In their own words
The following are quotes by criminals found in the book "Bad Guys" by Mark Baker (Dell: N.Y., 1996).
"I ain't 'sick,' I don't think. I ain't got no problem recognizing wrong from right, or recognizing what adjustments I need to make in life. Most of my problem comes from a lack of discipline" (p. 15).
"Have I learned my lesson? Learning your lesson and knowing not to do it anymore are two different things" (p. 15).
"I'm high on the control and the power and the being obeyed…I was doing it for the sheer power" (p. 25).
"I really didn't want to hurt people, unless I definitely felt they deserved it" (p. 45).
"Part of me likes to take chances" (p. 59).
"Money is a weakness to me, too. It's an addiction just as bad as drugs" (p. 60).
"You hear people crying that crime don't pay, but sometimes it does" (p. 113).
"I can identify my character defects. My biggest character defect is that I'm fucking lazy" (p. 241).
"Ripping somebody off, when it's going just right, it's like a high in itself" (p. 242).
"Every once in a while. I'd go home and stay with Mom, or I'd get straight for a while, and I always did okay in a job. It's just that I would get bored. I wouldn't be getting what I wanted fast enough" (p. 255).
"I kept thinking that I could keep doing the crime and getting away with it, that I would never get old. Now I find myself thirty years old, and I don't have shit. I'm in prison for the umpteenth time…And I don't have shit to show for it, not shit…everything I have to show for it is negative…They have that saying, 'If you keep doing what you been doing, you're going to keep getting what you been getting'" (pp. 262-3).
Bad guys don't seem to understand Murphy's Law: "If something can go wrong, it will go wrong." If they did, they might consider another way of living because something always tends to go wrong. The most common complaint you hear from prisoners is that they are doing time on a bum rap. But, if they get honest with you, they usually will admit that they did a lot of other things for which they didn't get caught. The odds just caught up with them.
They are often bright guys out of control. So, they make costly mistakes. They often have a need for action, for money so that they can buy action, it's a way of life. They often look down on the life of straight people even though their own lives are an utter mess. They tend to have their own brand of logic, morality, ethics. They rarely admit to or even see the damage they do others, even if they don't blame others, they still don't think life has been fair to them.
It has a lot to do with DELAYED GRATIFICATION…..a skill they have not developed, and FLOW….a skill or desire for excitement that they have developed in a socially unacceptable and addictive manner.
In our schools we should be stressing delayed gratification skill development while at the same time teaching every student how to get into a state of flow.