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A Wish for a Simpler World

I was born in 1990 and had an idyllic childhood where I played outside, went on family adventures, and enjoyed a life often without the use of technology. It was a simpler time where I didn’t spend most of my time using technology and didn’t feel like I was always connected to some device. The next generation will spend most of their time feeling like they’re connected to something with the abundance of new devices out there today.
This isn’t all about technology though. We are also faced with the onslaught of new tragedies that seem to occur on a regular basis now. From this week’s shooting in the Chicago area to the shooting in Texas of a sheriff’s deputy, it seems like the world has continued to evolve into a much more complicated world. What has contributed to such drastic changes in the world? Why is the world such a scary place now?
I think what’s made the world scarier is the fact that we simply can’t manage to get wrong with one another. Some people just can’t use basic courtesy with one another which is something I see frequently at my retail job in a major department store. Countries seem to have vendettas against each other and it seems like wishing for world peace is a fruitless endeavor. Nothing short of a miracle can make the world into a better place for today’s children to grow up in.
I know this sounds very cynical but it’s just that I feel such uncertainty about the state of the world today. I wish the world could be the same simple place it was when I was growing up. We can’t even travel anywhere without doing careful research on the places to avoid when visiting a particular destination. In airports you can’t go anywhere without going through security and having your bags thoroughly checked. It’s been that way in the United States since September 11th and I think it’s going to continue to be this way in the long run.
I have a two year old second cousin and I worry about the world she’s being exposed to. It seems tragedy can spark in the most unlikely of places and that life is just so different than it used to be. My one wish is that one day we can come to some sort of peace with each other. We were always taught in school to treat others with the same respect that they treat us and I just don’t see that as often as I’d like to.
Is a simpler world possible? I think that it could be if we learn to be present with one another and not stay glued to our devices; we would be better off. We could figure out solutions to today’s problems by being engaged and motivated to enact change. We are a generation that can make the world a better place for everyone to live in no matter what their race, class, sexual orientation, or physical condition is. We will be a generation that changes the world and makes things so much better than they are right now.
Already I’ve seen some young game-changers who have done some great things like advocating for a world without gun violence and pushing for gender equality which is still not completely a reality today. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done so that future generations will not be left to survive in a world full of chaos and complex conflicts. Is there a possibility that we can be the generation that makes the necessary changes the world needs? I believe we can be because many of us are well-educated and knowledgeable about the affairs of the world.
Just give my generation the right opportunities and we’ll prove to you that we can be the peacemakers and innovators that are essential right now. We have ideas and thoughts that may surprise you. We are not just people glued to devices that seem to only be interested in celebrity and what’s going on in the world of social media. We are people who genuinely care about the world and want today’s children to grow up in the same simple world that we did.
There have been some interesting initiatives to push youth into becoming more socially engaged and I think that anything that can increase awareness of what needs to be done on a community level is truly a great thing. We can then transcend our community awareness into a greater sense of global awareness. Perhaps we may even consider travelling to areas plagued by conflict and try to change things for the people who live in such regions.
What I think needs to be done first is some introspection and reflection on what matters most to us. We need to find our passions in life and figure out what we want to do with the talents that we have been blessed with. For example I am a writer who can write pieces that can strike people with the words that I use and others are artists, philosophers, and scientists. We can make the world into a place that we all want to live in and we need that sense of empowerment to shape our world into an ideal place to grow up in.
My urgent plea is for us to wake up and realize that anything is possible if we put our minds to it. I never thought that I’d be in the place I am today as I have disabilities that have hindered me in some respects. I have managed to do some great things though and I think that everyone is capable of achieving greatness. We just need to think about what we want to accomplish and soon enough our ideas will come into fruition. Don’t just sit on your good ideas—go out there and turn your ideas into reality. You and many other people will be better off for it.

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The Rise in Crime

It seems like every day now we hear of a tragic crime occurring and we are left to wonder why there has been such an uptick in criminal behavior lately. Already this year, there have been high-profile shootings such as the recent shooting by a “drifter” during a screening of Amy Schumer’s popular movie, Trainwreck and a horrific shooting at a Bible study held in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. People are left to question what is happening to the world and what has led to this trend of criminality.
Some crimes have been attributed to racism or anger at the American political system but all too often crimes seem to happen for no reason at all. These crimes don’t always occur in areas where illicit behavior is a frequent occurrence and can happen at any time in any place in the United States or in overseas locations. Sometimes I feel like this is all I hear about lately on the news and it saddens me when I hear about tragedies that should never have occurred in the first place.
The parents of criminals are left to question whether they did something wrong and why their child would commit such heinous acts. Some may wonder whether they should have their own lawyers defend their child’s actions or allow the child to be defended in court by public defenders or court-appointed defense attorneys. I cannot even fathom how these parents feel when they see that their child has made headlines not for doing something great but for doing something terrible.
What factors contribute to a rise in crime? Is it the location that attracts criminals? Does something psychologically wrong with the criminal influence their desire to commit crimes? Some factors that influence criminal behavior include:
• High Population/Population Density—According to a report by the FBI entitled “Crime in the United States”, areas with large populations and high population density tend to have higher crime rates. Most of the crimes that occur in these areas are residential crimes such as burglaries, car thefts, larceny, and domestic violence.
• Commercial/Business Districts—Areas that have dense commercial areas tend to have more “business-related” crimes occur such as shoplifting, commercial burglaries, forgery, larceny, muggings, and thefts of bikes, cars, and personal objects left in cars.
• Economic Conditions—The United States has been in a terrible recession since the stock market crash in 2007-2008 and poor economic conditions according to a 2002 study by Bruce Weinburg at Ohio State University have a significant impact on crime rates. Weinburg and his colleagues studied crime rates between 1979 and 1997 and found that increases in crime during that period could be attributed to declining wages and increased unemployment. Weinburg held that crime increased with declining wages because there was a greater payoff for criminal activity.
• Climate—In 1984 John Rotton, a psychologist with Florida International University, conducted a study based on 858 cities in the United States and found that hot, dry climates was a significant factor in predicting crime and was as significant a factor as the state of the economy or population density. He found that rapes, robberies, and murders were more likely to occur on warmer days than on colder or rainier days. The FBI’s 2007 “Crime in the United States” report concurred with this by indicating that climate was an influential factor in crime rates.
• Distressed Neighborhoods—Neighborhoods that appear to be neglected and are run-down, covered with graffiti, and disorderly tend to have more crime than more orderly neighborhoods. This is supported by a theory devised in 1982 by two social scientists, George L. Kelling of Rutgers University and James Q. Wilson of Harvard University, referred to as the “broken windows” theory. In essence, the theory holds that when one window of a building is broken and remains broken, eventually all the other windows of the building will become broken. The first broken window symbolizes to citizens that no one cares about the broken window or any of the other broken windows. The remaining unbroken windows become targets of petty crimes which spread in a variety of ways through apathetic neighborhoods. Many studies have confirmed the validity of this theory including a 2008 study by K. Keizer and S. Lindenberg of the University of Groningen.
• Variations in age of the population particularly a large youth concentration
• Stability of the population with regards to ease of residential mobility and commutes
• Available modes of transportation and highway systems
• Cultural factors and academic, poverty level, and job availability
• Conditions of the family including whether there has been divorce in the family and the cohesiveness of the family
• Strength of law enforcement agencies
• Focuses of law enforcement officials in the area
Harold Pollack, the co-director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, remarked on this current upwards trend of criminality when he said, “It’s a little bit like the stock market. These statistics go up and down. It’s like asking why did the stock market go up 75 points today.”
Pollack believes that larger police departments with more officers patrolling the streets contribute to a decrease in crime. What could also impact a decline in crime is the quality of policing and management of the police department. However, what has been documented lately is tensions between police officers and members of particular communities. There have been high-profile cases of police officers killing unarmed black men and it has become a political talking point on whether police reform is needed or whether there is a need for more aggressive policing.
Pollack stated, “Public safety is a joint product of the police and the community, and each side has to trust each other, and when that trust breaks down, it’s very hard for police to do its job and for the community to do its part as well.
Will we one day see a decline in violent crime? In some cities there certainly has been a decline in violent crimes and there is hope that residents of crime-plagued cities will one day be able to sleep peacefully knowing that they are safe and not at risk of being hurt.