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The Negotiator Essay

Directed by F. Gary Gray, “The Negotiator” is a suspenseful action thriller based on a real case experienced by police in St. Louis. In a desperate attempt to prove his innocence, a skilled police negotiator accused of corruption and murder takes hostages in a government office to gain the time he needs to find the truth. Rational choice theory is the criminological approach that retains classical theory’s view of free will but recognizes that circumstances may affect the exercise of personal choice.

It views criminals as reasoning human beings who evaluate the total circumstances before choosing to participate in acts that violate the law, including their own personal circumstances (experiences, needs, wants); situational factors (type of security barriers, efficiency of law enforcement); risk of getting caught; seriousness of expected punishment; and value of expected yield. Theorists see the decision to commit crime is influenced by two types of variables: those related to the offense, offense specific, and those related to the offender, offender specific.

There is three different ways rational choice theory applies to “The Negotiator”. Firstly, rational choice theory is applied to “The Negotiator” when Danny Roman decided to take up hostages and hold up in the government office. His circumstances of being framed caused him to make a personal decision of taking justice into his own hands, which he concluded would bring him more peace than pain. Secondly, rational choice theory is applied to “The Negotiator” when Chris Sabien decided to help Danny out instead of arresting him.

Chris was starting to believe Danny that he was innocent but the FBI stepped in and dismissed Chris so his circumstance caused him to break the law and help Danny uncover the truth. Lastly, rational choice theory is applied to “The Negotiator” when Grant Frost decided to steal the money. Frost felt as though the rewards he would receive from stealing the money would bring him more pleasure than pain. Assuming that rational choice explains criminal behavior, one program I would create to reduce crime is a feed the less fortunate program.

This program would feed and shelter the needy. This program would eliminate the crimes of those people who steal food or money to survive on a daily basis. In conclusion, rational choice theory is the criminological approach that retains classical theory’s view of free will but recognizes that circumstances may affect the exercise of personal choice. Rational choice theory applies to the film “The Negotiator” in several different ways. In my opinion, no matter what your circumstances may be, they can never justify your criminal actions.


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