Historically, the struggle between law and criminal behaviour is one that has been both prominent and persistent. It has been a global conflict which has been contested differently depending on the individual country or culture, and has seen many attempts by governing bodies to minimize criminal conduct and successfully reprimand and rehabilitate the perpetrators of crime. However, despite the variety of approaches from law enforcements agencies to uphold specific legislation, crime continues to harm society and its erstwhile citizens.

The main issue in the fight against crime is the simple matter of law and its implementation. Law and legislation is created and implemented to best fight criminal behavioural trends, and is then enforced by police and government officials as rigidly as possible. However, while the application of law must be to the letter and maintain a clarity of process, those who wish to defy the law are not bound by the restrictions of duty and transparency. Unfortunately, the nature of law and its application means that it will always be easier to break than it will be to uphold.

Law in Contemporary Society

The levels of crime reported and discussed on daily news bulletins throughout the US is currently at an unprecedented level, and although this has something to do with the vast amounts of media outlets that can be accessed it should not detract from the fact rising crime is a troublesome social issue. This trend is especially prominent amongst instances of violent crime, such as aggravated assaults and armed robberies, and this type of crime is also the most significant in terms of being targeted by government bodies and their legislation.

This is not a slur on western culture, but more a realization of the magnitude of melding numerous cultural and religious bodies into a weave of similar communities. It requires a certain level of tolerance, knowledge and understanding, and also vast amounts of interaction and communication to make the transition smooth and effective. The danger is that by merging different entities together without the requisite foundation being laid could lead to ignorance, resentment and ultimately conflict.

Teaching the Values of Different Religions

There are two major issues with religious teaching in general education facilities. Firstly, it is not considered a primary or compulsory subject, and therefore either abandoned or simply ignored by students who do not see the value in such education. Secondly, where specialist religious education bodies exist, they often teach only a single religious or cultural theme that does not encompass alternative or external influences. While this at least teaches at some religious values in depth, it creates a closed minded attitude towards the notions of other belief systems.

Poverty is an often misunderstood concept, and is perceived differently depending on the status of a nation and its people. In deprived areas of the world, poverty is seen as an extreme state of existence, where a community has steep population levels and not enough natural or economic resource to sustain them. This is also the wider view of poverty, as it is well documented through news bulletins and global charitable events and organizations.

However, it is less well known that poverty subsists in many affluent and renowned nations, only it harbors beneath a different and less extreme definition. In countries like the US, poverty is status is determined by contrasting annual income to a regulated dollar value, which are referred to as thresholds. These thresholds vary depending on the size of a family and average age of a household. An family unit whose income falls below this threshold are considered to be in poverty.

Increasing Poverty Throughout the US

The poverty threshold is refreshed annually to account for modifications in the cost of living and other economic variables. Between 2009 and 2010, the percentage of US citizens who had fallen beneath the poverty threshold was registered at 14.3, which was a 1.0 increase on the recorded figure from 2008. While this statistic is surprising in itself, the geographical split of poverty and where it is prevalent within the US is even more interesting, and highlights particular areas of concern.

There is an ever increasing amount of capital invested in research every year throughout the US. The nature of this is variable, ranging from market research into consumer trends to scientific and medical research into remedies and vaccinations to treat and cure diseases. Some of this research is funded by governments through appointed grants, whereas others are sourced through private investment, and which types of investigative research qualify for grants depends entirely on their purpose and benefit to people and society. However, given the sums of public and private resource that are committed to such projects, it seems reasonable to question the effectiveness of such outlay.

It appear that there is no hope of doing perfect research, and this can be argued through two core principles. Firstly, certain types of research are reliant on human response and reaction when faced with an action or a set of questions, which of course are open to a completely unique interpretation from each subject. Secondly, and despite the global nature of research across an increasing range of media, we are still analyzing individual tests and results rather than opting to review a garnering of data from different sources to provide a more accurate set of findings. These facts compromise the conclusions drawn from all types of research projects, and draw sharply into focus their purpose and they way that they are conducted.

Human Reaction and Conditioning

Examples of this this can be seen through various projects conducted. Looking at the influence of the effects of media violence on society, the work of George Gerbner stands out from other protagonists. His seminal research through the USA not only inspired further testing but also suggested that heavy TV viewers had their perceptions of the world molded to suit the images presented by the media. He surmised that, due to the sensationalism of media reporting, society was left more anxious and fearful of their surroundings, a concept Gerbner labelled ‘Mean World Syndrome’.

Of all the criminal activity that causes concern amongst society, it is undoubtedly violent crime that remains the most pertinent. The statistics for violent crime in the US have fluctuated over the previous 20 years, rising, falling and then rising again since the turn of the century. There were an estimated 1.8 million instances of violent crime reported in 1995, which reduced to 1.3 million in 2003. This approximate figure has risen again to more than 1.4 million in 2009, prompting concerns of a further increase and gradual decline of social conditions.

There have been several theories forwarded for increased violence amongst society’s members, some of which have been developed since an initial explosion of violent felonies in the 1960’s. The most forward thinking and relevant today is George Gerner’s renowned cultivation theory, which emerged from his experiments and research conducted over a 20 year period. His project involved looking at the effects of television and social media has on impressionable young minds, and their reaction and understanding of concepts such as politics, ideology and violence.

A Relevant and Innovative Study

The reason that Gerbner’s work remains so relevant is the focus from contemporary society on the frequency with which young children play video games. The development of games consoles and games with violent tendencies began to peak in the early 1990’s, coinciding with the sudden increase in instances of violent crime. Gerbner’s studies examined television and media outlets in how they influenced people’s thoughts and actions, and although violence and the effects of violence were a portion of his work, his findings were significant none the less.

With instances of fraud and violent crime remaining unacceptably high through 2009 and early 2010, there is an ever intensive focus on US laws and legislation to help resolve criminal behavioural trends. However, there is another factor which influences criminal acts and conduct, one which remains less defined and yet potentially more pertinent, and this is the concept of personal morality. Completely individual to each person, these nurtured principles govern an independent philosophy of living, and help determine which acts a conscience deems acceptable and righteous. With this in mind, it is fair to question the validity of strict and detailed law when confronted with an individual’s own standards of morality.

Acknowledging Morality as a Factor in Criminal Behaviour

If we consider their core definitions, laws and morals are essentially as one. Both are sets of principles that govern what actions are deemed to be acceptable and righteous, and act as a code by which we conduct our lives and daily affairs. However, whereas laws are set by government legislation to serve society as a single entity, morals are unique to each separate member of that society. They are conditional, influenced by nature, upbringing and most crucially the surrounding environment and circumstance that an individual finds themselves in at any given time. Morals are the most malleable to a subjects situation, and are therefore are often the primary principles by which conduct is orientated. This means that in order for laws to effectively govern a society, they must serve two specific purposes: firstly, to recognise the role of morality in certain criminal offences, and secondly to ensure that such actions are met with swift and consistent consequences.

Statistics released by the Federal Reserve suggested that the level of consumer debt stabilized throughout 2009, amounting to an estimated sum of nearly $2.5 trillion. To help comprehend these figures, this amount equates a consumer of debt of just less than $8,100 for every single individual citizen in the US.

Despite showing signs of steadying, this level of consumer debt is still a sharp increase on the figures reported at the turn of the century. What is interesting is that despite the continuing growth in debt and financial burden, consumer spending continues to rise sharply and out of proportion to inflation.

As the world population figure continues to climb towards the 7 billion mark, and the population of the US alone closes in 311 million, there are increasing concerns surrounding the capacity of the earth’s natural resources to sustain such growth. This, coupled with the continual decline of the environments health, is raising pertinent questions as to whether people and governments are losing control of the world as it is known.

It is common sense to suggest that where there are more people subsisting in a particular space, then there will be more pressure applied on the areas resources to fulfill the growing need. With this mind, it is clear that unless the separate concerns of spiraling population numbers and environmental issues are tackled soon, the quality of life in more and more pockets of the world will be affected swiftly and adversely.

Quarterly statistics for November 2010 showed that the unemployment number rose to 9.8 percent in the US. Although this figure has only risen by 0.2 percent on the last 2 quarters, the rate of citizens without a job has steadied at just beneath the 10 percent mark since the beginning of the global depression in late 2008, and subsequent job cuts through the first 6 months of 2009.

Although the unemployment rate and global economy are displaying signs of slow and steady growth, people are still finding it difficult to source and find employment. This is chiefly due to the fact that companies, cautious not to over commit their resources through a period of economic recovery, are looking to consolidate their numbers rather than grow and employ more staff.

Opportunity not Crisis

This situation has left more and more families financially stretched and looking for alternate ways to create revenue. In the months prior to Christmas, these concerns become even more pertinent as the balancing act between income and expenditure is an even more delicate activity. In these periods of financial pressure and hardship, where costs and inflation remained fixed while people’s income levels drop or diminish, the most positive course of action that an individual can adopt is to treat these issues as opportunities rather than moments of crisis.

Discusses Democracy and the right to choose in detail. Explores in depth the evolution of Democracy and different political systems. Compares Democracy with other political and religious systems. Uncovers the role of money in modern Democratic systems.

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