Are We Living in More Dangerous Times? Why Are So Many People Afraid?

How many times have you thought about going out someplace but decided that it was not worth the risk?  How many people do you know that carry guns, Mace, or other concealed weapons?  Years ago, we did not have gated communities, neighborhood watch groups, child alert systems and an endless barrage of news about school shootings and “random acts of violence.”  Children could walk to school by themselves.  Kids actually went Trick or Treating on Halloween and were not afraid to eat unwrapped goodies.  Today, the headlines daily blare a cacophony of events that continuously seem to eclipse previous events in terms of violence and horror.  Just when I think I have heard the most heinous crime ever, tomorrow’s paper brings a story of even more devilry and devious mayhem.  It is like an infinite number of horror writers were banging on an infinite number of typewriters to create an infinite number of stories that will terrorize and incite fear in our communities. 

Is it any wonder that more and more states are passing concealed weapons permits and groups like the NRA fight to limit even reasonable efforts at gun control?  We have a vast population of people who are terrified of being raped, robbed, kidnapped, murdered, shot, slashed, assaulted, run over, or somehow other horribly victimized by a system and society that seems to relish and exalt crime.

Many of us blame “Kids Today” for this.  As Socrates said:

“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”

Two thousand and five hundred years later and many of us would say this sounds like what we could say in the 21st Century except we might substitute “Shoot their teachers” instead of “tyrannize their teachers.” 

We blame a society where no one seems to have any responsibilities but everyone seems to have rights.  This generation of kids has been called the “Entitlement generation.”  Margaret Wente writes the following to explain the problem:

The entitlement mindset didn’t come from nowhere. It came from us. It came from a generation of adults who believed that kids should never be allowed to fail, or told the truth about their abilities, or learn that getting what you want is sometimes hard. On top of that, we have the modern fallacy of higher education – much beloved of politicians, who believe the acquisition of a BA is a sort of alchemy that can transform intellectual dross into gold and ensure that everyone, no matter how inert, can succeed in the knowledge economy.

Dr. Ken Coates cited in the Wente article believes we should bring back vocational education and that university level education should be for students who are interested in, and capable of, high-level work. Colleges and tech schools can offer more practical, job-oriented education for everyone else.  The problem with Ken’s ideas is that we would need to reverse the clock, to go back to a time when not everyone needed or was expected to earn a college degree.  I am a firm believer in that you must go forward and that there is no turning back the clock.  Coates is right however when he notes that “There is no easy route to great success. A generation has lost touch with that.”

But is this the reason for the increase in fear and violence in our society?  Are a generation of spoiled, lazy and highly indulged kids to be blamed for the walls and gates and guns that are now endemic in our society?  And more to the point are our fears well-founded?  Are we really more violent than in past years?  Or are our perceptions out of touch with reality?   

In my next few blogs, I would like to touch on this subject of violence and whether or not we really should be more fearful today. I would also like to show the role that education plays or could play in ameliorating some of the problems that our society now faces.  It is my belief that we live in different times but not worse times.  I think many people confuse a difference with a deficit and this leads to the conclusion that times are bad, people are worse and the Apocalypse is right around the corner. 

How many times have I listened to some “Religious Nut” who ranted about the Rapture and the coming ending of the world? I suppose this is a natural outcome of a desire to escape from a reality populated by maniacs, serial killers, pedophiles, crooked politicians and “entitled” people.  Surrounded by such a backdrop, is it any wonder that many people seek solace in the belief that the end is coming and that an avenging angel will come down to smite the evil and take the “good” up to their just deserts? 

“And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. 12 I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave[a] gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. 14 Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. 15 And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.”   Revelation 20:11-15

 Ok, time for questions. 

Are times more violent today?  Are we faced with more dangers today than in past generations?  Are kids the problem?  Is entitlement the problem? Are schools the problem?  Are guns the problem?  Do we have too many people today who are lazy and expect something for nothing?  Are you more afraid then you were years ago?  Do you fear more?  Do you live in a gated community?  Do you carry a concealed weapon?  What do you think it would take to help make you less fearful? What would it take to make society less fearful? 

Life is just beginning.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Randy
    Mar 09, 2014 @ 14:00:05

    You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the article you write.
    The sector hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to mention how
    they believe. All the time follow your heart.



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