Our Violent Society – Why Is Anybody Surprised?

After years of celebrating violence and ignorance we now live in a violent and increasingly ignorant society. Why is anybody surprised?

Steve Allen, wrote about what were then the country’s creeping cultural woes in his books “Dumbth” and “Vulgarians At The Gate.” Too few listened.

Even now, it’s easier to cut funding for education than to ban the flood of assault weapons on our streets as so many of our politicians continue to complain about the effect while doing next to nothing about the cause.

The violent hi-tech entertainment being pumped out of Hollywood has become so commonplace that most of us are numb to its existence. Do you suppose constant exposure to people cutting one-another to shreds with semi-auto and automatic firearms has anything to do with turning it into a reality on our streets?

Increasingly, Americans have abandoned their cars for “urban assault vehicles.” Giant trucks and SUV’s which make them feel empowered, a phenomenon that got its start following the Los Angeles Riots in 1992. I was there and I watched it happen, as high-end sports cars and other smaller vehicles disappeared from the freeways to be replaced by giant SUV’s. It happened almost overnight and spread across the country.

And even the NFL. Yes, God help me, I am going to say something about the untouchable NFL, which is nothing more than contemporary gladiatorial combat held in coliseums modeled after the original in Rome.

Full-contact American football, is all about violence. It teaches violence and makes it acceptable. And we love it, because we have been conditioned to love it. Not to mention its appeal to our apparently primordial lust for watching combatants, in this case mostly African-American combatants, smash one-another to bits in a fight over a relatively small plot of land. This love comes with a price tag we happily accept. According to Statista, in 2020, the 32 teams of the NFL generated 12.2 billion dollars, making pro football the most profitable sport in the United States.

As of Saturday, February 12, the average price for one seat at the Superbowl was $8,733.

In movies, on tv, with video games and through sports, we continue to be conditioned to accept and even love violence. At the same time, the average cost for one year in college is now up to $36-thousand. That’s for just one year. Who can afford that? Who are the wealthy trying to hold back by not making the great equalizer of a good education available to all?

How many times must people be told that it’s more cost-effective to pay for a child’s education than for a lifetime in prison?

It all ties together, but Steve Allen, is no longer here to preach the gospel of common sense. One man who was brave enough to try and save us from ourselves. Alas, he is gone, mowed down by an urban assault vehicle, leaving us alone to ponder the possibility that our ongoing approval of violence and ignorance may have something to do with our increasingly violent and ignorant culture.

You don’t think so? According to USA Today, in 2020 there were 611 mass shootings in the U.S., taking 513 lives and injuring 2,543 others. That’s up 47% from the year before.

Some, including Representative Adam Kinzinger, one of only a few Republicans with the courage to speak out against the insanity, are talking about the possibility of another civil war as a disinformed and misinformed American public goes mad trying to untangle themselves from the tangled mess they’re in using the tools they’ve been taught to use – ignorance and the violence it spawns.

Steve Allen 1921-2000 RIP

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