Sunday, June 5, 2022

Bill Crawford: Death Trends Should Give Pause

 Two growing death trends should give us pause – domestic terrorism and deaths of despair.

Here’s a brief snapshot.

“The domestic terrorism caseload has exploded” according to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The greatest terrorist threat we face here in the U.S. is from what are, in effect, lone actors. Because they act alone and move quickly from radicalization to action – often using easily obtainable weapons against soft targets – these attackers don’t leave a lot of ‘dots’ for investigators to connect, and not a lot of time in which to connect them.”

In addition to homegrown terrorists motivated by foreign ideologies, Wray said, “we’re also countering lone domestic violent extremists radicalized by personalized grievances ranging from racial and ethnic bias to anti-government, anti-authority sentiment to conspiracy theories.”

School shootings, such as one in Uvalde, Texas, and other public shootings, such as the one in the Buffalo, New York, supermarket, both last month, fit into this last group. 

As did the shooting at Pearl High School back in 1997. Then 16-year-old 11th grade student Luke Woodham explained his motivation in a manifesto: “I am not insane, I am angry. I killed because people like me are mistreated every day. I did this to show society, push us and we will push back. ... All throughout my life, I was ridiculed, always beaten, always hated. Can you, society, truly blame me for what I do? Yes, you will. ... It was not a cry for attention, it was not a cry for help. It was a scream in sheer agony saying that if you can't pry your eyes open, if I can't do it through pacifism, if I can't show you through the displaying of intelligence, then I will do it with a bullet.”

Meanwhile, deaths of despair from suicide, drug overdose, and alcoholism are on the rise. According to a National Institute of Health study, the largest increases in such deaths occurred among poorly educated rural adults and other adults suffering from economic distress, loneliness and depression. 

A study by the Well Being Trust and the Robert Graham Center reported 1,120 such deaths in Mississippi in 2018. Since then deaths just from drug overdoses have exploded in Mississippi, reaching an all-time high in 2021, according to the CDC. Suicides by teens ages 15-19 have more than doubled over the past decade. On the not-as-bad side, Mississippi has had one of the lower growth rates for alcohol related deaths.

Both research and common sense tell us that domestic terrorism and deaths of despair are driven by strong negative emotions. That trends are increasing for both suggests growing levels of unhappiness and discontent, particularly with regard to our youth. And, yes, that should give us pause from our daily shenanigans.

It is unclear what, if anything, Mississippi is doing to address these trends. Same goes at the national level. With today’s politics more and more driven by anger and division, we can’t expect any broad-based policy initiatives to emerge from that hullaballoo. Indeed, such politics are part of the problem.

If nothing else we should heed this wisdom from the Bible – “Children are a heritage from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3) – and act accordingly.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson


Anonymous said...

The country is just too crowded. It happens with all animals when they are over crowded.
It doesn't make any difference what people blame it on, there will be those people who will not agree.

Anonymous said...

11:45 - Did you ever leave the US? Ever been to Europe or Asia? They are much much much more crowded, and they don’t have these tendencies in violence towards one self or to others to the degree we have. They have their own problems, specially in Asia. Live can be very hard there. Americans just don’t know how good they have it.

Anonymous said...

11:45 am

The overcrowding research you reference relates specifically to how many people are in a limited number of square miles.

There are no doubt parts of every city that are overcrowded in every State and this can affect humans' psychological sense of well being and behavior for the worse.

But, the country is hardly overcrowded.
Indeed, like Mississippi, many States do not enough population to attract businesses and industries that add to prosperity. Indeed, Alaska is so underpopulated, it has the highest numbers of murder and suicide and domestic violence...those people are TOO isolated.

With too little space or too much , the odds are greater than individuals will be isolated from others. And, though we don't like to admit it, we are "pack animals". And, tribal behavior is a form of primitive , animalist behavior in our species.

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when you have a bipartisan ruling class (ironically supported by the author) which does not care for the people over whom they rule.

This is what happens when our ruling class ships domestic jobs overseas while simultaneously flooding the nation with cheap foreign labor.

Don Drane said...

I can't manage to find fault with anything Mr. Crawford said or referenced.

Notwithstanding the nonsense of an 'over-crowded' country, I still firmly believe the only way to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun. Lifting up in prayer the families of dead people doesn't seem to be working. Strict gun laws seem to have the opposite effect and the ignorant among us still pretend to believe the problem is gun-shows, pick-up trucks and clip-capacity.

We can babble from now on about Reagan slashing mental health funding and Red-Flags and gun-purchase age and waiting periods and the irrelevant NRA and still we are faced with the reality that, under present law, we have zero way to seize crazy people and get them off the streets and out of schools. Whether that's due to Republicans or Democrats or both, is up for debate, but it's a meaningless debate.

Anonymous said...

This is all God’s will. America today operates in the service of Satan. Our “leaders” are still laundering money through Ukraine to enrich themselves while offering our children to their pagan gods of sexual perversions. Americans are either too stupid or too brainwashed to contemplate what is going on.

Imagine if Russia built a bioweapons lab in a Mexican border state. Also imagine if Vladimir Putin’s kid was appointed as a highly paid consultant of a Mexican state energy company. That’s literally what we did in Donbas, Ukraine.

Krusatyr said...

America was founded on a distrust of government, precautions to prevent tyranny, individual rights tempered by responsibility and beaucoup opportunities to advance oneself.

The most crowded/perverse, dangerous places are democrat cities who, like rats, go berserk and feed on themselves.

Let's save Jackson from those mad, marxist berserkers: hire Aaron Banks for mayor!

Anonymous said...

I stand with @7:00 PM.

Don Drane said...

Not sure what Aaron Banks could do for Jackson. If that were the solution we could just put a San Francisco 49ers uniform on Kenny Stokes and pretend he's a pulling-guard.

George Flaggs is actually what is needed to save Jackson.

Anonymous said...

There is no question that domestic terrorism is out of control. However, those engaged in domestic terrorism, especially racially motivated acts beginning with Dylan Roof are not lone wolves. They see themselves as part of a movement. The assault on the capital clearly demonstrates domestic terrorism is not the act of lone wolves. The far right internet sites, and the wealthy right-wing nuts who own and/or control the right wing media serve as organizational points for our domestic terrorists.

Arming teaches is an insane idea. Almost 2 dozen armed police were afraid to confront a terroist with an AR-15. We want a 22 year-old women with a pistol to take command of such a situation? Either the police in charge should be charged with involuntary manslaughter, or we need to make radical changes in the dealing with actions that organize domestic terroists and create rational laws relative to purchasing assault weapons/ I vote for the second option.

Anonymous said...

Terrorism is a tactic. Terrorism is the deliberate creation of fear, usually through the use (or threat of use) of symbolic acts of violence, to influence the political behavior of a target audience. The so-called mass shooting incidents in Tulsa, Uvalde, and Buffalo were not terrorism incidents, just criminal incidents where multiple persons were murdered. The shooters were not terrorists, but rather murderers.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:19. We want a 22 year-old women with a pistol to take command of such a situation? Yes, we do. You don't think a woman with a pistol can take out a shooter armed with a semi-automatic rifle? Consider:

"A woman lawfully carrying a pistol shot and killed a man who opened fire on a party with an AR-15-style gun, police say," May 28, 2022, Insider (from article: "A West Virginia woman pulled her pistol on a man who opened fire at a birthday party with an AR-15-style firearm, police said. The woman shot and killed the man. No other injuries were reported, Charleston police said. The man was reportedly mad after he was asked not to speed by the parties, police said.")

Notice the date -- one day after Uvalde. I bet you didn't see the story in the news. I wonder why>

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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