Things aren’t getting worse, they’re getting more obvious


On nearly every statistical measure, human society has improved dramatically over the last few decades. War, famine, disease, poverty, infant mortality are all down globally. Violent crime, cancer, teen pregnancy, abortion, drug use are all down nationally. Some of these truths come as a shock to people for one reason: media.

We have 24-hour news networks and social media that act like megaphones for tragedy. Every time someone gets shot, especially when multiple people do, it’s a breaking news event. And every time it’s tragic. But it’s not more common.

Gun deaths have been declining since the early 1990s. Mass shootings, depending on how they’re defined, are even more rare, though by definition prone to spikes.

Unfortunately this year might prove to break the trend on one unfortunate statistic: police gun deaths. Due mostly to the recent massacres in Dallas and Baton Rouge, on-duty police deaths are up nearly to their full-year level last year. Overall, cop assassinations have been on the decline for some time, so hopefully this horrific year will prove to be just an outlier and not the start of a reversing trend.

However, this brings up a larger point, one that’s been an undercurrent of the Black & Blue debates over the last couple years, but one that’s not new. Even if these statistics are getting better, especially the cop violence ones, it doesn’t mean justice is done or peace is achieved. Improving, maybe, but not solved.

True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr made that observation in his 1958 book, Stride Toward Freedom.

Justice is a positive state. On an individual level, it is achieved when restitution is provided for a crime committed, whether it be through monetary reparations or criminal conviction. On a societal level, MLK believed it is achieved by true equality of opportunity and conditions between black and white citizens. While some things are getting better, despite appearances, we’re definitely not there yet.

They still hate and fear us, its just harder to see because they’re more polite about it. Just because there’s not a war doesn’t mean there’s peace.

That one’s not MLK, it’s Mystique of the X-Men in this year’s cataclysmic Apocalypse.

She was referring to the battle between mutants and humans, not black and white Americans or black Americans and police, but the argument is the same.

People have become more outwardly polite over the years. Violence is down, racial epithets are rarer than they used to be. But we see the bad stuff more on TV and Twitter. There’s still not true peace or justice, despite mostly improving conditions. This year’s escalation of the War on Cops™ proves that.

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