If you have lived on this earth for about forty years or longer you probably have noticed this. If you have talked to someone over fifty, you have probably heard them complain about this. I remember hearing it when I was a kid, and I thought it was the leaps and bounds in technology that were the real cause. Seems like the older people, even back then, were talking about something different. It is all the same thing only the 2010 plus version.
Once America rolled past the1880’s, life started improving for everyone. Life style and quality of life was getting better every year. When life gets better, more people can afford more, and more people have more babies. Those babies grow into adults of course, and they too have babies. Some of those babies were not very stable and as adults, they did some horrible things to their fellow human beings.
The older people would talk about this perceived change in people. How things were getting busier, and people were forgetting their manners, and some were downright crazy. They were killing people for no reason, and hurting people. I heard this from old people ever since I was a kid. I imagine you have too.
What has changed in the last century is our population density. There were one or two people per some number of people each decade who went off the deep end, and went on a killing spree or some other heinous act. I am guessing that number has not changed over the decades as a ratio of the population. What has changed is our population density.
Now instead of maybe one or two people losing reality and committing horrible acts there are ten times that many people because overall there are ten times the number of people alive in America. Now whether ten times the people is accurate or not, I can not say, but you get the idea. there are more people, so there are more crazy people out there.
We went through it with serial killers in the eighties, when a number of them were caught in a short period of time. Today we accept there may be as many as a few hundred active serial killers in America who may never be found and arrested, because we are such a mobile society traveling effortlessly across the country and back.
So it is with these people who are grabbing the headlines. Instant access to media, and media over hype has not helped the situation. Sort of like Teen Suicide. If one Teenager in a school commits suicide, it sets off a chain reaction if intervention is not swiftly introduced in the school. These days with instant media, when someone who has violent thoughts sees a news story about another person who committed a violent act, their thought becomes action. For a few, they can not resist the urge, and they carry out violent acts themselves, often not even realizing what they are doing.
Adding more fuel to the fire, the state of war has changed our Men and Woman who have served. Up until the Viet Nam war, each side was easily identified. Each army had uniforms that made them stand out from the general population. War was clean, you killed people in uniform, and people in uniform tried to kill you. There were no civilians, women, and children acting as snipers and human bombs. Since the era of Viet Nam war, the person you just helped may be the person who tries to kill you later in the day. That is the reality of modern war.
What this means is our American War Veterans are effected differently by what they experienced than any War Veterans before Viet Nam War. Our Viet Nam Vet’s saw terrible violence committed by Vietnamese people against Vietnamese people, against American Doctors and Nurses, Corpsman, and Soldiers who tried to do the right for people in need of so much. That has to twist the thinking processes of some people. Once they get home, a little more twisting and reality slips out the window. Pretty soon, a few of our Veterans in their minds, return to the wars they fought in. Only the clothing and look of the enemy has changed.
Back when Ronald Reagan was President, people who were mentally ill were kept safe at the publics expense. In an effort to save the monies being spent to house, feed and medicate them, our constitutional rights were invoked. They had the right to be free to live there life unless it was clear they were a danger to society.
It is unknown how many mentally ill people were released to the streets, but when that occurred, the homeless population exploded. The definition of danger to society has slipped to a new low as budgets have become tighter over the decades since this change occurred. It has become all to easy to decide that a mentally ill person probably is not a real threat to the general public and they are released to their family, or the streets. Then they go over the edge, and people die as a result.
Our psyche is incredible. We are capable of so much. We are also fragile, and it is all to easy to lose that little something that makes us human. Lose that little something that separates reality from what is happening inside our head and twisted violence is all too often the result. Our brain doesn’t know the difference between what is real, and what is right or what is wrong, and what is not true. Reality or fantasy, it s all the same between our ears.
We have the option of paying more taxes and having the mentally ill with possible dangerous tendencies to be cared for in an institution. or we can leave them to their families, or leave them to their own devices. Leaving them the potentially dangerous mentally ill out on the streets means we need to accept the fact that the killing won’t stop any time soon. It always about the money.