"Is Violence The New Normal?"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, May 2, 2015

I feel the compulsion to rant once again. No matter the source of the news stories, it is clear human life has little value. Shootings occur daily, making headlines around the world with no regard for age, color, religion or position.

It matters not where you may be located on the planet or whom you are — the violence will find you because your life is worthless to those wishing to take it.

In many areas, if one person can control others, they dictate actions taken. Those actions may be to take over a country or perhaps just a neighborhood. Guns, bombs, knives, cement blocks, chains, even vehicles are used as weapons with no end to the list of possible destructive devices. Of gravest concern is no one can find a place to lay the blame for our state of constant violence.

Many of us ask how we ever got to such a way of life. Maybe we all need to look in the mirror.

There was a time when all the tough guys carried switchblades. If they wanted to scare someone or display how mean they were, they would pull out the knife and push the button on the side. The blade would snap out in an instant and when pointed at someone scare them half to death.

Once a bully pulled out a switchblade, those around them quaked in fear and few would stand up to such a weapon. When law enforcement was contacted, they waited for an opportunity to stop the person and search for the weapon.

If they found it, they arrested them. The knife was confiscated and, if the person in possession of it was underage, parents were called to bail them out. Eventually, after an appearance before a judge, the individual may have spent time in a juvenile facility. If it was determined a report had been made of the weapon being displayed near a school and the person was a student, they were expelled. When a charge was brought against an adult, they were charged with carrying a concealed weapon and jail time often resulted.

Another concealed weapon was a set of brass knuckles, which were seldom used but the threat of someone carrying them was very effective. A fight among young people using either knives or brass knuckles seldom occurred, fists were the weapons of choice.

Guns were rarely heard of but something called a zip gun, (handmade) showed up occasionally. I don’t think anyone was ever severely injured by one. Hand guns were used by hardened criminals but neighborhood gangs did not have access to them.

As I see it, lifestyles have drastically changed in just a few, short decades. The proliferation of illegal and now legal drugs, the ease of obtaining guns and the absence of guidance from parents, educators and other leaders can be looked at as a cause. Add to that the continuing restrictions placed on law enforcement and school authorities. There also is the fact youngsters consume alcohol (another powerful drug) at younger ages and are often introduced to it at home.

As I write this column, Baltimore was burning with no apparent reason determined. Blame was placed on “men of color” declaring they are not treated equal. Who decided we need to use a definition of “men of color?” Men are many colors — brown, yellow, white, red and black. Are not all of them expected to live under the same laws of decency?

It’s said there are more black elected officials in the Baltimore area then in many other areas. Perhaps they need to work harder to equalize the way the people of their area live. I watched on TV as black community leaders incited the youth at a funeral gathering of 2,500. That evening was when the riots erupted.

The death of a human being, of any color, by any person, should always be investigated if it involves possible criminal activity. Questions regarding a death should be addressed long before any looting and arson begins. One question would be why were the police challenged and why did the young man run? Why does anyone challenge or run — whatever their color?

People of all colors need to be tolerant and understanding of one another. Those of all colors are being punished for the acts of few, and we all will have to help pay for the damage to innocent people.

The leaders of the communities effected can attempt to excuse the actions, such as the man who wanted to be a TV star by cutting a fire hose with a concealed weapon. There can be no excuse for harming those who have done no harm. There is no way to lay blame on society if the leaders of a community do nothing.

Those who were responsible and able to be apprehended should be punished to the limits of the law.

Daily exposure to the shootings and killings on the streets of all countries teach young people life has little value. We can no longer place blame on the weapons manufacturers or traffickers when we allow the carnage they cause to continue without serious consequences or a plan to stop it.

We should all look in a mirror and then seek a way to make a difference to take control of our rapidly deteriorating society.



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