What does it take to cvonvince people that we live in a more peaceful America than ever before? Violent crime in the United States steadily decreases and people in general are more peaceful. Our society has grown into a place where you cannot insult someone without a hundred others jumping to their aid.
It all started about 25 years ago.
That was when America became known as a police state with more than 3 million people in prison. Today that number is even higher with more than 4 million sitting in jails around the country. Mostly for non-violent offenses. Another shift in our society was the shift towards a police force that is more like the Army than simply law enforcement officers. High tech weapons, armor, and vehicles make cops far more fearsome than ever before.
Through the eighties and nineties we saw a massive shift in Alcohol use in the United States. With less people drinking we saw less violence. According to FBI data we saw more than 10 people per 100,000 thousand murdered with a firearm in the eighties. Today that number is less than 3.5 per 100,000.
Premeditated mass shootings in public places are happening more often but that too is a sign of the times. Today our favorite shows include The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and other. In these shows we cheer on the murders and scream like made about the rapes. We were joyous when Theon had his nads chopped off but show one rape and all of social media was in an uproar.
Think about that for a minute. We are fine with murder and torture for entertainment but not fine with violent sex in our entertainment. That is unless the violent sex is happening to a man, then it’s ok. Our video games teach the same thing. Grand Theft Auto, Fortnite, and others teach our children to rack up high scores by going on killing rampages. That is ok because it is just a game.
While our society grows more peaceful overall we do see that we have become numb to violence in general. This makes it easier for people to justify themselves and kill a bunch of people for their moment of fame or perhaps to rack up the highest score.
A gun problem?
People keep saying that we have a “gun problem”. I argue the problem is not with guns but with our society that finds it acceptable to torture and maim a man for entertainment. The United States has more than 50,000 automobile deaths a year. It also has over 500,000 accident that end in injury. These numbers are staggering and we still do nothing to reduce them. 78% of all auto accidents are caused by drivers under the age of 25 or over the age of 60. Should we not consider the human health risk and make these drivers attend annual testing to verify their driving competency?
No! Instead we scream about the danger of guns and the amount of violence. The numbers don’t lie. Cars are far more dangerous and this group of drivers even more dangerous than most. We must look at the real dangers facing our country and stop looking at the ones that sound best in a sound bite.