Re: Article: Violence by Ross Robertson
When I was young, my siblings and I fought constantly. Inevitably, my parents would catch us and ask the prodding question, "what started the fight?" A special toy, remote control domination, taunting, something was always the cause of the fight. As I grew older, I realized my parents asked that question to gather data about the situation that immediatley preceeded our fights and predict when a fight would break out in the future.
Predicting violence could be compared to any other predicition, it relies on an empirical "database" of factors that statistically influence the outcome of a prediction. I like the outline of causal agents of violence presented in the article. In response ot comments, I would argue that conditional factors like gender, race, socio-economic status, mental condition, childhood abuse may increase the probability of violence, but inherently are not causal agents. For example, as a male I am more likely to commit a violence but I still require a causal agent to trigger the violence, such as football.
In critique of the article, causal agents are often hard to identify based on prima facia evidence. When a stranger approaches me, my sub-conscious gathers all kinds of data to create a bank of referential information about the stranger; gender, height, weight, race, posture, build, disability, and so on. As the stranger approaches, my bank of information is cross-referenced against my memory to create a "profile" of the stranger that ultimately tells me, "this stranger is not a threat," or "this stranger is a threat." Much if this data is not historical and therefore important information such as a history of child abuse, previous criminal record or mental disability are not available. You may be interested in explaining how causal factors are manifest outwardly. For example, someone with a history of child abuse may avoid eye contact or abuse animals (WARNING this is a sample statement and NOT based on factual data).
Overall, I enjoed the article. Thank you,
Last edited by jonreading : 06-21-2006 at 12:16 PM.