This headline caught our attention: “Teen charged with murder and vehicular manslaughter in death of 66-year-old Oakland woman”. On December 31st, a 17 year old stole a car and was chased by police. During the chase he lost control of the car and slammed into anther, killing a woman and injuring the other individuals in the car. This is a classic case of a robbery gone wrong. This kid, about to turn 18, will now face murder and vehicular manslaughter charges instead of theft charges. In a matter of seconds he went from car thief to murderer. Here at the Brod Law Firm, stories like this leave us wondering why individuals choose crime. We think peer pressure is a critical factor in the life of a teenager who turns to crime. Some teenagers feel lost and join gangs or cave into peer pressure in order to acquire sense of self and belonging. And adult criminals may claim that that hard economic times or difficult childhood forced them into a life of crime.
Hard economic times affect us all, and very few people have had perfect childhoods. However, some people respond to economic pressure by adapting to living with less and hard work. Others respond to adversity by striving to achieve more than what has been shown to them. With that said, sociological explanations for crime are often inadequate when trying to understand all the reasons why a person turns to crime. If such explanations were correct, then we are all potential criminals. Ultimately, it comes down to how each person chooses to deal with adversity, rather than just environmental factors. It is unjustified to assume that a person living in disadvantaged socioeconomic circumstances has no other choice than to become live a life of crime. Usually, what lies in a criminal’s psychology is a mystery, a mystery that sometimes not even the most talented sociologist or psychiatrist can decipher or deconstruct. Not all children who grow up in difficult circumstances turn to crime and not all children from families that are stable and loving are law abiding. Here at the Brod Law Firm the personal injury story serves as an analogy to all of this, as our office is like a microcosm of society. We have heard and taken on enough heart- wrenching and tragic cases to feel assured that the individual who has been injured by the negligence of another, despite any compensation they receive, is responsible for how they cope with tragedy and choosing whether or not they move forward with a positive attitude. More often than not, we are inspired by the courage and positive attitudes our clients display during, what is for most, the most difficult time in their lives.