Theories on criminology and terrorism

Studying theories involved in the fields of both Criminology and Terrorism gives people a proper understanding of the behaviors of criminals and terrorists, and why they would commit dreadful acts against society and its members. There are actually a myriad of theories and studies within the fields of Criminology and Terrorism that were devised in order to better understand criminal and terrorist activities and create preventive measures to combat their existence. The two schools of criminology that will be discussed are the Classical School and Positivist School.

In order for people to understand terrorism, it is important to differentiate it from Bioterrorism, which also entails the same principle but differs in the types of weaponry used. Classical and Positivist Schools of Criminology The Classical School of Criminology was created during the time when European states were experiencing modernization; although torture was still widespread. A great desire to change the brute justice system emerged, as critical thinkers and theorists like Cesare Beccaria believed that understanding “human nature” could create better ways of controlling it, and in turn, it could control criminal activity (Greek, 2005).

However, Beccaria's theory, which entails the context of Free Will, merely rationalized the use of punishments against offenders. He believed that the gravity of the punishment depends on the gravity of the offense — even considering the level of intention (Greek, 2005). The Positivist School of Criminology opposes Beccaria's proposition in relation to free will and choice by the offender, but accepts the possibility of explaining and understanding criminal behavior through human nature (Crimetheory. com, 1999).

Basically, positivists note that crime does not entirely depend upon human nature — that is common to all peoples. Rather, the environment that surrounds the offender could also contribute greatly to his or her behavior. In other words, their physical and mental shortcomings or defects — the failure to “evolve” — may have forced offenders to commit criminal acts against society (Greek, 2005). Terrorism and Bioterrorism Terrorism is a broad word which many peoples have been familiarized with ever since the world has entered the information age — news travels faster nowadays.

However, the method of terrorism was already utilized in the past, especially during organized warfare. At present, it pertains to the unprecedented destruction brought upon a civilian populace, causing harm and fear in order to achieve selfish political, religious, or ideological goals (Grey & Spaeth, 2006). Whether it may be done by an individual, by a faction, or even by a state, it still entails the desire to make a statement by destroying society. Recently, most terrorist acts were of political and ideological reasons, rather than religious ones.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a good example of how a state and a faction could commit acts of terrorism and defend them as if they were out of righteousness. Another example is the Taliban extremist presence in Northern Pakistan, wherein they terrorize Pakistani settlements — villages, towns, and cities. On the other hand, Bioterrorism may be deadlier than its predecessor, although not as destructive. Basically, this method involves the usage of chemical agents — bacterial, toxins, and viruses — in order to create immense casualties on a civilian or military population.

Such weaponries can cause severe casualties, just as much as their predecessor: “Biological, chemical, and radiological agents are viewed as weapons of mass casualty because they may result in widespread disease, debility, or death” (Grey & Spaeth, 2006, p. 5). These biological weapons were used against civilian populations by either the state or by various organizations. One example of a state using such weaponry against people is when Iraq used chemical agents to eliminate the Kurdish people on Northern Iraq.

One incident wherein biological weapons were used by an organization was the 1994 and 1995 sarin gas attack in Matsumoto and Tokyo by the Aum Shinrikyo (Grey & Spaeth, 2006). Conclusion Throughout history, numerous methods of punishment and destruction were utilized by states and later on, by organizations. The modernization of society created a desire to reform the justice system, in turn allowing the punishments to be somewhat rationalized, somehow forming the foundations of today's justice system. Terrorism and bioterrorism has been used in warfare.

However nowadays, it has become a constant pang in society, as many organizations seek to uphold their selfish ideologies and beliefs by destroying the lives of civilians. References Crimetheory. com (1998, September 19). The Positivist School. Retrieved June 28, 2009, from http://www. crimetheory. com/Theories/Positivist. htm. Greek, C. (2005, November 22). The Classical School. Criminological Theory, Florida State University. Retrieved June 28, 2009, from http://www. criminology. fsu. edu/crimtheory/week3. htm. Grey, M. & Spaeth, K. (2006). The Bioterrorism Sourcebook. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Professional.