19th century German poet and dramatist Christian Friedrich Hebbel said, “What a vast difference there is between the barbarism that precedes culture and the barbarism that follows it”.
So why did a recent news item on a shooting involving 3 young men, ages 17, 16 and 15 catch my eye?
It’s not that I haven’t heard of young people doing violent things before.
Perhaps I was thinking of my own youth, at that age when maybe one of my “gang” had a BB rifle and we never thought for a moment that he might shoot us.
In the state where I currently reside, you have to be 21 years of age to buy a handgun.
Now, if you’re 18, you can buy a rifle or a shotgun but not a pistol.
At least that’s what the law-abiding folks do.
One of these 3 youths wasn’t even old enough to operate a motor vehicle in this state.
None of them are old enough to get married without parental consent.
Interesting term, “parental consent”.
The adjective “parental” is defined as “relating to a person’s parent or parents”, “property or characteristic of a parent” or “having the relationship of a parent”.
I’m gonna go out of a limb here and bet none of these three teens had much “parental involvement”, much less “parental consent” in their lives.
The one thing these three teens did have in common is the fact that they are in the age grouping for the highest violent crime rates.
More males between the ages 15 to 24 and 25 to 34 are touched by violent crime than any other group in America.
Eighty-six percent of this nation’s homicide victims are men.
The odds of you being a victim of any type of violent crime depe.ends on where you live in the U.S.
“Violent crime” is categorized as murder, rape, sexual assault, robbery and assault.
If you live in the South, “Violent crime” affects 494 per 100,000 folks.
In the East, that figure is 358 per 100,00.
For the “South”, that’s a figure of .005%
Now, 60% U.S. adults think the nations’ crime rates are higher now than ever.
While those numbers have jumped in the 2020’s, it hadn’t been that way for a number of years.
From 1993 through 2019, The Bureau of Justice Statistics and the FBI report ALL violent crimes reported in the country FELL by 49%.
Hardly a week goes by that we don’t have some version of a weather watch or warning.
The statistics show we have a 1 in 82,000 (.00001%) chance of being killed in ANY type of severe weather incident and just a 1 in 750,00 (.000001%) chance of being struck by lightning.
Statistically, we should have violent crime “watches and warnings” more frequently than the weather variety.
Seems like violent crime watches and warnings might actually impact more of us.
Can’t say the same for Jamaica or Honduras where you have a 6% chance of being murdered.
MUCH worse that even Chicago on a typical weekend.
Based on the statistics, we should be walking instead of driving since we have a 1 in 85 chance of dying in a car crash.
Speaking of weather watches and warnings, we should probably be looking for the “UV Index” instead of storm advisories.
You see, ultraviolet radiation from the sun is a leading cause of skin cancer which claims 2 of us every hour of every day.
So how did I get from three teens involved in a shooting incident and end up quoting skin cancer statistics?
Well, I would suggest both are preventable…to a point.
SPF lotions and special clothing can lower skin cancer risks and I can’t help but think someone truly giving a “rat’s fanny” about kids can alter the violence issue.
After every violent event, I hear folks throughout the affected community bemoaning the needless violence and something needs to be done about it.
This is not going to be as easy as applying sunscreen or wearing wide-brimmed hat.
The moment our society devalued the necessity of good parenting and discipline, it was like we forgot about its’ impact on our community.
There are consequences for “bad behavior” if you spend too much time in the sun and you are at risk for skin cancer.
But I fear in some parts of our nation, the consequences for societal “bad behavior” is always to point somewhere else and say, “It wasn’t my fault!”
Don’t ever look in the mirror.
Well, at some point and time, we are responsible for our choices.
If I choose to dash about unprotected in the sunshine,, I might get skin cancer.
Therefore, if a choose violence to solve an issue, the results might be as deadly as UV exposure.
The big difference is I can make that choice regarding skin exposure and the sun whereas I might not be the one controlling the outcome in a violent setting.
In a society as ours, we cannot expect violence to just go away if we just wring our hands and say, “This has to stop!”
Twentieth century philosopher and political theorist Aurel Kolna told us, “It is bad enough to persevere in barbarism; it is worse to relapse into it; but worst of all is consciously to seek it out.”
Let me say it again.