There is an observed correlation between IQ and delinquency. It's
statictically significant, but it's small compared to the correlation between
delinquency and low performance in school.
The implication being that the direct relationship is between school performance
and delinquency -- being stupid is just one of the paths to getting there, it's
not nessarily the main path or the most important one.
Criminals don't fit, they don't follow the same rules, they don't feel like they
belong to society. Sometimes that's because they're stupid. Sometimes that's
because they just don't think the ordinary rules apply to them. Often it's not
that they're not smart, it's that they aren't as smart as they think they are.
Alchohol is often a contributing factor and can make really smart people appear
to be really, really stupid.
It is, however, a central part of law enforcement folklore that the bad guys are
stupid. Cops tell stories about stupid bad guys all the time, they even write
books of vignettes of stupid bad guys. They are a staple of News of the Weird.
We like stories about stupid bad guys. It makes us all feel just that much
smarter (and a lot of cops have a need for that).
As an indication of how smart those attracted to law enforcement careers are --
it used to be that the lowest GRE scores for potential grad students who
declared majors was for education majors. That's changed over the last 15 years
or so -- it's now criminal justice majors. On any college campus you can find
the stupidist students in the criminal justice classes.
I taught economics for Lee College one semester to inmates of the Ellis II unit
in the Texas prison system. It was a maximum security prison that at the time
housed death row. My students where doing long sentences for stuff like armed
robbery, aggravated rape, murder, aggravated assualt, and other such stuff. As
a group fairly bad ass guys. Some of the best students I've ever taught were
in that class.
Post by William Brandon
I stand corrected on my previous statement regarding your law
enforcement/criminal justice background. I am sure my friend is going
off his experiences as a DA. He dealt with a lot of drug users and
domestic violence cases (usually alcohol related) which surely clouds
ones judgement which could lead to the criminal activity. Given the
high volume of crime in Stockton, he probably saw cases that were
easiest to prosecute. He went to UCSF (which I consider good) so I am
not sure that is an issue. That said, I believe what we are exposed to
in life leads use to most of the conconclusions we make, rightly or
As for the tattoo issue, I cannot think of anything I would want
permanently on my body but that is my choice. In the end, a tattoo on
someone elses body affects me so little I cannot imagine caring one way
or the other.
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