John’s Deviance Story
Deviance among members of the society results from different sources. In most instances, some events occur in the life of an individual, and their cumulative effects lead to deviance. Usually, one occurrence causes the other, leading to the formation of a causal chain of event. This paper demonstrates this causal relationship using my friend’s experiences and their consequences.
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My friend John was a good boy before his 14th birthday. He always took his studies seriously and obeyed his parents unconditionally. He went to church every Sunday and attended school every day. Every evening, we would meet in a field nearby for a football match. He was a very good boy, at least by the standards of our neighbourhood. He never participated in the escapades of the notorious Ninjas, a group of delinquent boys in our neighbourhood.
One day, we organised a football match between our team and the Ninjas. We never wanted to discriminate them because of their delinquency. Therefore, playing a match against them was never an issue. On the day of the match, we all took the shortest time possible from school and arrived home by 4.30 in the evening. We hurriedly changed our clothes and went to the football pitch. The Ninjas had already arrived by the time we got there.
The match was very lively, though we lost. As usual, John was our best player. He scored two of the three goals we scored. After the match, the Ninjas invited him to play for them in their weekend friendly match. He wanted to turn down the offer, may be because he knew that the Ninjas was a group of mischievous boys, but we advised him to play for them.
John’s behaviour began changing from the day he played for the Ninjas. He began smoking cigarettes secretly. Some weeks later, my friend Jane told me he was smoking marijuana. Worse still, he skipped school for one week without his parents’ knowledge. I had a conviction that he used to hide somewhere with the Ninjas. I decided to inform his parents because he was a very close friend of mine, and I did not want to see him become a drug addict. His parents reported the matter to the police, who did not waste time. They immediately began searching for him. After searching for four hours, they found him smoking marijuana in an old building two kilometres away from their home.
In John’s story, his life changed slowly. The first event that led to his new behaviour was the football match we played against the Ninjas. The Ninjas asked him to play for them after that match because of his good football skills. Consequently, the Ninjas influenced him to start smoking cigarettes. When he realised that the smoking cigarettes was “good”, he began smoking marijuana. In the long-run, he began using heroin. Therefore, his perception of illicit drugs changed with time, and what used to be wrong to him was no longer wrong.
The other thing to note about his transformation is the change of all his habits. Apart from the drugs, he took up all the habits of the Ninjas slowly by slowly. When he realised that cigarettes, marijuana and heroin were not bad, he adopted all the habits of the Ninjas. He even stopped going to school and began sitting in an old building for the whole day. In this causal relationship, the football match led to an invitation to play for the Ninjas, which eventually led to smoking cigarettes and later marijuana. He then graduated to heroin before taking up all the other bad habits.
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According to the Symbolic Interactions Theory, individuals take up deviant habits when they realise the habits are not as bad as people claim. Usually, they learn vicariously that such habits are beneficial. In john’s case, he realised that the habits were not bad after interacting with the Ninjas and seeing the “benefits” they got from their behaviours.