Concept of the Month -- January 2003

Control: For a worthy aim or for its own sake?

It is extremely important to differentiate legitimate control that one person exercises over another from the control that is pursued as an end itself. The latter invariably results in injury to others.

Many people excercise control over others while retaining integrity and remaining personally responsible. Control is neither bad nor good. How one pursues and exercises it are critical. Police officers, teachers, parents, executives and many others all exercise control over other people in their jobs or day to day lives. It is built into the legitimate role that they have. Some people obtain
control legitimately and then abuse it. An example is the law enforcement officer who mistreats an offender during an interrogation or at a lockup facility.

Criminals seek control for the sake of control. Their estimation of themselves rises and falls in great part on the basis of their prevailing over another person.
Domination is an end in itself. A failure to control is perceived as a personal affront, a threat to the criminal's self-image. He resolves to demonstrate that he is someone and becomes even more determined to wrest control whether it be by stealth, intimidation, or brute force.

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