Guns And Violence Book Review

Guns And Violence Book Review
Throughout one?s life, one experiences many emotions and
undergoes many changes. Changes that are not always apparent,
changes that cannot always be reasoned or changes that reflect
greatest in behavior, ones that are dependent on the
environment. In Deanna Wilkinson?s Guns, Violence, and
Identity among African American and Latino Youth, Wilkinson
studies the role of violence and guns in the construction the
social identity of minority youth.
Wilkinson studies 125 violent African American and Latino
males aged 16 to 24 in New York City, analyzing 306 violent
situations of which 151 involve guns. The social world of
these youths is characterized by violence, internalized street
codes, limited opportunities, and the availability of
firearms. Violent events are public social performances. These
performances often have serious consequences for social
identity and personal safety. Wilkinson shows how violence is
a resource for gaining/maintaining social identity
(masculinity) and status on the street. The dynamic of moving
from victim to victimizer is clearly understood in the
socio-cultural context of the street. She demonstrates the
role that guns play in ?empowering? adolescents to engage in
conflict outside of age-specific groups

In this book, Wilkinson identifies the reasons in the increase
of gun violence in the minority youth. Wilkinson trains
ex-offenders to be peer interviews to note the ways adolescent
males cope, adapt and in some situations overcome the hardship
of the streets. I think this was a great idea as it allows
Wilkinson and all reading her book to get a clear and accurate
picture of what?s going through an offender?s mind. Also, in
doing this, Wilkinson allows not only the common public to see
the cause and effect of crime and criminals, but allows the
offenders themselves to get a escape their reality and speak
their mind about them not being a born criminal. In addition,
Wilkinson referenced a number of different resources to her
own research in attempts to tackle this problem. Broad
surveys, social/economical statistics, hands-on research and a
myriad of different theories presented by a long list of
accredited criminologists in order to aid her in her study.

Wilkinson began her study on youth gun violence in 1994 in New
York City. Wilkinson hoped to answer some unsolved mysteries
of youth gun violence in this study. Some of? the most
striking questions Wilkinson sought to answer were: ?What
roles do family background, peers, environment, school
involvement, and employment play?? ?Why does it seem as if
they invite situations that provoke violence?? ?How do you
determine which situations to use violence in?? ?How do youths
balance consequences and quality of life?? Does their
fearlessness imply that they have nothing to lose?" Deanna
Wilkinson uses the theories of criminology to help answer
these questions.

I think my favorite theory is social disorganization. Social
disorganization is a perspective on how society is set up on a
hierarchy that enables to move up or down the ladder. Social
disorganization is affected by all social standards and as
each one (historical, racial, economical, education, etc.)
evolves. From class discussions and the book, I honestly feel
as though social disorganization explains everything wrong in
society (seriously!). I say this because I can honestly
relate to this. I live in a small town called Sharon Hill,
located southeast of Philadelphia, in Delaware County. A few
years ago, when I was in high school, my neighborhood
was a
good little town. Now I go back on occasional
weekends and
holidays and I hear my family tell me that this area is going
downhill, its turning ghetto. Sharon Hill is affected by the
movement which took place within the town. Now, I?m not a
racist but a few years ago there were only two minorities on
our street and I felt safe being home alone. Recently,
however, the number of minority has gone up on my street and
so has the crime rate in my area. I no longer feel safe being
home alone especially since I?ve heard that there were a few
attempt break-ins just last year.

Also, you can clearly see social disorganization in the city
of Philadelphia. Each part of this city is segregated in
terms of individual social status. If you go to North
Philadelphia, all you see is ?ghetto?, a part of city filled
with minorities, a city that?s basically setting up its own
downfall. However, if you look at other parts of Philadelphia
such as Center City, West Philadelphia, etc. things there are
a lot different than in North Philadelphia. All parts of
Philadelphia has built itself a ladder in which its either
climbing upwards or downwards, either sustaining a well lived
life or setting themselves up for self-destruction.
Another theory that caught my attention the most in help
defining the problems of society is the social/behavioral
learning theory. Wilkinson utilizes all theories to fully
define the domino effect of gun violence among the minority
youths in the inner-city. Wilkinson furthers her research by
incorporating personal experience of living through a
dysfunctional family and its outcome.

I personally think one of the most striking questions that
Wilkinson attempted to answer was the role of family,
environment, education, etc. in gun violence. I personally
think everything starts at home, with family. All lessons
learned in life begin at home and that no one is a born
criminal. I also believe that environment plays a huge role
in the person you become as you grow. I know personally, I
turned out okay with the fear of my parents and family as a
girl of an Indian family since I grew up in Bombay, India. I
was always raised and taught that the men in my family were
superior, what they thought was right, rather I believed such
things at an young age or not, I followed it because its what
I was taught and all in my neighborhood
did the same. However,
when I moved to America, I saw that things weren?t the same
here as they were in India. As I grew older, I began to
notice more and more changes, today if I disagree with
something, I?ll let my parents know without disrespecting them
whereas ten years ago, I just accepted what they said. I know
this has nothing to do with violence but I?m just trying to
show an example of the influence of family and environment on
an individual.

Now, on the same line, my younger brother now 16, didn?t
exactly turn out to be okay. He was raised in India as well
but majority of his childhood started in the US. As he began
school and made friends, he got caught up in the reality of
America, strayed away from the cultural values he was taught
as a younger child. Though he?s okay now, there was still a
difference in his upbringing and mine when we were raised by
the same pair of parents all because of the role of
environment on us. I believe that even though everything
starts at home, it doesn?t end there, sometimes family has a
larger impact on an individual and sometimes the things
outside the house has a larger impact on an individual.

Throughout one?s life, one undergoes many changes in the form
of experiences. Most of these experiences alters one?s life
drastically either moving them toward their goal in life or
completely straying them away from a light in their life.
Though experience is not the only factor in decision making,
it seems the minority youth use a limited number of things in
their decision making process when it comes to gun violence
and all of which may not be apparent to the naked eye. There
are biological, psychological and social factors that could
lead an individual to his or her own destruction or making. I
think this was an excellent book and helps identify the
reasons why gun violence cannot be decreased.

Guns And Violence Book Review 8.2 of 10 on the basis of 852 Review.