Why is there so much violence in America these days? I get that question a lot now.
Every time there is a murder/suicide relating to a domestic violence report, someone asks, “Why is there so much violence in America?” We had a local report recently share of a toddler being thrown into a pool by a drunken father. I suppose he thought he was playing around, but a toddler—flung into a pool? Really? How drunk can someone get? Thankfully, a neighbor saw what was taking place and ran to the rescue. At last report, the child was alive, but what if he had pulled the I-don’t-want-to-get-involved card and refused to intervene?
We ask our military to travel to the Middle East and wreak violence upon our enemies. They are expected to act and react like beasts—take out the enemy at all costs. They see their buddies being blown to bits before their very eyes. And then we wonder why the violence in America pours into our military coming home from such a vile war. Most of them are unable to discuss what they have experienced or seen. It’s just too much to recount. Many of them try to drown the memories in alcohol or remove them with drugs. PTSD latches onto them, and we have a whole new source for violence in America. The rate of suicide in our military is appalling. Currently, statistics tell us there is an average of one suicide per day within our troops. That includes many who have never even been deployed.
I get e-mails and messages on a regular basis telling me about suicides among civilians. People just can’t take it anymore. The violence in America is taking down America. We Boomers may recall Kruschev banging his shoe on the table at the United Nations. Perhaps we recollect communism and socialism both sending the message that they would not have to fire a single bullet to defeat us. We would implode from within. The violence in America being wrought on Americans by Americans could prove those words to be prophetic. (*Please see NOTE below)
There are all types of violence in America we have to contend with these days. Our Department of Defense must be on constant alert for terrorists willing to strap on explosives, walk into a crowded mall or office building and blow everyone within range to bits. In their eyes, suicide is an honorable act. We watch the reports of “near misses” on television and wonder, “Why?” We think, “I never imagined the day I’d see this in sort of violence in America—not my America.”
People are being laid off, losing their jobs. They return to their former place of work to take the lives of those they see as having ruined their life. Then many of them either turn the gun on themselves, or walk out into a hail of bullets—suicide by cop.
The deplorable condition of our national economy has brought with it an abysmal level of depression for far too many. They are driven to actions nobody thought they were capable of—child abuse, spousal battery, cop killing. . . need I continue?
The level of violence in America is unacceptable. I’m not a former hippie flashing the peace sign here. I am a mother, a grandmother, and especially, an American who wants to be proud once again of the moral integrity of my homeland. Unfortunately, it’s been compromised. Oh, we can continue to blame Washington, Congress, the Senate, the Supreme Court and the White House all we like. We can bark at the media and call them sensationalists. We can cast stones at religion and blame the churches for failing to do their part. But let’s face it, folks. Until we each take responsibility for our own actions, character and uprightness, and begin making proper steps of forward progress, nothing is going to change.
In the words of Harry S. Truman, “The buck stops here!” It all starts with “ME.” A change of attitude and actions within our own self is the starting point to do something about the violence in America. How badly do you want it? How much are you willing to do to bring change to our nation?
NOTE: This article was written in early July 2012, prior to the Aurora, CO shootings, which should only motivate us to become more aware and active in the fight against violence in America.
Carolyn S. Hennecy recently received a certificate as Designated Victim Services Practitioner through completion of a 40-hour course conducted by the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Florida. She is recognized nationally as an expert survivor spokesperson on domestic/intimate partner abuse and violence, sexual assault and child molestation and abuse.