I'm not at all certain just how you accurately gauge the decline in civilization but I know it when I see it. We can discuss until we're blue in the face exactly why violence is such a part of our society. Experts tell us that poverty (the oldest excuse in the books), lack of a two-parent households or the media are somehow to blame for the ever-increasing level of violence within our society.
Those experts are wrong.
The key ingredient to a crumbling society is the lack of accountability and respect. There is simply no other answer. But mandating accountability and respect is impossible. And therein lies the problem.
Scanning the headlines this week, I came across the story of the Ohio teenager who killed his mother and wounded his father in a dispute over a video game. It seems the boy's parents were concerned with his obsession over a highly violent video game. Words were exchanged and in the heat of the dispute, the teen shot both of his parents.
What I found interesting and sobering was the attempt by the teen's lawyer to blame his addiction to the video game as some sort of rationale for his violence. His lawyer said the youth was "less responsible" because of the video fascination.
Accountability and respect. Remember those two words.
This is yet another in a growing list of excuses given for violent actions - in this case fatal actions. It is a disservice and another lame excuse offered to society on why some resort to violence.
No apologies were offered. No background of abuse that would explain - though not justify - such actions. Just another case of pointing the finger of blame at something other than the brutal action that it was.
In virtually every instance where violence occurs, there seems to always be some excuse. And yet when those excuses are examined, the truth is that someone made a poor or evil decision and they made that decision on their own. It wasn't a video game in this case. It was the irrational, violent, uncaring, selfish decision of one person to take the life of another.
Let's quit making excuses. Society is not to blame for these acts of violence. It is an individual decision - albeit a poor one - and all of the excuses are an insult to the victims.
The story of this savage teen is not that he took a life. The story is that he now seeks to diminish his guilt, to blame something else for his own decision.
If this teen were the only person making weak excuses for his action, that would be one thing. But we all know that virtually every similar case carries its own excuse.
And in the end there is no accountability and no respect.