Recently, I delivered a keynote titled “America’s Head-On Collision: A Crisis of Violence and Scandals” to an audience of over 200 law enforcement and community leaders.
The event was the Annual Community Traffic Safety Awards Program hosted by AAA North Jersey at the Brownstone in Paterson, N.J., on Oct. 22.
A stark metaphor of a head-on collision was used in my keynote to highlight a crisis taking place in America. This involves senseless violence and reprehensible scandals becoming all too common.
America’s violence is alarming for a civilized nation and includes school, campus, domestic, workplace, and terrorism. Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown, and 9/11 immediately paint the picture.
Our scandals are appalling and within every segment of society. Government, educational, corporate, sports, entertainment, and even faith-based leaders continually dishonor their country. A once-admired company like Enron is a reminder of how things dramatically change when character is lacking.
America is called to be the land of freedom, democracy, and security. Unfortunately, our head-on collision of violence and scandals may intensify before our culture improves.
A Culture of Violence
During my presentation, I asked the audience to observe past and upcoming events with the mindset of this head-on collision.
Unfortunately, within days of my presentation, additional incidents dramatized America’s violence including:
- A shooting at a high school in Marysville, Wash., on Oct. 24. The tragedy left three students dead—including the 15-year-old student shooter—with others wounded and many lives within the community forever changed.
- An Oct. 24 rampage in California with the gunman shooting four people—three of them police officers, with two of them killed. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial the number of nationwide fatalities year-to-date has shown a dramatic 20 percent increase since the same time last year. Firearm fatalities have now increased 64 percent compared to last year.
- On Oct. 23 an act of terror was committed against a group of NYPD officers by a hatchet-wielding, self-radicalized extremist. Two of the officers were wounded and one placed in critical condition with a strike to his head. NYPD Commissioner William Bratton stated, “I am very confident this was a terrorist act, certainly.”
A Culture of Scandals
The rampant corruption and scandals within every segment of American life includes these recent events:
- Former Nassau County legislators Patrick Williams and Roger Corbin along with former head of the North Hempstead Community Development Agency, Neville Mulings, were all sentenced to jail time for their roles in an $80 million redevelopment project a decade ago.
- The conviction on Tuesday, Aug. 26, of Timothy DeFoggi, the former acting cybersecurity director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. DeFoggi was found guilty of counts including engaging in child exploitation and conspiracy to advertise and distribute child pornography. Prosecutors stated DeFoggi was part of a child pornography website where he “suggested meeting one member in person to fulfill their mutual fantasies to violently rape and murder children.”
- A scandal at the prestigious University of North Carolina that for 18 years allowed thousands of student athletes to take fake “paper classes” to keep them eligible for sports. At least 3,100 students were involved with the scandal that is clearly the most egregious in the history of the NCAA, which involved counselors, coaches, administrators, and faculty.
This “America’s Head-On Collision: A Crisis of Violence and Scandals” keynote was an abbreviated version of presentations that I have conducted for 15 years. Attendees throughout the nation have included educators, law enforcement, community leaders, and students.
Aside from expressing appreciation for the audience, I encouraged them to transform America into a land of security and character. Character, vigilance, and collaboration are the qualities critical for this transformation and required by all who truly love our country and dedicated to reawakening the nation.
Vincent J. Bove, CPP, is a national speaker and author on issues critical to America. Bove is a recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for combating crime and violence and is a former confidant of the New York Yankees. His newest book is “Listen To Their Cries.” For more information, see www.vincentbove.com