This is actually a phrase my wife uses to describe the every increasing level of domestic violence. By domestic violence in this case I mean violence that is initiated from pressures at home or someone’s immediate environment. These horrific crimes are usually perpetrated on immediate family members but also spreads out to the workplace environment and even the public. But the cause for these people to commit such horrendous acts of violence begin because they perceive themselves as failures in there lives. The people who usually commit these acts of violence are usual white middle aged males who are recently divorced, recently lost their jobs and are frequently gun owners.
Many of us see the the stories seemly on a daily basis about people killing their whole families to save them from the cruel world or killing people at their workplace or just targeting a group of people to direct their hatred. All too often people that know these mass murderers see all the signs before they commit such atrocities but ignore them either for the temporary sake of peace in their lives or just because they do not feel a sense of community and remain apathetic.
There is simply not the sence of community in this country that their once was not too long ago. It has very little to do with the usual suspects Republicans pontificate about including elements of modern culture like violence in movies, on television, in music videos or in video games. Focusing on these parts of our culture is just a distraction Republicans use for political purposes. The real problems with our culture are much more complex and insidious. Lack of high paying middle class jobs, a broken educational system, lack of adequate mental health, the presures on two parents needing to work to raise children, lack of an adequate safety net and the inability of people to live where they want instead of where the jobs are moving are much more destructive to our modern culture.
The American Dream is simply a myth in modern America. Families all to often are broken apart not beecause of internal pressures within relationships but because of external pressures like constant layoffs, inability for a couple to find high paying jobs in the same location and the inability of couples or single parents to raise children in an affordable homes. Even when times were “good” when I worked in corporate America companies I worked with would find a reason to shed workers each year to maximize profits. These workers who’s jobs were “eliminated” where usually close to the tail end of their carreers in their mid 40’s to late 50’s. While their jobs where “eliminated” the companies tended to find a way to created new positions that employed younger people who typically did similar job functions as the people who where let go at lower cost. However in these circumstances during these yearly shakeups the managers that eliminate jobs often end up getting promotions and pay raises. This is one driving factor in creating a wider and wider gulf between the haves and have nots in modern American society.
Almost without exception the people I kept in contact with ended up taking jobs at less pay in different cities and often states. Many times they ended up living in a different place than the rest of their family just so their spouses, junior high school or high school children could have some stability in their lives. Sometimes people who had even advanced degrees had to find jobs outside thier direct area of expertize and I would see excellent scientists have to become pharmacuetical sales reps or even care salespeople. The worst part or maybe the best part depending on your perspective is the people I worked with were highly trained and many of them had multiple degrees or advanced degrees so they were able to find something. So I personally cannot imagine what a blue collar worker’s prospects are when they are layed off after working over 20 years for a company like GM and having nothing more than a high school education.
Nothing that happens in society every justifies the terrible acts these people commit. Obviously people that take the live’s of others and their own live’s are the most extreme examples of the negative effects that these stresses have on society. The people that perpetrate such acts are like unpop kernals of popcorn and when the heat in their lives passes a critical temperature they pop destroying the lives of so many people around them. There are aggrevating factors that are unique to American society like free access to weapons of micro destruction including semi-automatic pistols and assault rifles which helps the killer be able to dissasociate themselves from their own crimes. The worst part is these pressures in society are creating a new catagory of people committing such unthinkable acts like single mothers taking the lives of their tiny children to free themselves from that responsiblilty.
There are few easy solutions to many problems our globalized society faces. In fact more and more other countries are experience an uptick in such crimes. Progress has been painfully slow in this country and the economic turmoil is only aggrevating the problem. Fixing the social problems created from economic inequality and an inadequate safety net will take decades not years to accomplish. As long as we have a political party in this country that campaigns only on personal responsibility, ineffectively small government and lower the tax base progress will be hindered for the foreseable future. Sure things like personal responsibility are good catch phrases and sound good in principle but what about those people who are like unpoped popcorn kernels and cannot take the pressures a society without proper mental healthcare has to bare?
We need everyone in society accountable to one another, a real community again, not just individuals whose sole purpose in life is to amass wealth who are accountable to no one.