November 18, 2018

Have We Become Insensitive to Violence?

Sadly, it is true. The violence that was rare a few years ago is becoming more of a day to day activity in our chaotic society. The killings are all too common and since the motive for much of this violence is not always so clear, we seem powerless to stop it. How do you stop a deranged person from driving down the sidewalk and killing innocent pedestrians? How do you stop a sick individual from entering a church or synagogue and opening fire on innocent people? There seems to be no line where we can establish responsibility for the actions of people.

Does it really matter whether a car, a gun, a bomb, or some other device is used to kill? We seem to focus on the means that were used to kill rather than why. In the saddest chapter in our history, planes were used to inflict horrific pain and suffering. If we throw in the element of terrorism into the equation, violence in the United States knows no boundaries.

It appears no place is safe. Nightclubs, airports, churches, synagogues, and schools all appear as easy targets for violence. I find it hard to identify a common target. Even a city like Las Vegas is not safe from a gunman intent upon killing people. But the mind boggling aspect of the violence is that it is all directed toward innocent people.

Could it be that our society is to blame? Church attendance is in a rapid decline. Morals are a thing of the past. We live in an era of “Me” and what makes my life easy is where I concentrate all my efforts. Social media has replaced sanity and reason. Our true news is interspaced with nonsense like the type of dress that Meghan Markle wore to an event or the size of her “baby bump” while we perform thousands of abortions every day in the United States. We seem to have no clear objectives anymore. We want to legalize marijuana while at the same time, we fight opioid addiction. The leading advertiser on TV is the pharmaceutical industry intent on flooding our population with billions of pills annually with record profits.

It would appear that we have a huge divide between responsible police action and racial targeting. Road rage incidents are becoming more common and, while we pass more and more gun control laws, the number of illegal guns on our streets is skyrocketing. It would appear that our society is out of control. People can be attacked for any reason in a Waffle House and even grocery stores like Kroger are not safe anymore. If I don’t like the way you dress, act, or speak, you are subject to my verbal or physical abuse. I can tip you for serving me but I am free to write any form of racial or derogatory message on my receipt.

Unless something positive happens soon, I fear for the future of our children. On a per capita basis, the United States leads the world with incarcerated people. Adding the death penalty to offenses does not appear to be the answer. If it has had no material impact on our crime in the past decades, what makes one think that increasing the death penalty will change anything going forward? Nor does the addition of armed guards or the arming of teachers in schools seem to make any sense. Should we consider armed guards in restaurants, grocery stores, or even churches? We need to understand the motives of our violent society and not simply address the symptoms. It is impossible to arm every store or church in the United States and we then face the fact that we may have doubled the population of guns on our streets regardless of the intent. We can only hope for a return to logic, morals, and responsibility in our violent society.

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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