armstrong. Also, he had bragged of his father who was a robber and had broken out of jail once. People close to him considered him somehow violent. Sociologists theoretically define this behavior using the psychological model of criminal behavior (Ahern 79). Paddock could probably have been inappropriately taught, conditioned or emulated wrong role models (the father) thus causing conflict within him. If he would not have committed suicide, sociologists suggest that he could have been imprisoned, fined or sanctioned to correct his errant behavior.

Secondly, Adam Lanza was reportedly a deeply troubled teenager in class and was somehow unsettled. She was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and could be the reason for feeling socially unfit among people. In Adam’s case, he acted out of lack of social norms or anomie that even led to him committing suicide after killing his mother, twenty elementary school children, and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school. Additionally, Adam could have been psychologically disturbed due to his sickness and therefore, susceptible to committing a crime as explained by sociologists in the psychological theory of criminal behavior. Such a case as suggested by sociologists could be solved by retraining and educating individuals as they serve their punishment, whatever it could be. Likewise, such individuals could be involved in social programs that will enable them build trust and a connection with the society (Downes 43).

Furthermore, there is James Holmes who killed 12 people in a movie theatre and injured 70 more people. James’ thinking was considered inconsistent, especially when one scrutinized his notebook. The questions he wrote and the symbols he drew raised a lot of questions within them as some of them suggested a specific plan to carry out an attack. As a neuroscience student at the University of Colorado, it was quite mysterious to see statements such as ‘the mind is a prison of uncertainty’ and ‘self-diagnosis of a broken mind’ suggesting he was somehow losing his mind while he was contemplating carrying out a serious offense as murder. Sociologists suggest that criminal behavior as a result of biological interference could be solved by psychosurgery, chemical methods involving chemical castration of sex offenders and deep brain stimulation, which is still held plausible.

In conclusion, punishments should be based on psychological aspects since it is hard to apply punishment to its maximum. Some sociologists feel that punishments are an ineffective mode of altering someone’s behavior and instead reinforcement should be used. They say that punishment is effective when applied properly and almost immediately after one commits a crime and no matter the crime one should not escape a penalty (Downes 56). Therefore, rehabilitation, retraining, and involving in educational programs are most suitable for correcting deviant behavior.

Question 4: NFL Players’ during the singing of National Anthem

The national anthem in most countries is sung while citizens of the country are praying and pledging patriotism to their country (Hall 45). However, lately, the National League Football players have disrespected these move and opted to kneel and or raise their fists during the singing of the national anthem before preceding a match. They did this as a sign of protest against the feud they have with their President, Mr. Donald Trump. The feud was as a result of the players protesting against racial injustice in the United States of America.

The players feel that they have a right of expressing their feelings towards the ongoing political actions by politicians in the United States. Consequently, a number of them have been disrespecting the anthem ceremony by either not attending or not doing as required during the ceremony. Players such as Alejandro Villanueva and Tomlin are among those who participated in the protest. They were of the opinion that they had a right to choose whether to stand, squat or kneel during the anthem ceremony. Some of the owners of these teams, for instance, Shahid Khan, support their players in this protest and joined them in locking of arms.

Moreover, most supporters of these protesting teams and their players support these protests and feel that it is the best thing the players can do to show their displeasure. Most have slammed their president’s comments concerning the demonstrations. They even joined in the protests by helping the players lock arms during the singing of the anthem. Some have even condemned Trump’s acts of disregarding the flag. Also, during a match, Trump forgot to remind the people at the ceremony that the flag is to be held aloft and not flat or horizontally.

Nevertheless, Trump condemned the acts done by the players as a form of protest. He said that not only were they disrespecting the flag, but they were also disrespecting the people of the United States America and the sovereignty of their country. He also condemned the league for supporting the players in the protest as it did not ban the involved players and their respective teams. He suggested that the fans boycott such matches to disapprove the acts done by the players. Furthermore, he threatened to fire or suspend the players and anybody in the NFL who participated in the protests. Besides, some staff members of the NFL support Trump and consider the actions of the players as uncalled for and are inappropriate.

Likewise, the constitution of the United States America is against the actions done by the players as a sign of protests. Title 4, chapter 1, section 8 of the US code contains the dos’ and don’ts concerning the national symbols, that is, the flag and the national anthem (Luca 54). For instance, it states that all present during the singing of the national anthem should stand at attention except those in uniform.

In conclusion, the players are right in expressing their political views by protesting against contradicting issues raised by politicians. However, politics should be discussed off the field as each citizen has their political stand. Also, they should apply appropriate actions while demonstrating as disrespect of the national symbols means disrespect to the whole country and her people, which is contrary to the main purpose of such national unity activities as engaging in national games.

Works Cited

Ahern, Jerry. Atrocity. Toronto: Worldwide, 1984. Print.

Downes, David, Paul E. Rock, and Eugene McLaughlin. Understanding Deviance: A Guide to the Sociology of Crime and Rule-Breaking. , 2016. Print.

Hall, M C, and Todd Ouren. The National Anthem. Minneapolis: Abdo Consulting Group, 2009. Computer file.

Kaplan, Howard B, and Robert J. Johnson. Social Deviance: Testing a General Theory. Springer Verlag, 2013. Print.

Lee, Martin A. Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific. New York: Scribner, 2014. Internet resource. Print.

Luca, Olmstead, D B. Warner, and Edwin Barclay. Liberian National Anthem. Monrovia, Liberia: Dept. of State, 1900. Musical score.

Newburn, Tim. Criminology. London: Routledge, 2013. Print.

Pontell, Henry N, and Stephen M. Rosoff. Social Deviance: Readings in Theory and Research. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011. Print.

Sloman, Larry, William S. Burroughs, and Michael Simmons. Reefer Madness: A History of Marijuana. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2013. Internet resource. Print.

Tomasson, Riochard F. Deviance. Amsterdam: JAI Press, 1985. Print.

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