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John Edward Pough

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There exists a controversy as whether criminal behavior is a function of either biological/genetic or environmental factors. Criminal behavior is a predisposition of certain elements that an individual has encountered during his/her lifetime. The elements are: if individuals have been tortured, violated, threatened or have observed other individuals in that situation and have been encouraged or taught to commit violence and hence proceeded to do so. In addition, individuals can maneuver respect from others by committing the violent act or showing rage; and finally, that a combination of intense feeling, for instance, rage renders the individual to be more vulnerable, and hence commit criminal acts as a way of reducing frustration, self-preservation, and to lower personal fears. As such, individuals are likely to be engaged in violent/criminal behavior that arises from psychological/societal factors other than simply biological. Ideally and as most research puts it, juvenile criminal behavior is linked closely to social fundamentals rather than biological ones. The social elements are socioeconomic status, family structure, the community, in which an individual resides, and school involvement.

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An individual background that forms the environment, which an individual, wasbrought up in is also partially linked to criminal behavior. As a result, crimes are not only caused by poverty, neglect, abuse or race, but they are a product of past stigmatization.

James Edward Pough

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James was born in Jacksonville, Florida on February 16, 1948 as the firstborn in a family of nine siblings. He was brought up near Florida Community College, and as a child, he suffered from asthma. During this time, he developed a close relationship with his mother since she was taking care of him. His family has broken up when he was 10 years of age. He went to a vocational school but left during his sophomore year. After that, at the age of 18 years he started working as a common laborer until his death.

When Pough was at school, he had close relationships with gangs. In the year 1965, he was arrested for vagrancy twice, and in 1966 was again arrested twice. One time for attempted murder and second for murder assault, and again, he was arrested in 1968 for displaying a knife dangerously. Moreover, he was then arrested in 1970, and though not charged with two counts; vagrancy prowling by auto and motor vehicle theft. On May 8, 1971, after engaging in a quarrel with his friend David Lee Pender, when he referred to hhis fiancée as ‘a bitch’, Pough grabbed a gun from his fiancée purse and shot his best friend three times. Pender eventually succumbed to the bullet shots in the hospital later. Following the incident, he was initially charged with murder, but later it was changed to manslaughter.

Moreover, in December 1988, Pough traded in his car for another car (1988 Pontiac Grand Am). Later on he had difficulties in repaying the required amount. This led to the repossession of the car by GMAC in January 1990, before he later purchased a M1 carbine two months before the shootings.

The death of Pough’s mother changed him for the worse. He even stated that he will take someone when he passes on. He frequently uttered violent outbursts to his wife and even threatened her by pointing a gun at her head. The two separated in the year 1990, and Pough was issued with an injunction, which limited their interactions.

In conclusion, the behavior of Pough is determined by nature, and at the same time shaped by the environment. The happenings that surround the life of Pough added more to the change in his behavior. The external factors such as family breakup, divorce, death and relationships shaped his criminal behavior.

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