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Why are criminals considered tough?

  1. Aug 29, 2007 #1
    Why are criminals considered "tough?"

    In some parts of society I've noticed that criminals are valued as "tough human beings." Or if someone can pull a trigger or fight someone else then that's considered "tough." You'll hear someone say "don't start anything with that guy, he's tough." All because he carries around a weapon and does not hesitate to use it. Or if he has the stupidity to mug people etc. etc. You get the point. So why do some people value criminals as being "tough human beings?" I know this is kind of a semantics argument, but it just annoys me to no end when people define these pieces of scum as "tough." My defintion of "tough" for arguments sake is someone who has willful hope when their situation is truly hopeless. To make this more clear, think of a person who survives a certain form of cancer, or someone who still lives a functional life despite being permanently maimed. But anyways, discuss and give me your thoughts. Maybe this is just another misconception of mine, but I have experienced this before so it can't be completely inaccurate.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2007 #2


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    Well, it was a purely academic discussion up until you used the word "scum". This says more about your personal opinion than anything objective about tough criminals.

    Nonetheless, your definition of tough is perfectly valid, it's just that you're describing toughness of the spirit rather than toughness of the flesh. In either case, the person has an unusual ability to withstand pain and insult.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2007
  4. Aug 29, 2007 #3
    "boy, that's tough steak"

    ----another def: something you really don't want to deal with but may have to
  5. Aug 29, 2007 #4
    I realized this the second you pointed it out and I apologize for reflecting any bias in my original post. I know I'm seperating the two different spectrums of toughness and my definition would fall under mental toughness, but I was speaking of toughness overall. I don't think using a weapon as a form of conflict solution is necessairly physical toughness. Because anyone who holds a weapon has a distinct advantage no matter what the physical size differential may be. Toughness, in my opinion, doesn't need advantages to begin with because it can withstand anything no matter what. Sure, using a weapon on someone provides instant gratification for the desired effect one is looking for, but it doesn't define them as "tough."
  6. Aug 30, 2007 #5
    That definition I would agree with also. A perseverer should be defined as "tough."
  7. Aug 30, 2007 #6


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    The association between criminals and toughness comes from the philosophy behind it. You don't have the police to run to, you take care of your own security, you're confrontational, and most criminals have "fight" as a reaction to adrenaline (instead of "flight"). You have to make your own way and have a tough attitude so that other criminals don't screw you over.

    This, of course, depends on how you define criminal too. Some pretty peaceful and cowardly people have become criminals for growing pot or sneaky thievery (as opposed to blatant mugging). I wouldn't consider these people tough.
  8. Aug 30, 2007 #7
    I live in a pretty rough neighborhood. Here the police are viewed as criminals more interested in their personal gain than in protecting and serving the public. To some extent I have to agree. Although I'm about as pacifistic and law abiding a guy as you'll ever meet, I've been harassed and threatened by the police repeatedly.
  9. Aug 30, 2007 #8


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    No. It is not using the weapon that makes one tough, it is the comfort with which one wields it.

    There's a host of toughness skills one must have experience with - such as lots of fights, guts in the face of real personal injury, ability to withstand pain, etc. etc. - that lead one to be tough. You don't brandish a weapon unless you're confident you can stand up to a weapon being brandished against you.

    When I get into an argument with some punk in a parking lot who has a bone to pick, I shake like a leaf afterwards. I am not used to this kind of situation. I am not tough.
  10. Aug 30, 2007 #9
    'tough' criminals are ones that aren't going to change quickly

    another one:

    'She's going to be a tough nut to crack'
  11. Aug 30, 2007 #10
    Look my grammar,and spelling is poor,so don't wait waste your time bashing me for something I'm aware of.Anyways I'm guessing you haven't grown up around a hostile environment.Specially when you have the time to type out a post about criminals not being "Tough".If you haven't grown up around criminals, or any hostile environment.Then what gives you the idea that you have any right to talk bad about criminals? No offense then shut up.

    You call them scum? How are you any better seriously?.Just because your mommy,and daddy put a roof over your head.Gave you more than what you needed.You going through a better school system doesn't make you any better than a criminal.You know some are forced to be criminals for what life situation they live in.

    The simple fact is everybody in this world wants to feel important,that they are somebody.You think a person in a ghetto,working at McDonald's is going to pay off his family's debt? or what about depression? you think doing good deeds,working hard is gonna get that person anywhere? That is why people are so easily influenced by drugs,violence,and even murder.

    Do you know why criminals are considered "Tough" because really they have nothing to lose,they have more of a will to something that others are willing to not.They can look straight into a gun barrel,knowing that death is near.They don't give a damn,because really what is their life worth?

    Oh wait I forgot their life is worth scum..,and yet you say criminals are not tough.I highly doubt that you cannot even look straight into a gun barrel,without thinking how highly important your life is,and everything your going to leave behind.

    Last thing,I'm not saying breaking the law is a good thing,but if it weren't for criminals always breaking the laws.The way we govern our society would be very sh!tty.Seriously, you call criminals scum, well I bet the English was calling our founding fathers criminals,scums,traitors.If it wasn't for our founding fathers breaking the law's,well America wouldn't exist would it?
  12. Aug 30, 2007 #11
    Criminals haven't grown up around a tranquil environment so what gives them the nuts to talk trash about academics or anything with intellectual worth? No offense to them they should shut up. So what's your point?

    Actually no, I never got an allowance. I was never spoonfed money. Sure, my parents did an adequate job, but I'm not exactly driving around with a BMW that they paid off all together. I pay the bills I have to pay, and if I don't then I'm **** out of luck. Also, what makes a criminal better than me? How god damn conceited. Wow, anyone who is truly hopeless could stand up to death. Ever heard of people with real depression being suicidal? Wow, good job, you can stand up to death. Death is a whore. I'm real impressed. So by this logic, people who actually give a damn about life and find meaning in it are just a bunch of female reproductive parts. Nice logic.

    I'm not talking about the person who works his ass off to just barely survive. I'm talking about the cheap ass people who have it ****ty yet want to vulture on someone elses money by mugging him. You know just because they have money doesn't mean their moms and dads gave it all to them. Again, this seems like an irrelevant paragraph.

    Death is a whore. We get it. Good job, not afraid of death. Must of lived an eventful life. Add more inflation to their egos. Anyone who values life are a bunch of female reproductive parts. Go away.

    I'm an atheist, but I do value life more than others so maybe for a second I'd be like "oh ****, won't be able to enjoy existence anymore," but you know what? It ends regardless, so if I'm in a truly hopeless situation where they say "let me rape you or I'll kill you" I'll stab myself if they take forever to do it. I'd rather make it quick then be psychologically scarred for life. Hey, what do you know? Because of that I'm not tough. Never claimed I was either. But I probably bet you assumed that I said I was because I didn't inflate the egos of these big bad criminals who aren't afraid of death. Great. I'm not scared of heights by the way. Oh wait, that's not relevant. Next paragraph.

    This paragraph is so irrelevant and inane that it's not worth replying to.
  13. Aug 30, 2007 #12
    I wouldn't muddle self-sufficiency with being a criminal. Because there are plenty of people who solve their problems without the assistance of the police, who can take care of their own security etc. and aren't even close to being criminals. But I do understand your point. I just thought I should make note of this.
  14. Aug 30, 2007 #13
    I understand, however it still gives the person a distinct advantage.

    Yeah, I hear you. I get shaky with anger after reading the stupidity of Waffle's post. It's such a cop out for people to not value anything life offers and to not be afraid of death. This doesn't make them tough. This makes them a loser.
  15. Aug 30, 2007 #14


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    Correct. No, it doesn't.

    Abiding by our common societal agreements such as "what's mine is mine and what's not mine is not mine" and "treat others how you want to be treated" is what makes him better than a criminal. And that has nothing to do with what school he went to or what his parents gave them.


  16. Aug 30, 2007 #15
    Thank you. I figured a discussion such as this would rehash the old "you have it better than them so how dare you speak?!" It's such irrelevance. It's really annoying.
  17. Aug 31, 2007 #16
    How is that irrelevant Lightbulb?

    Dave, I didn't expect that from you either.
    It's that elitist attitude that makes everything worse.
    Once we realize that no matter how we act or think, we are all the same, the world will be a better place.
    And he made some very valid points and you call him a troll, that's preposterous.

    I'll lay it out for you.
    You can't really judge a person until you've walked a day in his shoes.
    It's that simple. Any judgment you make before doing this will be out of your own perception and values, of which are usually not the same as the one you are judging, hence the nuances and "points" are lost.

    Furthermore the world isn't black and white, treat others like you want to be treated is great and all, but the real world doesn't really work like that.
    You may think you have the moral high ground and intellectual attitude on how real intelligence in a human manifests, but once again you lack the nuances of why people end up cursing, beating and killing in the first place.

    Now I agree with you, and your attitude, but when you alienate the people who you disagree with or find lesser, you automatically make the world a much worse place, and bring hostility.

    As for the topic, toughness can be measured basically by attitude, stature, speech and action.
  18. Aug 31, 2007 #17
    Because that's like me saying "the rich should pay more in taxes because they have a bigger net of disposable income then the rest of us," and then some person saying "you're not even rich so how dare you speak?! Like you would really pay more in taxes if you were rich." It's irrelevant to the argument. Instead of refuting the actual argument, you just divert the entire focus away from the actual argument by questioning ones status in society. And then because of that most people will dismiss any argument I make and they'll put a false truth value behind it. That's why it's irrelevant.

    I'm not being elitist. I just want people to stop being vultures. It's the envy that makes this world an evil place. I want criminals to stop acting like any of us who have an ounce of money on us were just somehow spoonfed this money with a golden spoon high up in the clouds somewhere and realize that hey people actually work their asses off for a living. Bill Hicks may of been an idiot, but I do agree with his one quote where he said "and then these money beggers yell 'thanks a lot buddy, you don't know what it's like to be poor!' And I go, yeah I do, that's why I work.'

    Then criminals should stop acting like every person with an ounce of money on them was somehow spoonfed this money with a golden spoon high up in the clouds, and to stop making judgments about how a tranquil environment is a bunch of female reproductive parts. Because you know what, they have a narrow vision too. They haven't walked in anyone else's shoes but a criminals. Two way street.

    Yes, treating others the way you want to be treated does work in the real world. It only feels like it doesn't because of the vultures that run around that think people with income have golden spoons or something.

    I only alienate idiots such as Waffle. He just made a bunch of irrelevant points about my social status, assumed I was born a golden spoon high up in the clouds somewhere, and then made a false, idiotic analogy comparing criminals of today to patriots who were rebelling against England's oppression because they wanted their independence.
  19. Aug 31, 2007 #18


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    Once I choose to steal from others and wield a knife to solve my differences I too will become a criminal. It' s not elitisim at all; it's just the opposite. It's one's actions define them.

    I am not judging criminals as beneath me, I am pointing out that the actions of a criminal (which could, "but for the grace of God"* be me) define the consequences.

    *I am not religious but it's a good turn of phrase

    Making valid points is not the only requirement here; being respectful to each other is another - I'll happily refer him to the Forum rules - which he explicitly agreed to when he signed up. If Waffle chooses to have a rational, intelligent discussion, he's welcome to. But I won't indulge this trollism.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2007
  20. Sep 7, 2007 #19
    OK, fair enough.

    Sun: I agree with you that it's a two way street, they judge more honest people who may be rich because of it as well, and then they envy them and steal their money and so forth.
    But the situations are still slightly different.
    Not all criminals are bad people who just want the easy way out by breaking the law, many are also run to desperation maybe if they lose their house in a fire or whatever story it may be.
    Granted, becoming a criminal is ultimately a choice, but many times they just don't have the insight and history to make any other choice.
    On the opposite hand a good hard working man who had a better childhood or maybe had ok parents, would not see a reason to become a criminal, the circumstances that lead him to his choices don't lean in the criminal direction.

    Granted on second read I realize waffle phrased his argument the wrong way, which is why I agree with Davy now, but aside from that, my point I guess is that not all criminals are bad people, and not all of them had much of a choice. Some are not educated enough and so forth, and that we should try to help people and not alienate them.
    Once you bring education into the picture, education both about people, society, science and the arts, then it spreads and maybe the world becomes a better place.

    Sorry for the hijack I hope it's ok with the moderators, I wanted to say this.
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