Monday, September 5, 2016

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Will there ever come a time when we will truly learn from history so we can stop saying "history repeats itself?" Our society has been on a downward spiral that is only picking up momentum and adding fuel to the fire. At the current rate, there is a very good chance that we will soon find ourselves in another revolutionary and/or civil war.

Sure, weapons like guns and bombs kill people and cause immense destruction, but they don't do it by themselves. It's the people behind the triggers that are actually responsible. To take it a step further, it's the people lighting the fire under the people on the trigger. That would be you and me, the people who make up our society. 

Where did we go wrong and how have we let it get this far? Whatever happened to being neighbors banding together as friends, countrymen?

As society degrades, the violence escalates
Disagreements, crime and violence have been around since the beginning of time. Unfortunately, rather than learning from our mistakes and getting them corrected, we just seem to be getting better at it. As our society degrades, the crime and violence is escalating.

There are gangs operating in every major city across America and a large portion of the smaller cities as well. Many of them graduated from being local hoodlums to organized criminal organizations - many of which are backed by the cartels.

Terrorism has escalated from a hijacked plane every now and then to regular bombings, attacks, and executions. It's certainly no longer limited to the airspace over the Middle East. It's happening in our own backyards. The terrorists are no longer limited to a couple of radical groups from overseas. There are local citizens drawn to these groups' ideals and acting from within. We even have homegrown terrorists now following the lead of "traditional" terrorists, but to advance their own political agenda and fight conflicting political agendas.

School violence has gone from fist fights in the parking lot after school to full blown assaults. Teenagers are shooting their classmates and teachers in retaliation for a wide variety of reasons from being bullied to just wanting attention. Bomb threats are no longer a prank pulled because you didn't study for a test that day. They are legitimate threats with increasing probability of being actual bombs.

Hate crimes used to be mostly racial incidents with only a handful of organizations ultimately encouraging them. Today there are multiple categories of hate crimes covering race, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation and more. Just about anything one person doesn't agree with seems to become a hate crime because of the actions taken against individuals that match the latest label. The latest hate crime, in my book anyway, is actually against law enforcement officers. I guess we need to add "occupation" to the list of categories.

What is fueling this escalation? 
I am neither a psychologist nor a sociologist, but you don't have to be to know the answer to this question. We are fueling the fires. Society. Our society has turned into a bunch of self-serving, woe-is-me, blame someone else, gimme, gimme, gimme individuals. To make matters worse, we are allowing the creation of laws that support this downward spiral.

Somewhere along the line, the definition of tolerance changed from merely being respectful of someone else's differing opinion, belief, or lifestyle to now having to accept them as valid and true. It is not possible to accept what you know to be wrong or false as true and acceptable. You should still be respectful, but also be allowed to maintain and state your difference of opinion.

Tolerating a differing opinion used to mean either keeping your mouth shut and moving on or having a debate where you each express your opinions and facts. This is no longer possible since it's apparently not ok to have a differing opinion. That in itself is completely illogical since you can't possibly have 100% agreement on anything....ever.

We can continue to blame the makers and owners of guns, various religious beliefs, the color of someone's skin or any of a thousand different things, but in the end it comes down to one thing. Society. Or, a little closer to home, your neighbors.

We can ban, regulate and restrict everything under the sun, but something new will take it's place and then require more legislation. We have to fix the problem at the source. We need to get back to being neighbors.

Learn to respect others because it's the right thing to do - not because you're going to get sued or thrown in jail if you don't. Learn how to discuss our differences without violence and not get offended by everything we see or hear. In laymen's terms - grow up and be an adult.

If you need further encouragement to make the effort, think about it this way: We have more than enough issues with our country at the highest levels already. If we can't learn to be neighbors again, how in the world can we expect to get our own government back on track? We certainly need to do something fast. Without action of value to get our society and country under control, the real question is which will come first - civil war or revolution?