Is Society Becoming More Violent?


In the wake of a movie theater shooting that left one person dead, do you feel that society is becoming more violent?  What do you think needs to be done? 

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  • konspikuous

    Relative to the big picture dating back to the inception of the Union, as well as the long view provided by anthropology…no, it is not anymore violent than it has ever been.

    As to what to do about it…because the ability and capacity of violence is inherent, removing it from society would require genetic engineering on a scale not yet used. The living would have to be given a virus that modifies violent tendencies out of their DNA, which would be passed onto to their progeny.

    Of course, there is a natural world cause the brought about violence to begin with. If people being to get hungry enough, it would come back.

    • RockyMissouri

      We just need to value kindness as being a manly trait.

      • konspikuous

        Kindness is for sissies.

        Real men are benevolent!

        • RockyMissouri

          Indeed!

  • OnyxE

    Two issues, one is violence and the other is the level of entitlement some people have. The more people get packed together the more sensitive they get. People have to get along and show some sensitivity to other people when they are out in public.

    Studies have already been done showing limited space increases breakdown of social structure. “The conclusions drawn from this experiment were that when all available
    space is taken and all social roles filled, competition and the stresses
    experienced by the individuals will result in a total breakdown in
    complex social behaviors, ultimately resulting in the demise of the
    population.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_B._Calhoun

    Tons of information about this on the web.

    • BungeeCord

      Entitlement
      Exactly. I’m a social psychologist and have long preached the dangers of the “narcissism epidemic” as it pertains to the “age of entitlement.” Twenge and Campbell wrote an amazing book (2009) that explores the unfortunate phenomenon. You’ve really hit on something that I feel is a major underlying factor–entitlement and violence go hand in hand.
      I wish I had more time to write now, but will check back later.

      • OnyxE

        I wished you lived here and I would show you entitlement in a local park…dog owners in the best area of the city don’t get leash laws or the Migratory Bird act which makes it illegal for their huge dogs to run rampant chasing the birds. It is absolutely unbelievable…and there is a dog beach a block away and off leash park across the road. I have to deal with this entitlement all the fricken time. This is an example…I go there all the time to see the geese and ducks, there is a pond there for them. I was sitting near the edge of the pond one day, a few geese were relaxing right at the side of the pond. A woman came walking, with her dog on a leash for once, and she had to walk herself and her dog right along the very edge of the pond…she would have walked right over these poor geese if they hadn’t hopped into the water. Seriously she could have walked 10 feet away from the birds but she wouldn’t. The look those geese gave that lady when they were in the water and she was walking away was priceless. I could see exactly they were thinking what senseless jerks humans could be.

  • RockyMissouri

    IMHO, we are a terribly violent nation…. reflected in the number of gun deaths.

  • missjulz

    A friend told me about this new-fangled gun mechanism yesterday. Basically it is a laser guided mechanism so a target cannot be missed. Losing faith in humankind. These kinds of developments put my stomach in knots. http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/01/17000-linux-powered-rifle-brings-auto-aim-to-the-real-world/

    • OnyxE

      I just read an article someone came up with to raise chickens in factory farms more humanely…just basically debrain them so they don’t feel anything. I’ve lost faith in humanity. Just get me out of this hell hole.

      Are Brainless Chickens the Solution to Animal Cruelty?

      A thought-provoking new model suggests the best way to avoid hurting chickens is to take away their ability to feel.

      http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/02/21/are-brainless-chickens-solution-animal-cruelty

      • missjulz

        oh boy, I need to avoid that article too I guess.

        • OnyxE

          The photo alone is bad enough. This is like the Safari club in texas auctioning off a permit to kill an endangered rhino to help save the rhinos. The most perverted logic ever.

  • Cougar90210

    Semi-OT, I suppose, but I just read this article in The New Republic about “moral design” or development. It’s wordy (as am I, but I’m sure no one else has ever noticed that), but it presents some pretty interesting arguments – primarily regarding morality as a “gift from God” vs morality as a developmental process dependent upon culture and other secular factors. The tie-in to the topic here, I think, is in how our culture currently seems to be moving in a direction that I see as hampering moral development.
    Anyway, if you’re interested, and you have a few minutes, here’s the link:

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116200/moral-design-latest-form-intelligent-design-its-wrong?a&utm_campaign=tnr-daily-newsletter&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=11639354

    • OnyxE

      These arguments and debates get so complicated and convoluted it boggles the mind. Wasn’t it einstein who said if a six year old can’t understand it it’s too complicated?

      • Cougar90210

        I don’t know if he said that, but it sounds like something a smart person might very well say. Ergo, proof that I ain’t that smart. Sometimes I just try to challenge myself to see if I can understand arcane stuff like this. (You should have seen me years ago reading “Foucault’s Pendulum” by Umberto Eco …. ai, yi, yi!) Anyway, I do think the key point at the end of it all from this article in TNR is that our culture is the key to our level of caring, morality, altruism, cruelty, greed, etc. And imho, we aren’t doing a very good job of advancing in a positive direction culturally speaking these days.

    • Gin1234

      For one thing, I think that the impersonal aspect of technology is taking away people’s ability to feel for other people and to care about helping them, and therefore feel less inhibited in doing them harm.

      • Cougar90210

        I think there are strong arguments to be made about the de-sensitizing aspect of our increasingly technological world. I mean, look at the effort HP went to in order to discourage the “incivility” of the discourse created by all of us anonymous posters – pardon my overweening sarcasm. Now, back to the serious point you make.

        While this takes your notion to another entire realm, one of the serious concerns I have with the development of this drone technology is the very notion of someone (i.e., a “pilot”) sitting in a facility in Nevada or somewhere stateside and pushing a button to fire a missile from a drone flying over a desert in Iraq or wherever, and inflicting bodily harm on targets unknown and unseen. Some time ago, when I read about the carnage inflicted on … and the literal vaporization of … INNOCENT civilians as a result of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, I knew that the only way the pilots of those bombers could have dropped those payloads was from a relatively safe position and an “antiseptic” state of mind. You would have to be a homicidal maniac to bring about what they did UNLESS they were able to honestly deny any sort of emotional understanding of what they were about to do.

        Pardon me, but thinking about stuff like this bothers me just about more than anything else. Man’s inhumanity to our fellow man in the name of …. well, you name it …. is one of the less attractive qualities of the human condition.

  • Gin1234

    I was just thinking of this. Whenever this would come up somewhere else, there would always be claims that violence is actually going down and that it is just because of the ability to see things instantly in the media we think it is going up. That just isn’t true. In my late 50′s I have no memory of anything that compares to what is happening now. There was nothing in print media, or on delayed television reports that reported the use of guns to kill in public places on an everyday basis, like there is now. No one was shot in theaters. No one was shot in schools on a daily basis. It is getting worse. Police brutality was always bad, I will give you that, but it certainly is not lessening. Just today on ET there are multiple reports of major violence that has happened in just the last couple of days, and ridiculous verdicts finding the police innocent of horrendous crimes.

    • konspikuous

      Violence and crime in general are certainly not in decline. Now, reporting on violence and crime, yea…THAT’s what has been trending down these last 20 years.

      • Gin1234

        There is so much going on that they can’t even scratch the surface of reporting on it. I live in a city of about 100000 people. The other day across the street from my sister, who lives here too, there was a home invasion of an old lady’s home. They were scared away, but they kicked in her backdoor, and the police found shell casings around her back door. There might be reasons that they might want to keep that secret, maybe for her protection, but I was not able to find any mention of it in the news, regardless of searching for it for days. It was up to another neighbor to spread word of it around the neighborhood.

      • Richard M

        I had occasion to view the Houston TX local news several times this week… Not something I would normally do, but since I was at Uncle & Aunties house, and they were watching, I did too.

        The entire newscast (by entire I mean 100%, all, todo, without exception) consisted of tales of lurid, brutal crimes. Seemingly, the more depraved the crime was, the more air-time it received.

        • konspikuous

          When I say ‘reporting crime’ I mean, calling the cops, reporting that a crime happened. Not the news.

          Dallas here btw.

          • Richard M

            OIC…..And here I was rehearsing all the arguments I was going to put forth….*sigh*.

          • Richard M

            I’ve lived in E Dallas, Cedar Springs, Mesquite, Irving, Arlington, NRH.

          • konspikuous

            Oh look…there’s a Cedar Springs Road outside my window here in the condo from hell.

          • Richard M

            I used to stay at Les Chateaux appts. On Cedar Springs, about halfway between Oak Lawn and Love Field.

    • Cougar90210

      I agree with you, and I’m just slightly ahead of you chronologically. One of the worst things I have seen recently was a clip I saw at “The Upworthiest” documenting one kid in New York who was able to record the hassling he got from some policemen who were engaged in the “Stop & Frisk” practices demanded by the former mayor and police chief. I don’t have the link handy, or I would share. You might be able to google it, if interested.

      I still have a lot of respect for most people who go into law enforcement, and living in a small town I can say that the vast majority of our police officers, while perhaps not candidates for the FBI, really do try to treat people with respect when dealing with them. But it does seem that too many young people may be getting into that field for the wrong reasons these days (e.g., macho image, gun lovers, etc.), and then when you have leadership demanding (and then defending) such violations of individual rights as has been the case in New York, well, the spiral is rapidly downhill.

      You are absolutely correct in saying that potential abuses from law enforcement have been a problem for some time. I say it all boils down to the leadership running the show. Bull Connor in the old days, for example, and what might Maricopa County, AZ look like if Joe Arapaio weren’t the sheriff?

    • Cougar90210
      • Gin1234

        Thank you. I watched the video. Anyone with any sense can feel it in their gut that this is blatantly unconstitutional. I don’t know how anyone can defend it except that there is a layer of people out there that are not capable of feeling any type of empathy, and as long as it doesn’t happen to them, it is just fine, i.e. most of the right wing in this country. Meanwhile, something like this just further divides the races, and ups suspicion of everyone against everyone else.

        • Cougar90210

          I found it really difficult to watch. We have adopted three children of mixed ethnicity (plus having had three biological of our own), and the thought of my kids getting treated like this because of nothing other than the color of their skin and/or the clothing they were wearing … or how they “looked” at a police car passing by simply infuriates me. I think I shared that we live in a small town, and thankfully our local law enforcement folks generally try to look out for kids rather than try to hassle them (I’m sure some of the kids might disagree with me, but it could be a lot worse, for sure). But again, it all comes down from the top, and if you have people in those leadership positions who don’t really care about individual rights – just their political longevity – and who have absolutely ZERO understanding of what it is like to be poor and/or targeted because of your skin color, then this is the kind of stuff that happens. And as you say, in the minds of far too many of us, as long as it doesn’t happen to anyone other than “these kinds of people” then, hey, no problem.
          I would suggest that those who don’t care try walking a mile or two in the same shoes the Hispanics and Blacks in New York have had to walk in for the past 5 years or so. Then, tell us what it feels like. Maybe they could understand how the Jews felt in some nations back in the day, as well.

          • takawalk

            I have walked in those shoes, I was often pulled over and tossed when young. Having long hair, black friends, or simply coming home from work at a late hour seemed to be reason enough.

          • Cougar90210

            And there is absolutely NOTHING acceptable about that!

          • takawalk

            I totally agree.

    • takawalk

      It is far too often that police get a walk even when eyewitness testimony and video evidence make it clear their actions were unjust and unnecessary.
      I witnessed 4 major riots, and got caught in two of them, witnessed two stabbings , and a event of a boy being beat bloody aside from the violence in the riots. This all happened in my first two years in high school. 73-74 And these are only the things I saw.
      In the eighties I used to hang out with some guys in “the hood”. As crack hit the streets things changed, These same guys who grew up together ended up shooting each other a couple of times, one was murdered at a construction site although the one small article about it, called it a accident. Aside from the “accident” none of this made the local paper much less national news. There were some things that briefly made it into the local paper like a guy found dead draped over a chain link fence. There were five sons in that family, I don’t know what became of the 5th, but four were killed by gunfire, two at the hands of police.
      If you find time, look through the links on this site.

      http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/crimestats
      Reporting methods have improved not diminished. The link provided is one reason why many believe crime has decreased. Whatever the truth is, senseless shootings and other violence is still by far, too common. But the violence is not a new phenomenon.

  • Algebra Palin

    how cute.
    ‘is society becoming more violent?’
    this question asked when old white man blows away young white man and the hand of young white man’s wife. :)

    • Gin1234

      A former police captain, at that. He worked out protocol when he was working, to handle the investigations of incidences such as the one he created. I guess maybe he wanted to try a real life scenario of it for himself.

  • HarukoHaruhara

    It’s becoming more angry.

    I really fear all the anger out there.

    • Richard M

      I had a motorist run me down deliberately, when I was bicycling. No reason. He just saw me, punched the gas, and ran me down. Then he drove off laughing.

  • Richard M

    The problem is that more and more people do not consider themselves to be members of “society”.

    They feel alienated and see no viable pathway to becoming recognized, respected members of society.

    For this reason, they lack the normal inhibitions to acting out their destructive fantasies.

  • Richard M

    Another factor is that the increase in violence is fostered and encouraged by the Corporo-Fascist ruling elite, since it nicely meshes with their agenda of creating an Orwellian Police State.

    For the good of law abiding citizens like you and I…..Of course.

    It is a perfect mirror image of our SMIC fostering warfare, rebellion and terrorism worldwide, in order to maximize profits for the ruling Corporo-Fascists, and to skim off excess population of young males to be used as cannon fodder in the new Forever Wars.

  • Gin1234

    Society is breeding more sociopaths, for some reason yet to be figured out. There appear to be so many more people unable to feel for another person, to feel empathy. There is a phase in early childhood where a child develops the ability to feel for another person, or living being. The lack of this ability is what leads to sociopathology. I spent some time on threads on other news sites about the murder of a man in a movie theater because he was texting during the commercials for other movies, and someone else didn’t like it. The posts are filled with people saying that if someone interrupts another’s happy experience watching a movie, then they deserve to be shot, and blaming it all on the victim who is now dead. Their whole reason for this is that they just hate it when they, themselves, are in a theater and someone acts rude to them. Maybe the seemingly increased narcissism and the lack of maturity in people now, has something to do with the increase in violence. How we got to this place, is what hard to figure out.

  • Ian_Llanganagain

    One would have to begin by defining the word “society”. The original meaning was one of entirely voluntary, and limited membership, and a certain degree of exclusivity. Now that we all appear to be members, all of us involuntarily and some of us unwillingly, one has to wonder if some of the violence isn’t coming for those who never asked to join, and would just as soon be excluded. Until the invention of GPS, it was still possible to live as an hermit, and to avoid enacting, witnessing, or being a victim of explosive outbursts. Now it’s a tad more challenging to do so.

  • AskandTell

    No, statistically overall crime and violence have fallen to a historic low throughout the world. The only thing that has gone up is reality-show type reporting of violence as it increases ratings.

    • Richard M

      These type statistics are compiled by “self reporting”. For example, the nation of Haiti “self reports” to the World Health Organization that their suicide rate is 00.00…..On the other side of the globe, the nation of Nepal “self reports” a suicide rate of 00.00…..

  • Skeeter McTeabag

    Iffen every White man wuz required ta carry a gun, we wouldn’t have no crime cuz fer crime y’all need witnesses, and we’s Standing Are Ground against em.

  • JP boi

    I’m not so sure if man is becoming more violent, but they’re definitely becoming more proficient at it.


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