November 15, 2019

Our World is Becoming Scary and Unsafe

Unless you have been vacationing on an abandoned island for the past few years, terrorism, violence and crime have increased to the point that there is a serious question of safety in traveling, going shopping, or for that matter, even going to a sporting event or a parade.

It seemed as if we grew complacent to the car bombings in Israel and Palestine. We watched as the Syrians and the rebels fought over Allepo and the Iraqi army fought to retake Mosul from ISIS. But something happened as all this went on. The war and unrest moved to Europe and to America.

After a deadly attack in Paris last November killing 130 people and injuring 350, a series of attacks took place in Ansbach, Reutlingen, Wurzburg, and the Istanbul Ataturk Airport. A man driving a truck ploughed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice killing 84 people. Two teenage Islamic extremists threw a bomb at a wedding in the City of Essen in Germany killing three people. Suicide attacks at the Brussels airport killed and injured hundreds. Recently, a truck drove into a Christmas crowd in Berlin killing 12 people. What is so frightening is that it appears little can be done to prevent such horrific crimes.

A Muslim psychiatrist gunned down 13 unarmed soldiers at Fort Hood in 2009. In 2013, two bombs packed with ball bearings killed 3 people and injured hundreds at the Boston Marathon. In 2015, a religious Muslim shoots up a Christmas party in San Bernardino leaving 14 dead and 17 injured. In June of 2016, an Islamic extremist massacres 49 people and injures 53 people at a gay bar in Orlando. No motive appears to be present other than pure hate.

Even American cities are subject to violent uprisings as internal unrest explodes as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. Many cities are a powder keg today. When fundamental institutions such as the family and the church crumble, people seem to strike out against government and law and order. The City of Chicago is setting records for shootings and killings running 50% higher than a year ago. There is little doubt and reports have shown that less education means more criminal activity. Crime feeds off poverty. Cities like Detroit struggle to attract new business opportunities even though they have hundreds of acres of vacant property to be developed. What is holding them back is the lack of education indicative of many Detroit residents. Forty seven percent of the adults in the City of Detroit are functionally illiterate – meaning they have trouble with reading, speaking, writing and computational skills.

The City of New York spent thousands of dollars and employed 1500 policemen and women to supervise its 2016 Thanksgiving Day parade. But the question will eventually arise, can we keep this level of protection up? Police cannot patrol every Mall, every ballpark, every hockey game and every parade. Travel by air appears safer than it was just a few years ago but once you arrive at your destination, are you safe? Areas like North Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, Israel and many parts of Europe are no longer the safe destinations that existed a few years ago.

Will sanity ever return to our world or are we headed down a path of future violence and destruction. I am no longer anxious to travel anymore even on business. Private cabs with armed guards now pick up businessmen in Mexico and South America. Use of any public transportation is out of the question.

What could easily happen is that our world will turn into armed camps almost like the Middle Ages and hundreds of years of progress will disappear. Distrust and doubt will become the norm in dealing with other countries. Even within our own country, Muslims will be distrusted; African Americans will see opportunities disappear; and we will see polarization erupt like never before.

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Written by
Donald Wittmer

DONALD WITTMER is a retired business executive who held key roles in the automotive and banking sectors. For a time, he also served as a Fiscal Agency Manager for the Detroit branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He received his undergraduate degree from Cincinnati's Xavier University, an M.A. in business management from Central Michigan University, and earned certification in bank operations from the School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A husband, father, and grandfather, he teaches part-time at the Kent Place School for Girls in Summit, New Jersey.

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Written by Donald Wittmer
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