Our TV news reports and daily papers are constantly reporting on crimes, delinquency, fraud and murder. Their stories are inevitably accompanied by pious statements on how rapidly crime is increasing and that something must be done.
Since today’s crime statistics are much worse than they were 10 or 20 years ago, everyone is naturally looking for someone or something on which to place the blame.
Republicans blame the Democrats and vice versa, while the older generation blames the young, who in turn point their fingers at the older folks.
Everyone seems to be looking for complicated reasons, be they sociological, psychological, economical or even religious. In a way, they are all involved, but somehow the reasons are obscured by smokescreens that emanate from our academic community.
These “professional experts” seem to have one and only one objective. They wish to magnify the importance of their positions and profession by naturally perpetuating the discussion of the problem.
It really doesn’t take a Ph.D. to recognize that our population has grown at a rapid rate, and that people now live closer together in larger communities than ever before.
It should, therefore, be obvious to all, that when people live close to each other, they become very aware of their neighbor’s possessions, and the advent of television has also served to make all people more aware of other peoples’ living styles.
In too many cases, those who “have not” attempted to improve their living standards have taken from those who “have.” In addition, we must add to the causes of crime that overworked term, “permissive society.” However used and abused, the term is still valid.
Our once-strict family, school and religious environments has deteriorated into what amounts to a “do your own thing” syndrome. There is nothing wrong with doing your own thing, provided it is done with a sense of responsibility and an awareness of how it will affect the people around you, but it is rarely taught that way.
If the combination of “permissiveness” with population growth were not enough to cause a rise in crime, there is an important third factor. This is the ease with which one can get away with committing crimes, the easy access to drugs, transportation, guns, and the apparent reluctance of our judicial society to prosecute and punish.
A criminal today can say, “If I don’t work, there is welfare. If need a ride, I can steal a car. If I go to drugs, there are free treatment centers. If I run away from home, there are crash pads for the homeless all over the nation. And, if I commit a crime, there are free lawyers and a system that will plea-bargain, postpone, dismiss charges, place me on probation, then try to rehabilitate me, and even finance my schooling.
There are even sympathetic organizations and churches that exist, which will not only house me, but also feed me.”
Our crime problem will lessen only when we and our children are finally able to turn society’s standards and requirements around. We have started, but more changes must take place. Our children, whether at home or in daycare centers, must be taught responsibility at an early age.
Let those who believe in a “permissive society” teach and maintain respect for others and their property. Above all, let those penalties for crimes that are already on our books be enforced.
We should remember Alexis de Tocqueville’s following quote: “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather on her ability to repair her faults.”
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