Power of Context on Bernie Goetz

Topics: Stanford prison experiment, New York City, The Tipping Point Pages: 3 (1140 words) Published: November 8, 2008
Power of context
In the 1980s, the City of New York was a City polluted with waste and graffiti, where people would always get away with committing a crime. In Malcolm Gladwell’s essay “The Power of Context: Bernie Goetz and the Rise and Fall of New York City Crime” gives us a probable explanation of how a change like this can happen. The essay is an environmental argument, with varying kinds of a seemingly endless amount of verification, which suggests that crimes can be prohibited depending on what the environment is like. Malcolm Gladwell, provides evidence throughout his entire essay that explains The Power of Context. The Power of Context indicates that the situation people are in has an effect on how they act wherever they are at. For example many people believe that if children are raised in a bad neighborhood where there is gang bangers, drug dealers, crimes happening every day, and people doing bad things, then in the future that person will become a criminal/ bad person. Gladwell shows several experiments like the broken windows theory, the zimbardo experiment and more to support his argument. Gladwells present a story of a man named Bernie Goetz, who was involved in a murder incident with four other black males. Goetz was a man that had a cruel and violent past, and for that reason the shooting in the subway could of trigger the tipping point. Not only did Goetz have a cruel past but the four other black males did as well. Gladwell argues that it was not only Goetz cruel background that triggered the tipping point, but the environment were the shooting took place could of triggered the tipping point as well. The train were the shooting took place was filthy “surrounded on all sides by dark, damp, graffiti-covered walls, the train was slow and had no air conditioner” (288). This evidence proves that by placing someone in a dirty and nasty environment can cause them to act in a different way. Gladwell shows several experiments in his essay; his main...
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