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Old 03-27-2017, 11:28 PM
3 posts, read 1,639 times
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As far as violent crime and line of duty deaths of police we in the US have been in an upward spiral for the last 30 years according do FBI statistics. So why does it seem like as a society we are under siege with murders and child kidnappings ?
It's because now we have a news media that is no longer a public service and on the air for an hour or so a day but we have 24 hour news sources competing for ratings as do the evening news shows. For that reason and because they are profit driven they do very little in depth and investigative news stories about important issues but titillate us with crazy stories about remotely potential threats and keep us in suspenseful fear mode about crime so that we will keep tuning in.
As far as other family issues we hear more about family murder /suicides, incest, spousal abuse and other things because they used to be kept hidden even from other family members and victims were told that they bore much of the blame. That secrecy and blame game are something that helped the perpetrators get away with it. Now that we hear and know more about these issues people get away with less and it actually happens less often. One, because society considers it unacceptable, two because laws and police aware Ness about spousal abuse and rape make these things much more likely to be prosecuted and three because we are much more likely to report this behavior if we are suspicious it is happening and because most public servants like teachers, police and fire and rescue and other medical personnel and others are required by law to report it.
So all of these societal issues are actually improving although reporting news issues and facts rather than fear mongering for rating is one issue that has gotten worse.
Issues that have gotten worse are the imprisoning of a large percentage of our population and the fact that there really isn't much societal support to help keep those who have served their time transition back into being able to get hired and be able to have a place to live so that they don't have any other option but resorting to crime because the criminal organizations are the only ones who will hire someone with a record even if it was for something relatively minor.
Corporate welfare is another issue that doesn't get much news coverage nor does the fact that corporate criminals don't get prosecuted or do time. The whole Wall Street/big bank debacle that caused our economic crash and the housing crisis was a vast criminal conspiracy that affected nearly every American and much of the world negatively but the same people responsible are still doing the same risky ventures with our retirements and savings and are still "too big to fail". They not only didn't get charged but gave themselves bonuses with the bail out money we as taxpayers loaned them with no interest. College students pay interest on their education loans why didn't the people who screwed the American people not only not get prosecuted or fired but got no interest loans and bonuses for their greed.
This is a bipartisan issue because neither GW Bush or Obama put serious conditions on the billions we loaned them in the bailouts.
They could have insisted those responsible got fired and or prosecuted. They could have insisted on large penalties and interest as incentive that they not do it again. That money could have been used to pay for programs to create jobs , renegotiate home loans so people didn't lose them, or gone towards the national debt.

Last edited by Annac63; 03-27-2017 at 11:53 PM..
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Old 03-29-2017, 07:29 AM
1,614 posts, read 596,575 times
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Originally Posted by LordBalfor View Post
As someone who's first degree was a BA in History I would say the short answer is "No".

The longer and more complex answer is well, longer and more complex.

For one thing, it depends on who you ask and what statistics you are looking at. Certainly if you are black in Alabama you have much more freedom, equality and opportunity now than you had in 1960.

I searched but have yet to come up with a really good set of overall crime statistics for the entire period from 1900-2007 (if anyone comes up with a good link I'd appreciate it). I have found statistics for various periods within that period and graphs which show stats for a specific crime (say murder) for most of that time, but nothing that covers all crime for the entire period.

The stats I did see indicated very high murder rates during the depression (other crime was likely higher too I would think). This didn't surprise me at all - remember this was the prohibition ("gangster") era. There was a drop off during WW II and in increase in the late 1950's and another drop in 1990's. In general, although crime seems to be increasing, it looks like it's still pretty low by historical measures.

Certainly during the 50's and 60's there did seem to be an uptic in crime, but it's hard to say how much of that was due to the drug culture of the hippy movement. Almost certainly some was, but it seems to me that the automobile culture that came about during this period may be just as much responsible. Consider back in the 40's when few folks had cars (and less money in general). Back then neighborhoods were tighter because people couldn't move about so freely and easily. Folks tended to live "in town" rather than the spread out suburbs (without cars you needed a trolley or busses etc to get to work). Folks also tended to stay put in the same location for longer periods of time. All in all we were all just a whole lot less mobile so everyone tended to know everyone else in the neighborhoods. Everyone knew who the troublemakers were and they all tended to keep an eye on each other.

With the mass availability of the automobile a mobile culture developed and neighborhoods as we knew them began to break down. People moved about (sometimes clear across the continent) and towns and cities began to become far more anonymous, with people coming and going far more frequently than they used to. It seems to me that anonymity brings with it a likely increase in crime since one of the deterents to commiting a crime is the potention disfavor of your friends/neighbors/family and the shame you would bring upon them. When you don't know your neighbors (or care what they think of you) I think you are lot more likely to prey upon them. As mentioned, the development of this mobile car-based culture of course moved along at more or less the same time as the rock culture (actually started in the 50's and continued into the 60's) so it seems to me that it too can take part of the blame.

You also have to keep in mind that you have the actual statistics and then you have the public perception. It seems pretty clear to me that whatever the statistics say, public perception is that crime is pretty bad. Personally I think a lot of that can be blamed on the media. Afterall, listen to your local news and if you live in a large/medium sized city almost certainly the first 3-4 stories each evening will be about murders, rapes etc. This gives the impression that it's commonplace because we hear about it so often. It also gives the impression (either correctly or incorrectly) that crime is much worse than it used to be. The fact is, such crimes happened in the 30's 40's and 50's well, but the media coverage was not so widespread or sensational as it is now.

Think about it. A girl is kidnapped in Georgia (or whereever) and it leads the national news (how many times have you seen a similar news story?). You live in Chicago, or Seattle or LA and the national news is telling you about a kidnapping half a continent away. WHAT does that really have to do with YOU? Is the kidnapper a possible threat to you and your kids? Not really. Is it really news that affects you? Not really. Are there more important national stories that you should hear instead? Of course there are. But the media feeds on sensational stories and nowadays a single incident occurs 1,000 miles away and somehow the kidnapper is a threat to you and your loved ones. People naturally tend to react as if it were much closer to home and the impression people are left with is that such crimes happen all the time everywhere. I'm not trying to minimize the horrific nature of such crimes, but the fact is your loved ones are FAR more likely to be killed in a car accident than taken by a kidnapper half a continent away. In any event the point I'm trying to make is that constant media exposure creates a climate of fear which is not really justified and gives the impression that crime is lot worse than it used to be when that is not necessarily true (it's merely being reported more often and in a more widespread manner).

Excellent post!
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Old 03-29-2017, 04:57 PM
Location: Type 0.7 Kardashev
10,577 posts, read 6,827,947 times
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Originally Posted by NCN View Post
Many people I know have stated the downward turn of morals in America started when we were forced to take prayer out of schools.

America was so much more moral back in the 'good old days'.

Slavery, and later Jim Crow.
Children laboring in mills and mines in the absence of any sorts of restrictions on child labor.
Marital rape legal in every state.

PS - Prayer is openly allowed in public schools. What is not allowed is for agents of the state (teachers, administrators, etc.) to lead said prayers.
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Old 03-29-2017, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by questioner2 View Post
I think I read somewhere that 1965 was the start of America's crime wave. That was the start of the hippie movement and crime started to go up with the breakdown in society connected with drugs, rock music and a lack of respect for authority. It has been downhill since then.

My parents said that before that year life was more peaceful, the crime rate was very low, families were stronger, illegal drug use was limited and kids behaved in school.

Historians: was 1965 the start of the downward spiral in American society?
You're just getting a bunch of arguing with this. Not sure it's something that can be proven or disproven but this I know...

Drug availability/openness + Vietnam + the draft + psychedelic culture/media/etc = BIG TIME CHANGE from the period prior to the mid 1960's. All the rest can be argued forever but these events fostered changes en masse.
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