Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Fabric of our Society.

Most of us have had a time when we took out our frustrations on the wrong person. Maybe it was a bad day at work and we came home, someone said something, and we over reacted. Or perhaps it was reaction to a difficult boss - day after day we fail to react to perceived insults - then one day we explode and do or say something that is not going to do us any good.
On the receiving end of such outbursts, it seems the person has lost their minds. The thing they exploded about was not worthy of the reaction - over reaction. Take time to get to the bottom of the problem, a lot of other hurt comes to light. It doesn't excuse the over reaction but it helps to actually try to resolve issues that can lead to over reaction next time. If we fail to discover the deeper issues, and react only to the outburst, there continues to be a ticking time bomb.
Why are we seeing increased clashes between police and citizens - especially in cities? Why are these clashes boiling up into violence and destruction?
I believe the root of the problem is economic. It's aimed at police because they are the front line. They are the government representatives that are most encountered in communities. While they are trained to deal with difficult people and difficult situations, imagine how it must feel to be the recipient of anger day after day. Most police officers enter their careers with the very best and most noble intentions. They want to make a difference and help create a safer community. They know they are putting their lives on the line as they strive to serve the community. Imagine how they must feel to watch those communities get worse instead of better. On top of that, there is little thanks and little respect. Add in shrinking budgets or lack of expanding budgets to meet increased needs, less money for positive community programs conducted by police, less money for training - and the officers on the street are going to feel increasing overwhelmed. They are human. We expect them to be superhuman. Most of the time they are. But we need to listen to them and understand the challenges they are facing. We need to help them solve problems. If we don't, we are putting them in harm's way. The best and the brightest will loose hope. The one's who are not so skilled will loose their ethics.
Historically impoverished neighborhoods have the greatest crime rates in nearly every category - vandalism, burglary, domestic violence, assault, murder.... Desperate people do desperate things. Anyone who is continually knocked down, no matter how hard they try, will grow angry and loose hope. And they will act out in irrational, even destructive, ways. Education budgets have been squeezed. Community programs are no longer funded. The cost of living goes up while salaries go down. Many of our government officials talk about poor people as though they are vampires sucking the life out of our society when, in reality, it's Wall Street mentality and lack of government intervention that is sucking the life out of our society.
We have to get to the root causes of poverty if we want to have a stronger society. Growing poverty weakens the fabric of our entire nation. We will continue to see outrageous results - riots, looting, killing and violence if we don't take poverty seriously and work together to develop solutions.

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