Some may shake their heads in wonder, or perhaps to clear away the insanity, when they hear of crime sprees carried out by families. When did the lone black sheep turn into a flock? Clearly Little Bo Peep was off somewhere napping.
With the growth of world population comes growth of crime. Likewise the information highway travels along with it. In truth we are just more informed than ever.
Crime as a family affair might seem relatively new but that is far from the truth. Think back and you'll recall many crime sprees committed by families. One example would be the infamous Jesse James Gang.
Those in charge of the gang were the James brothers (Jesse and Frank) and the Youngers. Others rode along but didn't begin or lead the gang. Another example is The Dalton Gang. Crime as a family occupation has always been in existence and is nothing new.
Interesting to note while not family many gangs, groups, and clubs consider themselves to be families in their own right. In the case of mafias some familial ties will be found as well as ties to specific nationalities.
Other gangs or groups see themselves as brotherhoods. The degree to which they will look out for one another surpasses what many of us would do for a real family member.
Attempting to understand how or why a family becomes involved together in crime is no easy task. There is no one profile for criminals. If it were so cut and dried crime would have been eliminated long ago.
There is some rationale however that does make sense. The first being genetics, the second that of learning what you live, and at times a combination of both.
In tough economic times we often rationalize crime sprees as being associated to that. Anyone can understand a mother stealing bread to feed her family, or a father robbing a store for the survival of his family.
While understand it we might we don't necessarily condone it, reason being there are so many alternatives today such as social assistance, soup kitchens, and churches.
For those who are law abiding it is difficult to understand criminal behaviour. Some crime certainly does occur as a result of need but does not account for all crime. In the past criminal behavior often came out of the ghettos and the barrios. That was a clear indication of poverty or need being a causation issue.
Today we don't need to search the ghettos for the criminals for they reside all around us, everywhere. When you find whole families living a life of crime you may see some commonalities, poverty being one.
Poverty is difficult to overcome for reasons that go far beyond money. Those raised in poverty will generally have minimal education. A life of hardship creates bitterness, anger, resentment, and sometimes feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
If someone cannot see life being any different it will never be any different. A parent with this view will pass it on to their children to the point where it becomes an unending cycle passed from generation to generation.
For those who come from a cycle of poverty or have grown up on social assistance an attitude of being owed rather than learning to earn can ensue. This attitude contains a lot of resentment and "what is owed" becomes whatever that person deems it to be and may follow with "I'll take what is owed to me."
Learning what you live does not hold true one hundred percent of the time but it does more often that not. Our children learn our values and belief systems. We teach it to them.
It only makes sense then that if a parent feels it is okay to take what is not theirs then their children will also learn to take what they want. If a parent has a substance abuse problem their children are likely to end up with one as well.
Consideration can again be given to learning what you live by looking at gangs today. It may be surprising to know than many gang members come from affluent families. This goes to show that poverty isn't a necessary ingredient for a life of crime.
Each generation of parents tries to give their children more than what they had. It is the nature of parents. Today we have more available to us than ever before in terms of material things. Our expectations are much higher. The turn over of technology is also faster making material items obsolete sooner rather than later. It is hard to keep up with the ever changing consumers market.
While we work ourselves into early graves in order to supply our children with the latest laptop computer, IPOD, Wii, and newest version of Nintendo we overlook what our own parents supplied us with. We have forgotten or failed to instill values in our children.
We have forgotten to teach them to learn the value of a dollar, how hard it is to make, and how far it really goes. Years ago children thought money grew on trees now they think it resides in a little square of plastic with a magnetic reader strip on its backside, so convenient it travels anywhere taking up no space at all.
These same children we have been so generous with grow up with the expectations we have indelibly left them with. Once expected to hold jobs of their own and to buy the newest and latest technological goodies themselves reality comes knocking.
For them reality is not looking very enticing. There are not many who learn to lower their expectations. The natural progression is to continuously raise the bar not lower it.
Instead these same children go out and take it......by whatever means necessary. If that means stealing it, beating someone up and taking it, or joining a gang to have the means to get it that is what they will do. Indulgence is a treat, something special. It was not meant to be an item on the menu everyday. Indulgence too is a learned behaviour.
What a blessing to be raised in a family with good morals, ethics, and values. Those also are learned traits. We hold onto them tightly and cannot understand those who are lacking in them.
The flip side of that coin is that they have no idea what the values and ethics we believe in are. They did not learn them. For the most part those are traits which must be learned by example as with most life skills. It is not the same as book learning. Becoming educated would be easier than to reconstruct one's life skills.
For those who wonder how a parent could teach their children to steal or participate in crime be thankful you do not have the mind of a criminal for that is what it would take. As alien as it is to you that a parent could allow or teach such a thing is as alien as that parent understanding your values, your mind. Be thankful you have the better of the bargain.