Agnew’s General Strain Theory
Later, Lane surrendered to the police. Lane was described as a troubled boy who lived with his grandfather after his father was sent to prison for domestic violence. He attended an alternative school nearby for students who did not do well in school. Geauga County prosecutor, David Joyce, says, “This was the effect of one lone gunman. He chose his victims at random. This is not about bullying. This is not about drugs. This is about someone who is not well. ” (Chagrin Valley Times, 2012) Lane later admitted that his targets were picked at random.
He was charged with three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted murder, and one count f felonious assault. Joyce decided to try Lane as an adult, and transferred his proceedings to an adult court, approved by the Judge, Timothy Grendell. The article states that the motive is still unknown, but I think Lane’s actions were a been said to be strangers to Lane.
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Also, the victims were from a different high school than the one Lane attends, which makes this situation strange; one that cannot be generalized as ‘Just another typical school shooting”.
T. J. Lane has a father who has been arrested for domestic violence, and there is no information that has been revealed to the public regarding his mother. This shows that Lane has a very unstable and troubled family. These are Just a few things that shine light into the dark and unstable home he grew up in, with one parent who had a criminal history. As mentioned in Agnew’s General Strain Theory, there are three major types of strain. The first type of strain is the failure to achieve positively valued goals.
This is a positively valued goal regarding to status and respect. This is an especially important factor in regards to masculine status. This type of status differs culturally, but in order for an individual to prove their masculinity, they may resort to crime to chieve that status (Agnew, 1992, pl, as cited in O’Grady, 2007). The loss of positive stimuli could manifest itself in the form of a death or a broken relationship with a friend or romantic partner, or it could be a result of the loss of a valued object.
According to Agnew, the strain that is felt by the individual die to the loss could lead the individual to delinquency as the individual attempts to prevent its loss, retrieve what was lost, or seek revenge on those who removed the positive stimuli (Agnew, 1992, pl, as cited in O’Grady, 2007). Lastly, the third type of strain is the presentation of negative stimuli. Some examples of negative stimuli that an adolescent might face are child abuse, neglect, adverse relations with parents and teachers, negative school experiences, adverse relations with peers, neighborhood problems, and homelessness.
The basic idea is that these stressful experiences are anger producing and that anger and frustration may lead to crime and aggression (Agnew, 1992, pl, as cited in O’Grady, 2007). The “failure to achieve positively valued stimuli” fits the facts, because Agnew describes this strain resulting from an individual’s failure to achieve goals from which members of the society strive. In most cases, the cause is money, but in this situation, we have no indication that Lane is struggling with money. “The source of strain due to goal blockage is the disjunction between expectations and actual achievements.
This disjunction rests on the outcome of an individual’s behavior. Strain is increased when the actual achievements of an individual are less than that which the individual had expected” (Carson, 2007, pl). Sources say that Lane was not a good student and is attending an alternative school. It is possible that Lane felt like he could not achieve simple goals like attending a normal school nd earning good grades. Lane was exposed to “negative stimuli” relating to his upbringing and issues with his father. Given the information we have about Lane’s father (i. e. his criminal background), it is easy to assume T.
J. was not nurtured or given the love and attention he craved during his childhood. Being brought up in an abusive household can cause anger, which is the key emotion in Agnew’s theory. (Agnew, 1992, pl, as cited in O’Grady, 2007) Some examples of negative stimuli that an adolescent might face: child abuse, neglect, adverse relations with parents and eachers, negative school experiences, adverse relations with peers, neighborhood problems, and homelessness. Lane suffers from a great deal of anger that has been held in for a long period of time that now results in a tragedy.
Agnew describes to Justify crime and motivates the individual to act. Coping skills are crucial for any human being. There comes a time in life when something does not go as planned and we are expected to deal with these issues. Lane may have had many stressors in his life, and was not able to Juggle them all at once. This can become an issue that may bring one toa breaking point. O’Grady explains how cognitive coping strategies enable the individual to rationalize the stressors in a different way. These behaviors can counter the different types of strain that have been previously mentioned.
Individuals may actively seek out positive stimuli or try to escape negative stimuli. In addition, individuals may actively seek out revenge in a non delinquent manner. (Agnew, 1992, pl, as cited in O’Grady, 2007) Wen-Hsu Lin (2012), explains how depression has become an epidemic around the world. Many previous studies that test the General Strain Theory focus only on anger. This makes depression a crucial element in testing General Strain Theory. The present study uses longitudinal and a latent growth model to investigate strain, depression, and delinquent acts among adolescents (12-15 years old).
According to Lin, the results generally support General Strain Theory propositions: both strain and depression increase delinquency, and depression mediate the strain-delinquency relationship. Justin W. Patchin and Sameer HinduJa, authors of Youth & Society, announce how big of an issue school bullying has become in todays society. Technology such as cell phones and omputers are branching out to become a more powerful form of bullying: cyber bullying. Adolescents are texting, emailing, and using social networks in order to harass their peers. By constructing a quantitative survey, results suggest that those who experience strain are more likely to participate in both traditional and nontraditional forms of bullying. This body of research also indicates that bullies are more likely to engage in antisocial and criminal behaviors in their adolescence and adulthood” (Patchin & HinduJa, 2011). This article proves that General Strain Theory is generalizable, because it explains adolescents and bullying. Also, this article shows empirical support, because studies related bullying to criminal behaviors. Byongook Moon, Hye-Won Hwang, and John D.
McCluskey studied the role of depression and gender in the victimization-delinquency relationship. Findings indicate that victimization has a positive effect on both delinquency and depression and is consistent with General Strain Theory explanation. The connection between victimization and delinquency is most pronounced for males with trait depression. With this being said, Lane being a male with depression, General Strain Theory once again fits the facts. According to Moon, Hwang, and McCluskey, delinquency is more common with males with depression rather than females; this makes the theory broad in scope.
Wen-Hsu Lin, John K. Cochran, and Thomas Mieczkowskiћ say that youths are increasingly exposed to high rates of various types of violence in their surrounding communities as well as in their homes, playgrounds, and at school. Violence can affect Juveniles in many ways. Using General Strain Theory, They examine adolescents in high school and their weapon related experience and violence at school or home. The results from logistic regression suggest that xposure to violence as a negative stimulus for Juveniles. Lane’s father was a very violent husband and father.
Sources from Chagrin Valley Times (2012) said that not as well. He grew up having his only role model, being a very violent man, and was eventually sent to Jail. Growing up with all of the violence significantly affected Lane. T. J. never learned how to cope with anger and aggression in an appropriate way, instead he was a witness and victim of domestic violence, due to his father’s inability to deal with his anger appropriately. This article proves that General Strain Theory is ot tautological, because violent parents can cause violent children, but violent children do not cause violent parents.
In conclusion, I believe that AgneWs General Strain Theory, in Lane’s case, fits the facts. The family problems including his father’s violent tendencies, attending an alternative school, lack of coping skills, and the built up anger and depression, is Just the beginning of T. J. ‘s problems. T. J. Lane struggles from many different strains in his life; one in particular is Agnew’s key strain, anger. Anger is usually the emotion most present in this theory and clearly links to Lane as ell. These strains could help explain the reasoning behind the violent crime that occurred at Chardon High School.