The Video Of The Stick Up Kid Essay

The Video Of The Stick Up Kid Essay

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The Frontline video of “The Stick Up Kid,” is a good example of the effects that can occur in terms of both manifest and latent functions. The video is about the story of Alonza Thomas Jr, who was one of the first people in California to be tried as an adult for his crimes, despite him being a minor. Proposition 21, which made it easier to charge minors as adults for specific violent crimes, had been passed in California months before Alonza committed his crime. Alonza attempted to rob a convenience mart when he was only 15 years of age, and even though his attempt was foiled by the shop owner, who kept him at the store at gunpoint until the police arrived to the scene. After his trial, Alonza was sentenced to 13 years in state prison, an adult penitentiary to boot, despite him not even being old enough to legally drive a car, and even though Alonza has no other priors on his record (Stickup Kid 2014). The outcomes of this trial are what is truly the embodiment of the latent and manifest functions in a society, and what comes next is in my opinion disturbing.
To better understand Alonza’s story in the terms of latent and manifest functions, we need to get a better grasp on exactly what those two concepts mean. A function is really just the actions that people do. Manifest functions are the intended consequences of those the actions that are being carried out, while the latent functions are the unintended and unpredicted consequences that follow the function, that are unintended results. There is a quote by W.G. Sumner “From the first acts by which men try to satisfy needs, each act stands by itself, and looks no further than the immediate satisfaction. From recurrent needs arise habits for the individual and customs for the gr...

... middle of paper ... you would have to believe that the State of California is paying for them which is a burden on the day to day tax payer.
Overall you can see that even though an action itself does not have to have negative effects writing into its undertaking for something negative to come to fruition. The negative effects that Alonza suffered from being in the court of law during the time in which youths were easier sentenced as adults is something that will follow him for the rest of his life. Latent functions of actions are hard to see and hard to predict in society, “They are not noticed until they have long existed, and it is still longer before they are appreciated (Merton 1968).” It’s hard to see the unintended consequences that will come from an action, but it seems to be something that society needs to spend extra time thinking about before life altering moves are made.

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