A culture of violence has developed in America. It is spilling over into our inner cities and exploding on the scene in live TV broadcasts, in our theaters, schools, military bases and everywhere else. A violent culture is permeating our society and we as a civilization must face up to it and ask the hard questions that have hard answers. Yet, the only answer for America’s culture of violence, is that it is still a problem, unsolved.
In 1995, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols built a massive bomb and exploded it in downtown Oklahoma City killing 168 people and injuring close to 700 others. Among the dead were 19 preschool children.
In 1999 Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 12 students and one teacher in the halls of Columbine High School in Colorado. In 2007 Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded many more in the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.
On Wednesday August 26 Vester Lee Flanagan II stunned the world by walking into a live interview on WDBJ TV in Roanoke, Virginia where he killed Alison Parker and Adam Ward, and later killed himself. He filmed the gruesome shooting and posted it on Facebook. He also had faxed a 23 page letter to ABC News headquarters in New York summarizing all of his grievances against the world.
The big cities of Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles and others are experiencing increased violence and death on their streets. Chicago alone had 460 homicides in 2014 and 2229 people shot and wounded. All of the conditions breeding violence and death are present in our cities. Absentee fathers, family disintegration, educational failure, political paralysis and societal disengagement have laid the foundation for growing chaos in the streets of our cities. To inner city young people violence and death are the norm.
A favorite pastime of many young people in recent years has been the knockout game where inner city Black youths walk down the street and cold cock unsuspecting innocent people out for a walk. Ralph Santiago was killed in this “game” when his head was bashed against an iron fence. The two “knockout” champions were 13 and 14 years of age.
Another preferred activity of our young people is the well-known flash mob. Some flash mobs are done for fun and entertainment but some can turn quite violent. In this YouTube video you see a flash mob of 800 to 900 teenagers invading an AMC Theater in Orlando, Florida. About 200 teenagers got into the theater for free before security stopped the assault. Outside after the mob was dispersed there were guns fired, robbings, drug traffic and general chaos.
Violence is not limited to guns and knives and hateful epithets. It is being expressed in the abortion videos that have surfaced in recent weeks. This is not an article about abortion but about a mounting culture of death. Put aside your politics about abortion and women’s rights for a moment and see the impact that abortion on demand is having on our societal psyche.
Regardless of how we feel about Roe v. Wade we should at least admit that over 57 million unborn babies have been aborted since 1973. That amounts to the entire population of our 90 largest cities in America. Violence in America begins in the womb for many.
This article would be a book if I continued to chronicle violence and death in American society so I will simply ask the question we all have—what do we as a society do about this growing reality of violence and death? I will leave it to the politicians and other leaders to come up with effective long-term strategies but I submit that we as a society will never find the answer unless we stop looking at the effects and start looking at the causes.
Have we abandoned moral absolutes causing our young people to float through society without foundational moorings? Have we allowed racial animus to build in society to the point that we see everything in racial terms? Have we allowed education to be such an ineffective government entitlement that we can’t appeal to logic and innovation to help our young people succeed? Is it time to admit that the war on poverty begun in 1965 has been lost and that we need to regroup and re-strategize for the sake of people in need? Are we so polarized in our political system that nothing is being accomplished because we have made a political posture our god?
I’m simply raising the issue and the questions. Now we call on our leaders to stop pontificating and start solving problems. These are hard questions with hard answers but our society is begging for solutions that work.
Written by Lloyd Gardner