Crime in an American Family

The Bogle family history rivals that of the Jessie James clan. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and other relatives of Dale Vincent "Rooster" Bogle perpetrated practically every crime possible from rape and murder to grand theft auto and petty drug-related theft. Rooster's teaching turned his own children into poster kids for criminality by the time they reached double-digits in age. He taught his children how to rob liquor stores and steal trucks. His daughter was pregnant by age fifteen and all the children routinely abused alcohol and hard drugs like cocaine and heroine. Rooster informed his family they were descended from Gypsies and, so, would make their living as criminals.

It is case histories like the Bogles that make many argue that crime is a learned behavior, the product of ecological and family influence. Such a social theory of criminality argues that children learn the values of family members. When those values affirm crime versus following the law, children become criminals. Others argue that individuals are of free will and rational in the choices they make. Choice theory argues that individuals choose the choices that best fulfill their needs. When those choices are predicated on an external locus of control, individuals resort to crime over law and order. This analysis will study the Bogle case in order to assess both the social learning theory and the choice theory of criminal behavior.



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