Sadly, it’s inevitable. Whether it’s here in the good old U.S. or in another equally “civilized” country. What’s the reason? Yeah, you can bang away at so-called social maladies like gun proliferation or mental illness or both, and that’s only part of the story. The real cause for all the shooting mayhem, violence, and social discontent is population growth.
Just in my lifetime alone the U.S. population has grown from 155 million in 1951 to 320 million today.
Increased people on this planet.. or in this country.. will lead to increased social problems. More people will lead to more people buying more guns. More people leads to much wider affects from social problems (unemployment, poor economy, political divisiveness, religious extremism, etc.) that can spawn yet more mental illness. More people mean more market stresses and rapid shifts in purchasing demands that become less predictable thusly creating more stress. More people simply makes people live closer to each other and when you bump elbows with your neighbor (in a figurative or real sense) people get edgy and fearful of their own survivability and loss of individuality… and personal freedoms. In this country, the relative sudden influx of foreign nationalities, whether permitted or not, and easily recognizable because of physical differences, also adds to a real or perceived perception of outside threats to our traditional national identity. Toss into all this the technological achievement in sending news, rumors, and ideology throughout the world in an instant, affecting life even further. This isn’t going to get any better.
Hell, we can’t even escape the effects of devastating weather or other forces of nature. Forget global warming for the moment. In any average weather year, more people means more people expand into vacant land areas.. and the more inhabited land means a greater chance of the forces of nature turning once rural land into the next multi-billion dollar disaster area. More people want government to bail them out.
Then there’s… more people will spawn new diseases, and spread them very rapidly (likely humanity’s Achilles heel).
If that isn’t frustrating enough by itself, we can’t do anything about it. We can’t regulate population growth, engage in social genocide, initiate programs of infanticide; we can’t even keep control of our political borders to limit immigration given the population increases abroad. What we have left is bogging us down but sadly seems the only way to “deal with the problem” rather than attacking the root cause, which seems impractical. We go after the individual elements, like gun control, mental health, etc.
If you recall the movie, Jurassic Park, there was that scene inside the lab when the technician is explaining to Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) about the inability of the dinosaurs to breed because of the genetic manipulation of the chromosomes.
Technician: You’re implying that a group composed entirely of female animals will… breed?
Dr. Ian Malcolm: No, I’m, I’m simply saying that life, uh… finds a way.
I think that’s the crux of this whole discussion. While some of us humans are bound by religious faith in divine intervention, science teaches us that evolution has a history of correcting itself, or in the least adjusting to changing forces of nature. Life evolves or perishes.
From Jurassic again…
Dr. Ian Malcolm: John, the kind of control you’re attempting simply is… it’s not possible. If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it’s that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, uh… well, there it is.
My point is that, maverick asteroids, invading aliens, global warming aside, it’s likely the problem with human population growth will be solved by disease. Whether incubated in the wilds of some Third World animal pen or some mistake of science (intentional or otherwise), then mutated onto humans, it will spread like wildfire given our transportation system.
PHEW! So all this doom & gloom just says the human race is likely doomed, or in the least, reduced to levels that wouldn’t support a Wal-Mart. Well….. the fact is, it’s not likely humanity will expire anytime soon, and we are still left with people who will kill other people, and our children, randomly or specifically. My whole point here is to understand the greater cause for human violence and suffering is an increasing population. Armed with that broad-based concept we might find some common denominator to aid us in trying to control the things that occur in our society that seem uncontrollable. This may involve changing how we live and maybe even re-defining our government. In other words, we evolve or die. Our major battle might be yet to come. Right now it seems our struggle is to maintain social order. In the future the greater battle could be the struggle to rearrange our lives… government… to achieve social order within a growing population.
Life… uh, finds a way.