Does it seem to you that there has been a substantial increase in the number of reckless acts of violence in recent years? It certainly does to me, I can’t believe how bad it’s gotten. Remember when we use to refer to them as random acts of violence? They certainly aren’t random any longer. Today it seems that more and more individuals are finding it easier to resort to violence as an option in dealing with a problems or situation?
There was a time in the not so distant past when it seemed gangs were the primary source of violence. It was the Crips, Bloods, Ariyan Brotherhood, Mexican Mafia, Hell’s Angels, Vagos and a host of other ethnic gangs that we feared. And much of the violence was more prominent in certain cities and neighborhoods. Today violence is widespread, it’s moved out of the back alleys, bars and pool halls and into the streets, our streets.
Today there is still a fear of gang violence but several other sources of violence have evolved. It’s gotten to the point where just about anyone, anywhere may simple snap without warning and go on a violent spree in which innocent people are injured or killed. You just don’t know who you can trust or feel safe around anymore. Any location from the supermarket to the local elementary school has the potential to be the ‘wrong place, wrong time’ for someone. You just don’t know.
Sometimes even the police are suspect. Yeah it’s really gotten ugly. Do you remember a time when police officers were respected pillars of the community? When the police slogan “to protect and serve” meant exactly that? Yeah, so do I. As a result of isolated cases of brutality and questionable shootings of unarmed suspects, police are often feared by the public and obviously, in some cases, rightly so. It’s a real shame that a few bad apples bring so much negative attention to police departments, but then that’s the nature of the beast. With today’s up to the minute news coverage. We know about incidents almost immediately. For example last week the coroners report on a police shooting was released and was immediately jumped on by the media. The report stated that a man shot by police officers who feared for their lives because the suspect was allegedly reaching for a firearm. The report showed that the suspect was shot seven times, all from behind. Kind of makes you wonder doesn’t it?
Then of course there was the whole Dorner incident. The ex cop who went on a killing spree to exact revenge for his wrongful termination. After a number of mistaken identity errors on the part of the police which resulted in innocent people being shot and injured, they finally managed to corner Dorner in a cabin condo near Big Bear. I’m sure there were few people who believed Dorner would ever be taken alive. I certainly couldn’t imagine him being led away in handcuffs and being placed in the back seat of a patrol car, there was no way that was going to happen. He was a dead man.
Most people watching the whole thing unfold on live TV figured it was just a matter of time before a volley of police bullets or a single sniper’s shot took him out. So amidst shouts by several officers to “burn it down” those in charge chose to use a “burner” a highly incendiary type of tear-gas that is known to start fires to burn him out. After the cabin was ablaze for several minutes he apparently took his own life. Most people interviewed on TV called the actions of SWAT justified, after all Dorner was a brazen cop-killer. Only a few said that police should have waited him out. Personally I would have chosen to wait him out. He was cornered, trapped like an animal with no where to turn. I’m sorry, but incineration is no way for anyone to be taken out, not even him.
Tuesday it was the Orange County shooting spree in which a 20 year old part time student, for reasons unknown, lost it and killed 3 people and injured several others, in three different locations, carjacked three vehicles, then when cornered by police, turned the shotgun on himself and blew off his head! What’s wrong with this picture? Then there was the early morning shooting and car crash in the heart of the Vegas Strip Thursday that resulted in 3 dead and three injured. One victim, a woman passenger in the taxi cab that was hit and exploded into flames, was a two time breast cancer survivor! And goes out in an explosion, probably never knew what hit her. Wrong place, wrong time.
So I ask, what has happened? Has the fabric of society been ripped apart by our ongoing love/hate relationship with guns and weaponry? Have we become so desensitized to violence by big budget major motion pictures and television programming that promote and glorify sex, violence and death? Or could it be that our desensitized attitudes towards violence coupled with the dire state of the economy for the last several years, weak gun laws and the deterioration of our mental health care system, all contribute to the current atmosphere of indifference towards violence that we find ourselves in today?
I’m sure all this factors play a role in our moral decay. Yes, let’s call it what it is. Moral decay best describes our current plight. We are now experiencing what many great civilizations experienced just before they fell. Some may disagree, saying that we are not on the verge of collapse but I would argue the point. Morality is our code of conduct, our belief system that distinguishes between right and wrong. Today those beliefs and values have been weakened by those who believe a more practical approach to our moral code is in order. Where once right and wrong were as defined as black and white, left and right, today’s interpretation seems to give individuals more rights to make choices about right and wrong, giving right and wrong this huge grey area and many people are fine with that because it makes their lives less complicated when they can rationalize the wrong they’ve done or are planning to do.
I’m sorry but there is no gray area. What’s right is right and always will be and what’s wrong is wrong irregardless of the circumstance or situation. A moral code of conduct has no room for a pragmatic approach of understanding. You can’t edit or modify the law to fit your needs or lifestyle. Laws and rules are in place for a specific reason, they are not meant as restrictive mechanisms, but to ensure order and keep the peace. Without them we would be lost. Violence in America is increasing and nearing epidemic proportions. Since 1960 the rate of violent crimes has increased more than 500% and is the worst of any industrialized country. And don’t think it can’t affect you, statistics show that 8 out of every 10 Americans will be the victim of a violent crime at least once in their lives so be careful out there.
What society is currently experiencing, this rise in lawlessness, reckless behavior, corporate and political corruption and weakening of morals is exactly what other societies throughout history have experienced just before they fell. As a nation we no longer seem to be offended by sex, violence and other evils, we have gotten used to them. Worse yet we have learned to look the other way and put ourselves first, we do whatever we want, to whoever we want and could care less about who or what may get hurt. Yes, we are a nation on the verge of peril. Now I’m not suggesting that we are going to take the big fall anytime soon, but the handwriting is on the wall and if something isn’t done soon to reign in this spirit of lawlessness and reestablish a respect for authority, all could be lost.