4.06.2009

Symptoms of an Ailing America

There was a time, and it wasn't long ago at all, when the economy was not the heart of this country. There was a time when the heart of America rested in its people, and in their intellect, curiosity and spirit.

Things happened in the first decades of the last century that changed the way we live. They were monumental changes that led to a perception of prosperity in the short term, but 100 years later we're beginning to reap the fruit of that flawed ethos.

We're seeing the miscues of largess in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. We see it in big-ticket technology, in automotive production, in the gaps we've created in funding education and health care.

That last failing was illuminated in what can only be characterized as a heart-wrenching piece that aired last night on 60 Minutes. If you have the time and the constitution, watch the clip below.



There's a perception in the global community that we have it easy in America--that we're the antithesis of Thoreau's "lives of quiet desperation."


But take a look at this tally:

  • March 10, Samson, Alabama: Michael McLendon kills ten people and commits suicide.
  • March 22, Oakland, California: Lovelle Mixon couldn't find work. He subsequently killed four police officers after a routine traffic stop.
  • March 29, Santa Clara, California: Devan Kalathat kills his two children and three other relatives, then kills himself at a housewarming party.
  • Matrch 29, Carthage, North Carolina: Robert Stewart kills seven elderly patients and a nurse at a nursing home. He was trying to kill his estranged wife.
  • April 3, Binghamton, NY: Jiverly Wong lost his job. He was frustrated with "people picking on him for his limited English." He barricaded an immigrant-education center and killed thirteen people before taking his own life.
  • April 4, Pittsburgh, PA: Richard Poplawski lost his job. Fearing the Obama administration would ban guns, he dressed up in body armor and started to raise hell. When the police showed up, he killed three of them.
  • April 5, Graham, Washington: After learning his wife would leave him for another man, James Harrison killed his five children and himself.

Look at that list. Not even a month elapsed from the first depraved act to the last...

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