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Tue, Sep 02, 2014 07:45 AM
Issue of August 27, 2014

A hope note
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A hope note
Dr. Wayne Willis reflects on life and hope.

Escaping the news

October 02, 2013 | 09:42 AM

I literally scratched my head and groaned after watching the first 10 minutes of the evening news.

Earlier in the day, I read national crime statistics showing that murder, rape, armed robbery and other violent crimes in the United States nosedived during the past 20 years. The homicide rate fell a whopping 50 percent; property crimes dropped 64 percent.

Back in 1994, the Gallup survey found that more than 50 percent of Americans said crime was the nation's biggest problem. In a recent Gallup survey, that number had plummeted to 2 percent.

Why is violent crime way down? Is it because more police are on the streets or more bad guys are in prison? We don't fully know. Historians a generation from now will be better positioned to analyze why.

Notwithstanding, why were the first four reports on the evening news about brutal, ghastly things local humans had done to each other? Is this region an aberration, with violence rampant only around here? Is violent crime so rare now that reporters have to seek it out? Do companies, anxious about ratings and their own extinction, seek out the grisliest stories they can find to keep viewers and save their jobs?

If an alien landed on Earth and watched the evening news, it surely would conclude that, at this time at this dot on this planet, the human race has evolved very slowly and loves torturing and killing other humans.

Does watching exclusive, breaking news of one more blood-splattered wall and wailing relatives do something deleterious, even irrevocable, to our psyches? Are we like our ancestors who packed coliseums to enjoy blood sports? Is media feeding us a distorted view of humanity?

Might our time be better spent gardening, taking a brisk walk, playing with a child or writing a memoir?

Dr. Wayne Willis


  1. print email
    In answer to your final question...
    October 03, 2013 | 01:23 PM

    I'd answer with an emphatic YES! Thanks for your column, Dr. Willis. Always enjoyable.

    Nathan Broom
  2. print email
    Two words
    October 10, 2013 | 09:25 AM

    More Guns.

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