In Gladwell’s essay, the crucial element that illustrates that human behavior is contagious is the Broken Windows theory. The Broken Windows Theory is the idea that crime is the result of disorder and when disorder is present, breaking the law becomes contagious and creates an environment wherein violent crimes will transpire (152). In the 1980’s, New York City was rampant with high crime rates. So, to combat this, the New York City Subway system applied the ideas of Broken Windows to good use. People who were committing minor crimes like jumping the turnstile, or graffitiing the trains were scrutinized by being arrested, imprisoned, and fined (154). Since farebeaters and vandalism were now being taken seriously, crime rates across the board drastically dropped (152). Critics may argue that this was due to other components in the country, such as the decline in the trade of crack cocaine, or the decline of people in the specific age range of individuals who commit the majority of crimes, or the improvements in the economy. However, New York City was a different case than the rest of the country at the time since it’s economy didn 't improve, its declin...
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...with (160). So, the idea behind Bernie Goetz is not that the attack was inevitable. It’s the idea that, Bernie Goetz and individuals like him seek environments where violence and problems are common because Bernie Goetz and others similar to him believe themselves to be their true selfs in those environments. Bernie Goetz was a man who 's whole life revolved around troubled environments and so he continued to pursue those environments. His biographer Lillian Rubin said, “there seems to be something seductive about the setting…it provided him with a comprehensible target for the rage that lives inside him” (156). Bernie could have been a completely different person that day by going into an alternative environment because Bernie could behave in various ways but the truth is, the way he behaves is not up to him but rather the environment that he is engrossed in.
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