Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Thursday, June 16, 2005  

Old fogey time

Perhaps it's just me, but when I was a boy, I don't recall childish pranks being so nasty and harmful as ones we hear of quite frequently. Like a boy vomiting on a teacher deliberately, kids trying to poison their teacher with exlax or worse, girls putting feces on a pizza, and teenagers throwing water balloons at on coming cars (more about this in a moment).

When I was twenty-two and driving on a two lane highway to Milwaukee in my Volkswagen Beetle going about 60 or so, my windsheild suddenly seemed to explode and I was shocked beyond belief and nearly drove off the road or into on coming traffic. It was a water balloon some kids had thrown at me as they passed.

It took a moment to register all that happened, but I was both shook up and enraged but there was nothing I could do. I thought or knew that I had nearly been killed, while some vehicle full of teenagers were driving merrily down the road laughing at what they'd done.

This was in 1974, so apparently this kind of malicious mischief has been around awhile.

In the last two weeks or so I've probably read of three or four instances of teenagers killing parents, relatives, or a child killing another child. A couple of weeks ago, two 12 or 13 year old boys, best friends who played on opposing baseball teams, were waiting in a line for snacks . One boy teased the other about losing and that boy then hit his friend with a baseball bat and killed him.

I find this stuff unbelievable in the sense that such things never occurred when I was growing up. There might have been a case here or there but I never heard of it and neither did my parents.

An increasing number of calls that police dispatchers (911) are getting comes from mothers who want the police to come to their homes and control their children. We saw a rash of incidents at public schools where police came and arrested small children in kindergarten or first grade who were out of control. Since schools can no longher discipline children and many parents won't it falls on the police (who then get sued for brutality).

The fact is that children are much wilder now than previously from all classes of society.


Consider this:
in 1904 there were only 230 murders in the entire USA in a population of about 78 million.

In a hundred years, we have tripled that population but there were 15,517 murders in 2000 which is about 75 times what it once was.

Let's look at murder rates per 100,000. in 1903 - 1.1. It jumped in 1906 to 3.9 and kept climbing until 1933 to 9.7 under FDR when Prohibition was repealed. After that it declined steadily so that during the 50's it fell below 5.0.

It began climbing again in 1963 under LBJ. It peaked at 10.1 under Ford in 1974 then lowered a little until 1980 at 10.7 and then peaked again at 10.5 in 1991 and lowered to 6.3 in 1998.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 9:12 AM |