March 28, 2005, on this blog: ‘The increase in violence’
This isn’t really Warren talking. He’s reciting, but not citing. This is all common knowledge, received wisdom, accepted truth. Larry listened to this litany of woes without batting an eye — he found these claims to be self-evident, obvious, unremarkable.
“We’re seeing the increase in violence,” the pastor says, and the newsman nods knowingly. But is this true? Are we, in fact, seeing an “increase in violence”? Are we even looking?
Crime rates, violent-crime rates and murder rates fluctuate, but the trend in recent years has been going down. One could argue, based on such statistics, that we’re actually seeing a decrease in violence. Such an argument could easily be bolstered by taking a longer look back in history: Is life in, say, Kansas City more or less violent than it was 100 years ago? How about life in Five Points?
But all that is beside the point. Those reciting and appealing to the narrative about ever-increasing violence and “things getting more worse” don’t really care much whether or not this narrative is technically true. The point of the narrative is to sell you a solution to the supposed crisis — and it matters little to them whether the crisis is actual or fictional, as long as you perceive the idea of the crisis you will be receptive to the solution they’re selling.