Consider some recent headlines: an 88-year old WWII vet is beaten so severely by black teenagers that he later dies from his injuries; a mother walking her one-year old in a stroller is first threatened by black teenagers with robbery, then shot in the leg and finally has to watch while the gunman fatally shoots her child in the face; an Australian student athlete in America on an athletic scholarship is stalked and shot in the back in a drive-by shooting perpetrated by two black and one white “bored” teenagers.
And then there are several school shootings over the past few years engineered by young, white males.
There is also the matter of teenager Trayvon Martin’s death by shooting while attempting to hammer George Zimmerman’s head into the pavement.
Yeah, I am cherry picking from who knows how many incidents that have occurred here in America during a relatively short period of time. I sometimes comment in the online version of one of Maine’s major newspapers and have been roundly castigated for speculating that something is going really wrong with our society. The accusations range from being ignorant of history (which I readily admit is filled with violence) to repeatedly “crying wolf” and falling prey to the news media’s earnest efforts to profit from sensationalizing such incidents (true enough) by targeting “alarmist, simple-minded people who never matured beyond high school.” It happens when you stick your opinions out there in the public forums.
My intent in highlighting these recent incidents is to hopefully nudge people into realizing that violent crime in America, particularly among young people, has mushroomed. Not only that, these violent activities indicate behavior that should be recognized as psychopathic and sociopathic in nature. The psychopath is described as “An emotionally immature individual characterized by pronounced defects in judgment and prone to impulsive, generally amoral or antisocial behavior” resulting from being “incapable of feeling guilt, remorse or empathy for their actions. “A sociopath is a person who has antisocial personality disorder” and is characterized by “a disregard for the rights of others. Sociopaths are also unable to conform to what society defines as a normal personality. Antisocial tendencies are a big part of the sociopath’s personality.”
Dispensing with the generality favored by those involved in the “mental health professions”, what can be derived from these descriptions is that there exist people in our country, states, cities and neighborhoods who constitute a danger to society and its members – as shown by the horrific actions contained in the examples that I have cited.
Yes, there have always been individuals throughout history who have fitted into these categories. But as the population of our nation has grown, so has the percentage of people afflicted with these personalities. It used to be that the less populated parts of our nation (i.e. the “Old West”) was a safety valve for these individuals, where they could migrate and have a lesser impact upon their surrounding fellows (who often were better-armed, more independent, and capable of removing or neutralizing a threat to their welfare).
But today’s large city populations, with concentrations of lower-income, fractured families and poorly educated masses who have come to characterize many of the results of LBJ’s “Great Society” failures and have convinced so many of our citizens to accept the “victim mentality” of government dependence, have turned into breeding grounds for the perpetrators of these generally (for the average person) unthinkable actions.
These are hostile, often aggressive and antagonistic people, lacking in empathy, moral and ethical grounding, who have sometimes turned to the tribal support environment of street gangs to replace the vanished family and community support that can divert their tendency toward violence – or in other instances have withdrawn into a denial of or severely restricted interaction with society and peers, Yes, my view tends toward the concept that such people are formed by their environment and not necessarily “born that way”.
It is helpful to accept that anyone who has no respect for others is motivated by an absence of respect for themselves and that can also be a continuing fuel for the smoldering embers of anger and resentment that manifest themselves in so many ways.
It is arguable that I have simplified the matter – and I am sure that many will ask, “So what is the solution?” In answer to the first; “Perhaps so”. To the second; “It is a complex problem and one that has been in the building for decades – there is no easy answer”.
But we do have a severe problem here in America and unless we are willing to recognize it our society is going to continue to decline.
The debate is open for participation. Have at me. But be aware if your intent is simply to launch a personal attack against a the author of a point of view that you have no intelligent response to, then be assured that your remarks will be deleted. A civil discourse is welcomed, but required.