Column: Have We All Gone Crazy?

By Maggie Gallagher
UJW Staff Writer

Has our world gone crazy? Is everyone just a violent person waiting to pop? Ever since James Holmes brought an AR15, Glock 40 Caliber, and a Remington 870 into an Aurora movie theater, it seems that random acts of violence are committed weekly.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has reported that violent crime rate has decreased by 18.7 percent from 2003 to 2012. However, this statistic seems to counter the view of Jay Walsh, 23. “For as long as I can remember there has been public violence…I don’t think that the world was any safer when I was younger, I was just less aware of it,” he said.

If the violent crime rate has diminished, why does it feel like it increased or at least stayed constant? Perhaps the constant coverage of violence by the media could be a cause of our sense of increased violence.

Billy Gardell, a comedian and actor, recently talked about the lack of hope and how it is exemplified in the news in his comedy segment, We Need Hope. The line that stuck out to this author the most is when he said, “Can’t even turn on the news that’ll horrify you, right? Murder, death, rape, child abduction, — economy, oil spill, … good luck.” He continues to then talk about the need for hope saying, “Can’t anybody get a cat out of the tree or something I can hold onto?”

This phenomenon is occurring since the news and media industries are continuing to barrage the world with pictures and videos of violence and despair. This idea is agreed upon by Adria Gallagher, 49, who said, “Yes, I agree the numbers are decreased… [its] coverage has increased-mass murders are the news.”

Because of this constant portrayal of violence, people know now how often their lives could be in danger. After various random acts of violence such as the Boston Marathon, and the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut; numerous people began to worry about their safety in schools, marathons, and movie theaters.
Grace Callahan, a Boston resident, commented on this issue by saying, “I feel that public safety has definitely decreased and that things are more dangerous… I don’t feel less safe, but I think there are some people who are more concerned for their well-being and safety.”

Should more people be like Grace and not fear for their safety?

Some may say that violence has become a major issue and worry for everyone due to the media and culture making it the center of attention. Although the number of violent offenses committed has decreased from 1,400,000 cases in 2008 to 1,200,000 cases in 2010; it seems that everything in our culture is centered on violence. The world of video games and movies has come under criticism because of the extreme violence they portray.

Most may not know, but the highest grossing genre of movies is action movies according to Investopedia. The popularity of violence has carried over to video games. The most anticipated games are those that are based on violence, such as Assassins Creed and Call of Duty. Maybe the sense of increased violence is due our culture constantly making people remember the world of violence they often try to forget.

Life is all about our choice to be a citizen of society or let the bad voice in our head rule our world. Maybe not all of us have gone crazy, but those who have change everyone’s world. No one will ever know exactly why people snap, but maybe one day no one will have to worry if their safety is in danger.


Founded in 1975, the Washington Association of Black Journalists is an organization of Black journalists, journalism professors, public relations professionals and student journalists in the D.C., metro area. WABJ provides members with ongoing professional education opportunities and advocates for greater diversification of the profession.