By Dylan R.N. Crabb
The study of human history can reveal insights into human conditions and instinct which can assist living people in problem-solving and conflict resolution. History books have no shortages of conflict and violence. However; a trend that is often over-looked by the average person (due to the human tendency for short-sightedness) is the decrease of violence in daily life. Take a moment to think about everything you do in a day. If you (as an individual) can live from sunrise to sunset while not worrying about your next food source or defending your person from a violent predator, then you are in a better living situation than 90% of humans throughout history. Violent acts such as mass shootings in public spaces usually hold more media attention than other more positive news stories because of the human tendency to seek out problems, the human tendency to look at the worst aspects of a society even amongst a plethora of benefits. The modern 24-hour news cycle exascerbates this situation where, in a relatively peaceful society, we are literally seeking out trouble.
Consider this: mass outrage in the aftermath of a violent crime is indicative of the taboo nature of these acts in modern, industrialized societies. The fact that there is such outrage against violent criminals means that violent interactions are becoming less accepted in modern societies. What is the probability that you will be victimized in a heinous act of violence? Compare that probability to the probability of victimization in a less industrialized society. Take it a step farther: how often do you go through a day with minimal contact with other people?
American media is hyperfocused on disasters and epic violence. “If it bleeds, it leads,” as the old reporter’s moniker goes but is this really the best way to report news? Is our hyperfocus on disasters making us safer or just more paranoid?
The recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida, is exactly that: tragic. But is it a commonplace occurance? If we can name these mass shooters on our hands, perhaps it is not as commonplace as initially perceived?