Happy to announce there is no crime wave afflicting the United States. Lawlessness is at such meager levels; our part of the North American continent now hasn’t enjoyed such safety since before the first conquest-driven Europeans set foot on this soil.
Of course, the nation offers plenty of sketchy areas full of that “element” where if the daring or just plain foolhardy seek crime, they’ll find it on likely stolen silver platters.
Americans don’t reside in an Eden, but we are members of society comprised of diverse communities for better or worse, for better and worse. We are not homogenous. We can all see the same sight yet regard it differently. Even absurdly.
While I’m sanguine about a few incidents inflated into a “crimewave,” without a doubt there are multitudes of Americans convinced they stand with feet upon a crumbling precipice which drops into mayhem. The more sensible of us look around at our world and know our situation comparatively ideal.
That view depends on from what source news is absorbed. If it’s a trusted reputable provider, events are nowhere as dire. If gotten from an outlet which has surrendered objectivity to luridness which purposely stokes fear, then it must seem Revelations are nigh coming to pass.
At its simplest, reputable news providers seek to inform. The other side of the coin is hell-bent to influence. And hawk pillows and sell precious metals certificates of dubious value.
Before too much current media forgot its obligations to the public, a favorite journalism axiom ran. “If it bleeds, it leads!”
Oh, indeed, let’s harken back to the entertaining Screaming Headlines Press era. One fully promoted by disillusioned reporters and Hollywood screenwriters. The former jaded by chronicling years of lousy human nature, the latter enamored of scoop-frothing, sensationalism chasing ink-stained wretches.
Ah, the jaundiced romance of being bundled into a telephone booth while filing the latest most shocking episode of the century before any other hacks. Nothing like jaggedly transcribing that scoop over the phone after commanding the newsroom receptionist, “Sweetheart! Get me rewrite!”
Still more impressive, the yarn so captivating that despite type already having been set, deadline already having been met, some grizzled editor demands “Stop the presses!” in order to recompose the front page and necessary news holes.
In real life, even readers who consumed such editions could tell which papers dealt salaciousness and those which verified reportage before printing it. Naturally the “decent” papers were lionized by faithful readers wishing to be kept abreast of what truly mattered.
Not sorry. Before beauty queens, celebrities, and idols renown for simply being known by vapid millions diverted attention from war, famine, and upheavals, what was then “quality press” saw such subjects as trifling, unworthy of serious space or ink. That dreck got left to tabloids.
When the history of American press is discussed, circulation wars primarily involved the tabs. Called that and distinguished by their relative compactness, tabloids, unlike broadsheets could be consumed far easier by readers on the go, on mass transit, because their smaller dimensions eased folding and holding.
Like the messenger itself, what tabloids then presented – and still do – was briefer, punchier, and worried about nuance not at all. Broadsheets could indulge in shades of gray. They offered space, had personnel who could detail when necessary and be contemplative. Tabloid contents remained as black as ink and white as newsprint.
Evaluating a tabloid’s entrails, uh, contents, readers might be right to think the organ sees ethics as a speedbump. A low one gentle on suspensions at that.
Has there been any better instrument for winning eyeballs than tabloids mixed up in circulation wars? At least then no shortage of such newspapers enthralled readers throughout the country. Truth, no, facts, could’ve been fudged to some distance without getting too lost in the realm of being wholly fabricated. Believe me, this sort of extension through conjuring takes talent.
That skill is intentionally missing in what passes for our era’s tabloidization, no, trivialization of news. In this day, opinion, shading, have contaminated what ought just to serve as straight news.
Readers and audiences now get “news fixes,” or, worse, read and hear their biases echoed as fact. Rather than contending with opposing views which displease them and the disturbs the mental status quo where they’ve settled, the reverb that reenforces is a mollifying comfort.
While it’s nowhere as pervasive in print, Fox News and the eruption of right-wing barking head television and radio have rendered huge numbers of Americans numb to scrutiny. Instead, those consumers, so conditioned as they’ve been, so marinated as their minds are by disinformation, misinformation, and deception, their skepticism is debilitating.
No new thoughts, no contrary views, can enter these minds and possibly shove aside the misrepresentations now so deeply rooted they’ve sprouted beyond consciousness into the subconscious. Forget about somehow presenting preponderances of truth in order to clear sight. Such dupes require deprograming.
And here’s where crime in America rattles the gullible. To a lesser extent, illegal immigration as well.
Admittedly there has been a spike in crime nationwide. No, it’s not just an urban malady. Permissive liberal policies? Defunding the police? Other pulled out of the orifice of one’s choice reasons? Nope.
Our crime uptick stems from Covid. If it’s possible to remember, during the virus’ depths we were all under some state’s confinement or limited mobility.
Even thieves and their potential victims.
Which is why already historically low crime rates sunk further. Can’t have any robberies when possible prey and alleged perpetrators are both on ice.
Once restrictions eased then vanished, letting society circulate again, the criminal element much like legitimate businesses sought to restore profits believed withheld by the shutdowns. Each entity has redoubled its efforts to recoup gains believed forfeited under lockdowns.
Inflation, like theft and robbery, will subside. Not the remedy favored by impatient consumers and frightened citizens, but that’s life.
Staying with crime, after decades of seemingly insurmountable insecurity who didn’t sense that sometime in the 1990s all sorts of communities were becoming safer? Naturally law & order types pointed to greater police presences as well as smarter policing. Indeed, those two curbs visibly reduced the menace felt.
However, two other factors mightily contributed towards real safety. Contraception and abortion.
Greater availability of the first and lesser stigma attached to the second let women decide rather than await whatever the brunt of unwanted, unplanned, unprepared pregnancies bore. Amazing how women can make such assessments with clarity. Too bad men lack that vision.
Men, however, remain tops in making uninformed judgments about women.
Nobody can calculate what percentage of those terminated pregnancies robbed society of geniuses. The good guess is infinitely few. Let me disillusion you – forget about any prospective Einsteins emerging from that bunch.
Yes, a decent percentage of, say, inadvertent children just lucked out being nestled between conscientious couples unexpectedly thrust into parenthood. The adults either possess resources, acumen, or the simple will necessary to guide their children towards bright adulthoods. But a higher percentage of mothers and fathers who’ve been suddenly realized parental responsibilities will resent having their futures burdened or thwarted altogether.
Tacit as who knows how many obligatory parents manifest their less love resentments upon inconvenient children, the kids’ sense it. For many it sours their development. Parents who don’t bother masking disdain are the monsters likeliest producing future miscreants and knuckleheads. Or as they’re better known, recidivists.
Contraception and abortion have spared us a good number of them unto today.
The sort of sensationalized dispatches that would’ve further frozen the most cynical bowels of earlier reporters – though the fedora and “women reporters” set would’ve gathered information through shoe leather not online at desks – contributes greatly to our perception of crime amok. Before technology eliminated standards, oh, like fact checking, even the most craven newshound performed at least cursory confirmations. Potential libel judgments will do that.
Now, rumor is news. Gossip, too. Disinformation skates through the most suspect litmus test before it’s also treated as news. Even when debunked, or, and this is quaint, “corrected,” it remains emmeshed in search engines. Those lies never fade.
Just ask anyone who’s been wrongly scandalized then dogged through falsehoods accepted as truth.
We were better off when news rolled off presses than now when we can scroll through orphaned content.