There is a great deal of meanness going on out there, don't you agree? Victims are asking what in this world has happened to America's ethics, morals and individual respect for one another. What has caused crime to increase in some of our nicest suburbs? Have educators, parents and social institutions failed to teach young people how to behave and respect their neighbors?
Media reports tell us what is going on in the community. Murders, assaults, robberies, sex crimes and all manner of violations of the law. People driving with expired or no licenses. Drug and alcohol related crimes are very common. There is a breakdown of law and order.
Some people no longer feel safe on their streets or in their homes. Thieves are terrorizing some neighborhoods, throwing stones through windows and burglarizing residences. Local builders can tell you about their problems and financial losses. Just ask any contractor how many air conditioners he has lost in homes under construction. Ask him how many of his homes have been vandalized and how much copper has been stolen out of his walls. Ask him if he can keep appliances in his homes under construction.
And, in some new homes, residents have already been vandalized or burglarized. Their cars have been broken into while parked in the driveway.
Who is causing this crime? All manner of people who have problems. They may be too lazy to work and want something for nothing. Perhaps they dropped out of school, did not prepare themselves for good jobs, cannot find work and live by stealing the fruits of another's labors. Some are street gangs, hanging out in neighborhoods, peddling drugs or looking for trouble.
Bored teens vandalize mailboxes, spray paint houses/automobiles and throw rocks through windows - stealing whatever is visible and easily accessible. The poor economy hurts.
Victims are fearful of living in a community teeming with disobedient, unmanageable and destructive youngsters. The parents of these youngsters probably work outside the home, leaving offspring alone at home and have little for them to do considered productive. When these misfits get into trouble, some mothers and fathers are quick to say "I cannot do anything with them."
Maybe this is true. If discipline is neglected in the early years, it cannot be imposed years later with sound results. Some young criminals have biological, physical or psychological problems. Perhaps they are burdened by defective heredity. Others are dominated by the pleasure principle having been spoiled all of their lives. When their needs are no longer met, they resort to crime. Economic conditions, alcohol, drug problems, poor home life and lack of education contribute to criminality.
We have to give credit to our police, firefighters and public servants who face rapid growth and budget cuts. They serve us well under the circumstances. Yes, we have problems. Perhaps we should work together harder to solve these problems.
Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author, and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.