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Society Makes Its Criminals
by Nate A. Lindell, created 28 July 2017
If a soul is left in the darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness.
The reasons I selected this quote for my profile on prisoninmates.com are:
1) the criminal-injustice system that inspired it was on par in its unjustness as is ours
2) it's morally rational
3) it's scientifically valid, and
4) I simply admire Hugo's writings
At present, the general public in America wrongly, ignorantly assumes that those in prison chose to "sin", do anti-social acts, acts that insult our ability to healthily socialize with each other. The general public doesn't understand that the blind eye it turns towards children's toxic environments - "homes", schools, neighbourhoods - directly leads to their maldevelopment, grooms kids to be future criminals.
If it becomes so aware, the general public can, in theory - this is supposed to be a democratic nation - put in politicians who will root out (1) the toxicity and enplace nurturing environments.
F.N.1 This rooting out does not suggest punishment, nor does it require punitive incarceration. see, also, F.N.7, below
The general public, too, lives in darkness. I'm striving to enlighten them, which isn't easily done when you're convicted of murder, have horns tattooed on your forehead and a swastika on your chest, a violent prison record, which casual observers don't understand the backstories for.
The corporate medias don't help, feeding viewers inflammatory sound bites or supposed documentaries, shaped by producers' typically neo-liberal (at best), bourgeoisie, kinder, gentler fascist preconceptions - at best prisoners are portrayed as hapless semi-humans whom deserve, for pity's sake, some more crumbs dropped on them from massa's table. But prisoner don't deserve emancipation or empowerment (chiefly obtained through higher education - prisons, at best, offer only G.E.D.s and trade education), don't deserve to actually sit at the table or possibly be a full human.
A prisoner such as myself - highly intelligent, socially awakened (against the efforts of prisoncrats), politically conscious, but with a homicide conviction and intolerant of dehumanization - has nothing coming from prisoncrats or soft reformers.
Even the more broken and/or developmentally limited, passive slave of the P.I.C (prison industrial complex) have no more than crumbs coming, and only if they accept their fate and status, subserviently put tongues to massa's palms.
I'm not saying "Homicidal maniacs aren't being given a fair shot." I'm saying that homicidal maniacs are being made.
And do not view my non-subservience, healthy self-esteem and willingness (but not zeal) to use violence to fight oppression as proof that I'm an asshole, unpleasant or "mean." The founders of America's United States possessed the same mentality, as revealed in the Declaration of Independence.
Many plutocrats and their lackies live in the light. They know that their prosperity is based on and at the expense of others; they don't care. They are guilty of their sins, and the sins that they promote, permit and prosper on.
Nobody has moral authority to judge another a sinner when their indifference or indirect actions enable or cause the sins to be committed.
If society is structured or ran - and somebody did the structuring and is doing the running - in such a way that a person can't lawfully obtain food for his family, it is no sin for him to steal food. "That which is necessary is legal," says a legal maxim in Blackstone's Law Dictionary, and common sense.
Moreso, if society, through the media, brainwashes people into believing that they "need" all sorts of luxury items, technological devices, drugs, intoxicants, sexual activity... selfish pleasures... then society makes it highly difficult to legally obtain those blings, such a society can't fairly condemn those who break laws to get them.
But it is just such powers that be making and running society in these ways that scream the loudest, "Lock 'Em up and Throw Away The Key!" (The locking up is in prisons that those plutocrats directly or indirectly profit from.)
Of course I must justify my assertion that "those people" that be putting people in prison are also responsible for the criminal subculture they're cycling through their system.
Development psychology, how a person's mind and belief system forms (and their brain's functional habits) supports my conclusion.(2)
It's not precisely true that everyone's born with a blank mental state ("mental" includes personality, intellectual ability, etc.), as mothers know: moments after a child's birth they begin exhibiting the grain of their personality slate, such as being quiet or bawling like hell, being passive or assertive.
F.N.2 The scientific details are too complex for me to include, would interrupt the narrative flow. But feel free to have a neuroscientist critique this sketch, or, Wikipedia....
But no one is a "natural-born killer", with rare exception.(3)
A baby may b predisposed to being selfish, aggressive and sheisty - due to the over or underdevelopment of sub-regions in their brain that handle/create psychological functions such as empathy and impulse control, and/or due to the wiring between those regions, and/or the efficiencies of signalling in the interconnections (synapses) between those regions - yet may grow up and become an effective youth counsellor, or a CEO, or a bank robber,... or President Trump. It depends on how the child is trained, influenced by environmental factors such as parental nurturing and training education, moral education and training, peer influences, abuse, neglect, nutrition vs. malnutrition, exposure to toxins (e.g. lead poisoning).
While a child born with, say, microcephaly starts out with a slate with particularly deep and doomed grains, permitting chalk to only draw in very limited, sad ways, the average child's mental slate isn't so restricted in its development potential.
F.N.3 As with intelligence, personalities are randomly manifesting characteristics. There a few brilliant and few severely non-intelligent people: most people's intellect is average, what's known as a bell-curve. The same goes for personality: there are few profoundly "nice" people, few super assholes. If my theory is sound, and it is, then there will be a rare few Ted Bundy's, people with personalities that are such that the slightest environmental insult (a girlfriend jilting them) is enough for that person to conclude that killing off brunettes is a great idea. But even these born-bad types require some harmful experience to bring their evil out.
However, a child with an average mental potential could, due to exposure to constant hopeless, unloving, neglectful environmental factors (e.g. an orphanage ran by indifferent staff) could have such a toxic development that he becomes mentally retarded, severely emotionally disturbed, as shown by the case of Russian children incarcerated in orphanages that'd act as if they were severely organically brain damaged. (Look this up; I saw a documentary about this several years ago.)
No doubt the structures and activity within those Russian orphans' brains were physically damaged by their toxic rearing. (See "Environmental enrichment" on Wikipedia.) The brain adapts as needed, or maladapts, to suit its environment.
Genes instruct our cells how to develop, to interconnect, their individual metabolism, what proteins, enzymes, neurotransmitters to manufacture and how much, how to assemble the proteins and how to employ enzymes and neurotransmitters. All that nanoscale activity comes together to create a system that on a macroscale is known as a person. Those nanoscale activities are ultra sensitive to environmental factors.
Here's one simple example of what I'm saying. Tans. My skin cells normally produce only trace amounts of melanin, which makes my skin pale. After a couple hours in the sun, my skin cells' molecular machines will react to the sun's damaging UV rays by creating the pigment melanin, which somewhat protects my cells' DNA from damage caused by UV rays.
Our cells react to environmental factors all the time, so we can live. And it's our cells that make us. Eat a Hershey(TM) bar and you might get a sugar buzz, caffeine too, thus altering your mood/personality, until pancreatic cells react to the high levels of sugar in your blood by excreting insulin, which allows cells to grab the sugar and use it for food or store it as fat.
There are around 100 billion cells in our brains, each of which has around 10,000 connections with other neurons. There are approximately 10,000,000,000,000,000 signals passed through those connections/synapses per second. It's that constant process on a nanoscale that makes specific neurological functions (e.g. memory, fear, empathy) that, together, constitute a mind or a person.
Those who believe in spirits may disagree, but my theory of mind is the one overwhelmingly accepted by neuroscientists. The belief that an immaterial spirit makes our mind/personality is easily disproven by the facts that: drink six shots of liquor and you'll notice that your "immaterial" soul becomes wobbly; when you hurt yourself, say, stub a toe, your soul will hurt; drunkenness and pain, you'll notice, impact your decision-making too.
As suggested by the examples of drunkenness and pain, a brain is sensitive to environmental stimulus. If someone scares you or you fall in love with someone, your brain will produce its own chemicals or release them, which will alter your personality and behaviour. Drug addicts brains are physically damaged and how they function is altered due to long-term exposure to dope, chemicals; their personalities and behaviours deteriorate too.
Given the above, it shouldn't be hard to comprehend that a boy(5) is more likely to become a criminal/anti-social when he's raised in a neighbourhood that is gang-infested, has daily shootings and violence, doesn't even know his father's name, has a junkie prostitute for a mom, sees crack dealers prosper and those who work for a living victimised, etc. In such a twisted world, it makes sense to be twisted, as it's the twisted people, the most ruthless people who make it.
What's less sensible is how some boys - through fortunate interventions at critical moments by someone who cares, due to a particularly resilient and/or independent mind and/or personality, - do rise above their toxic upbringings, or that some men who had very nurturing childhoods occasionally become the worst kind of criminal. Who responds how to their rearing depends on the innate grain of their personality slate.
F.N.5 I deliberately emphasize males because they're the majority of prisoners and are most neglected by the system, because boys' typically respond to childhood abuse and neglect in less sympathizable ways than girls' typical responses to abuse and neglect. Boys tend to lash out: fight, vandalize, anti-social behaviours. Girls lash in: cut themselves, eating disorders, anti-self behaviours.
In general (...) no one can be blamed for a person's innate personality slate. But everyone is to blame for the village it takes to fill in that slate - anyone who interacted with a kid impacted his/her development.
Those with money and power can use those resources to ensure that all American children are provided with a healthy home, school, neighbourhood, village, maximizing the likelihood that children develop into pro-social persons. As discussed in Parental Incarceration, Routledge (2016), Adverse Childhood Experiences (A.C.E.s) highly correlate with children becoming drug addicts, criminals and developing mental illness, but even kids who've experienced many and severe A.C.E.s may overcome and develop into sociable adults with effective intervention/support. But caring for our children costs money, time, energy, and an easier solution seems to be to just sweep the malformed results of society's neglect under the rug of prisons....
This developmental neglect is so blatant and common in America(6), so easy to understand that those with power and/or money must be deliberately indifferent to it. The reasons for their deliberate indifference are more than mere greed. Power over people is maintained by cycling people through the P.I.C., employing some of the underclass to encage others.
America's moral imperative must change if we are to change this massive crime against humanity, more massive and longer lasting that that infamously engaged in by the Nazis. Our moral imperative must put healthy, real human relationships before quests for riches, selfish pleasures: it is often such quests for riches and selfish pleasures that lead to crimes being committed.
F.N.6 Go to jsonline.com/whathappened and see the /timetoheal series, too, for clear examples of this massive developmental neglect in Milwaukee's inner city.
Real concern for each other, and sensible tolerance for each other (not putting our hands in the mouths of wolves, but not kicking wolves in the face either, not tormenting even the most despicable, incorrigible criminals(7)).
Trump's presidency excellently reveals that most in power with excess riches have no concern about the working-class's welfare...except to the extent that those others support their power and wealth, such as masochistic rural white voters.
This is a democracy, however. If voters see through politicians' divide-and-conquer tactics (e.g. Republican's Southern strategy), the working-class majority could vote plutocrats out and vote their plute into the community chest, to be used to establish nurturing, safe communities, to defund the P.I.C. But, at present, for example, their are millions of good-intending Christians who vote for the likes of Trump and Pence due to an obsessive opposition to abortion, blinded to the death and degradation Trump/Pence will create through their other policies, such as A.G. Jeff Sessions' renewal of incarcerating as many people as possible, defunding medical research, ignoring polluters, etc.
This is a sketch of the problem and solution. Carrying the solution out will entail much detail, but first there must be desire for a solution.
F.N.7 While it feels satisfying to many to punish/torment evil doers (but, apparently, not those who create the darkness that made the evil doer in the first place), running punitive prisons breeds sadism and crime.
Prisoncrats must be sadistic to do their job. That sadism stays with staff when they leave prison, touches their families and friends, who pass it on to still others.
Prisoners learn from prisoncrats that might makes doing wrong to others right.
Even if the degree of punishment being inflicted, at first, is at a "humane" level, it must be ever increasing, or captives acclimatize to it and its sting dulls. Prisoners develop emotional callouses, which further dehabilitates them.
As evinced by the likes of Steve Harvey, Conan O'Brian and even so-called liberal Stephen Colbert joking about people being homosexually raped in prison, punitive prisons breed sadism in the public too.
Restricting wolves from biting is justifiable. Torturing them is not.
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