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DayeTime: Questions about a violent world

Today’s world is probably no more violent and crime-ridden than past eras. In fact, we are most likely less violent than the Wild West days and the notoriously chaotic Middle Ages.

Avoyelles Parish is probably no more violent and crime-ridden than it has been in the past -- despite the recent flood of disturbing events and headlines.

We think things have gone elsewhere in a handbasket because we compare today’s headlines with our remembrance of our childhood years. We forget that when we were young we weren’t really interested in current events.

Still, when we see violent crimes that shock us to our core, we say, “This kind of thing never used to happen here.”

Maybe it did and we just didn’t take note of it then.

So why are mothers allegedly killing their children and sons accused of killing their mothers? Why are shots being fired into homes, with or without intent to do harm, injuring innocent children?

If we say, “It’s this younger generation. They’re out of control,” aren’t we really saying it’s our fault for not raising this “younger generation” to respect law and order, to seek to help and not harm others, to be law-abiding citizens?

It seems Avoyelles Parish has at least one mind-numbing, heart-wrenching fatal event each year. Most of those involve one or more individuals killing one or more individuals. Some years it has been a tragic accident -- automobile or house fire.

Can we go one year without a senseless, avoidable tragedy? Have we ever gone a year without such a tragedy?

Are things really so much worse than they were 40, 50 or 60 years ago? It seems so.

All of this thinking about WHAT is happening must lead us to ask WHY it is happening.

Are violent video games at fault?

Are current television shows and movies too violent and desensitizing?

Are drugs more prevalent and are to blame?

I have heard these “causes” put forward in the past after mass shootings and other such events. I don’t know if any of them can explain the apparent increase in violent crimes.

A look at the issue also leads us to ask HOW. How can we reverse the trend? How can we prevent the crimes?

Perhaps most importantly, how can we cope with the feelings of despair, pain, fear and helplessness?

Who, What, When and Where are easy questions. Their answers can be found by looking at basic facts.

Why and How are the king and queen of questions. They are the most difficult to answer, but their answers are the most important of all.

It seems we cannot stop people from killing other people. We have over twice as many Americans killed by other Americans each year than this nation has lost in all of its military actions over the past 40 years combined.

We cannot stop family members from killing other family members. That has been happening since Cain and Abel. That fact does not stop the crime from chilling our bones.

All we can do is hope -- and, if possible, help -- our authorities bring those guilty of such crimes to justice.

We cannot afford as a society to maintain a “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” attitude and remain silent if we have information about a crime. Any little detail could help law enforcement officers arrest the criminal and be the piece of evidence that makes sure justice is served.

In all truth, the only thing we can do to help reduce the number of such tragedies is to look to ourselves and strive not to let anger, greed or other base emotions push us to join these others in the local headlines.

If each one of us does just that one thing, the questions are answered and the problem is solved.

Unfortunately, history and experience tell us that is not likely to happen.

As William Faulkner once said, we must not only endure, but prevail.

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