Let’s face it…life in the U.S. is going to the dogs. The murder rate is the highest it’s ever been, and I risk being accosted just coming back from one of my beloved Cardinals games. It’s terrifying. And that’s exactly what those who have influence over us want us to believe. The truth is very different.
The media is doing an awesome job of pulling video off the Internet (long after most of us have seen it) and shoving it in our faces to ensure we know that murder and homicides are an everyday occurrence and we should act appropriately.
For some of us, that means getting our CCW permit and arming ourselves. I’ve done that. For others, it means getting a gun and taking what we need violently. I haven’t done that…so I’ve picked my side, haven’t I?
“If it bleeds, it leads” used to be the byword of print media. Violence sold newspapers yesterday. It sells clicks today. So every bloody attack the media can get its hands on (mostly via social media) is launched into our living rooms and car radios on a daily and even minute-to-minute basis.
A mere 10 years ago, virtually no one was on social media as we know it today. That left the media with two problems. First, it wasn’t being spoon-fed dramatic stories complete with video it could leverage into revenue. And second, even if it had a good, gruesome story, it still had to pump the news out the old-fashioned way—print, radio, and television. And none of those can be in our faces 24/7.
So violence and its promotion are a huge motivator for the media families.
Then there are the Republicans. They benefit in a similar fashion from the overexposure to violent homicide because they can scare voters into making an “informed” decision that a change in administration is necessary to curb this ever- growing, monstrous phenomenon. The political Right, for the most part, sees this burgeoning violence problem as the understandable result of weak defense decisions internationally and overblown entitlement programs domestically.
For the time being, the more violent the headlines and the bigger the body count, the better. So the Right is the second big winner in light of the growing homicide rate. And every time a law enforcement person is injured or killed by some irate citizen (or foreigner), they make it seem like we need a stronger, more reactive police presence.
Now let’s go to the other side of the political aisle. The political Left also needs many violent homicides (especially gun-generated). Higher numbers of deaths will further its agenda of removing as many firearms as it can from the American public. And while they’re at it, they’d like to take the teeth out of the second amendment. Every time some farmer shoots himself in the foot, it gets mega-distributed on social media. And guns are the only thing responsible for all this violent homicide.
They’ve got us where they want us.
The media has a huge influence over us. We take in this continuous message of a skyrocketing rate of violent homicide via social media, TV, and radio—day after day. If I simply see a point of view enough times, there is a chance I will eventually see that point of view as reality.
What else influences us?
Well, right now our political parties have our attention. About half of us are agreeing that all this escalating violence has been caused by a Republican elitism keeping success just out of reach of the perpetrators and that guns are the total manifestation of evil.
And the other half of us are being led to believe that weak borders and handouts are at the root of all of this.
So we’re being influenced (and divided, some would say) by three of the most influential factors in our lives. About the only influencer that doesn’t seem to gain by this terrible escalation in homicide is the church, although some of them (mostly those attached to political dogma) do use it to further their agenda.
There’s only one problem.
It’s not real.
In 1993, the “murder and non-negligent homicide” rate was 9.5 per 100,000 citizens. And there were 24,526 incidents, according to the FBI’s crime statistics.
Since then, this statistic has dropped quite steadily to reach 4.5 per 100,000 in 2014, with a total of 11,961 incidents.