Author Archives: amahdi2013

Are the police our friends?

This week’s past lecture, we discussed deterrence theory and different methods and approaches to prevent crime. The focused deterrence model is the idea that the possibility of punishment for one’s actions prevents people from committing crimes. Personally I think this theory is only viable for certain circumstances. In certain places where law enforcement isn’t perceived as a threat, people may commit crimes without fear of being caught. When there is a lack of respect between the police and community members this circumstance is evident.

Growing up I was taught to trust those in charge like elders, teachers, police officers, firefighters, etc… As I got older, I saw how police treated some of my peers and I quickly lost that trust. They were supposed to aid the community in stopping crime, not point fingers at the first person they see wearing baggy jeans and a black hoodie. Between random stops on the street and arrests for simply “looking suspicious,” the police in my neighborhood were not considered friends amongst us.

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 The first thing that comes to mind when I think of a lack of respect is NWA’s famous song “Fuck the Police.” Some lyrics include, “Fuck the police comin straight from the underground, a young nigga got it bad cause I’m brown, and not the other color so police think they have the authority to kill a minority.” NWA hails from Compton, CA, a place where the police targeted blacks heavily and when this song came out it wasn’t news to anyone because most people shared this sentiment. The song demonstrates the extreme disconnect in a place were the police were not protecting the citizens, which led them not to discredit their power and authority, rendering them useless.

A show recently aired on TNT entitled, “Boston’s Finest” about Boston’s Police Department. The show portrayed the cops capturing suspects, talking to youth, and their lives at home with their families. The bio on the TNT website says, “Boston’s Finest offers viewers an up-close and very personal look at what it takes to protect and serve one of America’s greatest and most distinctive cities.” While I thought there was some truth to the process in which they catch suspects, I think the show portrayed a false reality of the relations between the cops and youth in the city. Being a resident of Boston, I can say firsthand that there needs to be an improvement of the image of cops in the city. Boston has a similar structure to the “Governing Board” that Dean Dabney outlined in the lecture. However, not all systems have strong ties with one another, especially law enforcement. A study outlined some of the reasons why people lack faith in the police department including lack of confidence in police to solve issues, a risk of mistreatment, and a loss of respect from one’s peers (Anderson). Many people don’t trust cops because of personal experiences or seeing mistreatment happen to their peers. Clearly there needs to be change in the inner city so that the police and people in the community can trust one another. After seeing these shows and viewing this mistrust firsthand, I can say that it will take a lot of TLC to get everyone on one side and trusting the police to have our best interests.


Anderson, E. (1992). The story of John Turner. Public Interest, 108, 3-34



Emotional Costs Too

Last week’s lecture focused primarily on the economic costs of violence and the important role they play in productivity losses. Most of the time was spent discussing monetary costs but costs of violence don’t always consist of monetary costs; there are also emotional costs.

sandy hook

After the Sandy Hook shooting, families, teachers, friends, and community members were all affected by the monstrosity that took place in the small town of Newtown, Connecticut. I think in light of such shooting, there is definitely more than one victim. Not only do parents suffer but everyone around the crime suffers as well. When I think about this shooting, I think about the people whose classmates were killed and how those 6 and 7 year-olds have to grow up pondering the thought of, “It could have been me.” Such trauma, as we discussed last week, can have very negative effects on a child. What if the child needs extensive therapy for years to come after the incident? What if the couples of the deceased children have to go to marriage counseling because they are so torn over the death of their child? I wonder if these sorts of things get factored into so-called “economic costs” of violence. I think the definitely should because heinous violence is what caused these people to seek out therapy. It’s hard to widen the parameters for what we consider to be an economic cost of violence but I think these things should be factored into funding for research on this cause.

Something else that I think about is the amount of people in jails for minimal crimes (like marijuana) that could be dealt with in another manner besides jail. And also how our tax dollars are used for people in jails that don’t necessarily need to be there.  The system needs 1) a better way to control jail time, and 2) a way to avoid such heavy amounts of people in jail at once and focus on early rehabilitation that will turn kids away from jail. An article on NPR stated “correctional systems…cost the nation nearly $70 billion annually.” This article went on to further discuss how more money is being spent on jails than for our education system. While I do think that more money should be spent on schools, I think the bigger problem here is that we spend so much money on jails, when it could be put elsewhere, such as towards funding research on violence, rather than funding for people who are “violent”.

NPR article:


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When we discussed resilience amongst rape victims in class on Monday, the first current event I though of was the Rihanna and Chris Brown relationship. Although she was not a rape victim, Chris Brown had assaulted her in 2009 and they broke up. Despite the dramatic interviews and the graphic pictures released from the incident, Rihanna decided to go back to Chris Brown and rekindle their love for one another.

During class, Robyn Fivush discussed a coping mechanism for rape victims who fight to remember their attacks so they can forget about the incidents. I think back to Rihanna’s situation and wonder if discussing the incident publicly helped her forget about/get over the domestic abuse incident. A lot of the times she talked about how hurt and she was because she never thought someone who loved her could hurt her so badly. However, I’m also torn because she is back in a relationship with him. Was her pain only temporary or did she forget about the incident altogether because she fought to remember it?

Once she got back together with him, the couple “looked” happy with one another, a complete turnaround from the last time we saw them together in public. Something that bothers me is that people are accepting of the rekindled relationship. There have been comments like, “Oh they’ve matured and Chris has learned his lesson,” which I think is true to some extent; however, he abused her. In discussing violence toward women, Abigail Hankin said, “The notion that violence towards women, children, or other human beings can be justified needs to be reconsidered given the enormous health and social costs that violence exacts from victims and societies. Promotion of norms and values in which violence is depicted as illegitimate and irresponsible could be important in creating social contexts that are intolerant of violence and are considerate to its victims.” Many people think their relationship is healthy, but in reality, no one knows if she is truly okay. In relation to what Hankin said, no one is talking about how unhealthy their new relationship could be to their livelihood because of the depressing history between the two. I don’t think Rihanna is being considerate of her mental state and how this could affect her health in the future. In a study about why people stay with abusive partners, research showed people hold on to the positive characteristics of their abusive partners. Some statistics include, “More than half (54 percent) saw their partners as highly dependable, while one in five (21 percent) felt the men in their lives possessed significant positive traits (i.e., being affectionate).” In relation to Rihanna, I think this is why she got back with Chris. The positive traits outweighed the abuse. In my relationships with others, once you do something bad to me, I’ll always remember that before the good memories, which is the opposite for Rihanna. She views Chris Brown in a positive light, which I think is completely wrong. I don’t believe she will ever fully recover from what happened to her because she is still around her attacker. Talking about the situation may help to forget what happened but rekindling romance with your partner will never make sense to me.

Nauert, PhD, Rick. “Why Women Stay in Abusive Relationships.” N.p., 13 Apr. 2010. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.