I myself am not sure. Are we really living in such violent times? I’ve been thinking about these terrorist attacks, seemingly coming week after week: Paris, California, and here in my Jerusalem. We all cluck cluck about it, “It’s terrible. We can’t feel safe anymore. When is all this violence going to end?” We’re so convinced that something very awful and unusual is taking place.
But I have a question. When in world history has there not been violence? Even a bigger question: haven’t there been periods which were ten times more bloody than now? Just think about it: WWI, WWII, the Vietnam War for the Vietnamese and for Americans, China under Mau, Russia under Stalin. We could go even further back in time to the Middle Ages.
Even for in my lifetime, I remember the 70’s in New York when there were at least five violent murders a day. I was scared to go on the subway, even during the day. During the Vietnam War, I remember the news when they were reporting 50-60 soldiers on the daily casualty report. What about my grandparents and great grandparents living in Eastern Europe? They were living in terror of the next pogrom.
So what’s all the kvetching? I think we’re all brainwashed by Hollywood and our politicians to think that there was a mythical, peaceful, perfect time. The time of Ozzy and Harriette. The time of Ike Eisenhower. When America ruled the world and we all lived so cozy and safe on leafy streets in our split-levels.
So what’s my point? I don’t think these are particularly violent times. I think we’re just comparing it to some fictional picture of utopian times that never even happened. Of course, the CNNs, BBCs, and Foxes only reinforce this message.
So let’s all just grow up a little. It’s not so bad and trust me, if you think it’s bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet.