Has America Gone from on the Brink to Over the Edge?

With Americans emerging cicada-like from the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, one would think that this would be a time of joy as we resume participating in all of the things that make life worth living.

But rather than embracing in a positive way our newly-rediscovered freedom after 15 months of restrictions, it would seem as though we have lost our collective minds.

Fights and other outbreaks of violence, once rare in our airports and on airplanes, have become so commonplace and dangerous that two airlines, American and Southwest, have decided to halt all sales of alcohol until September.

Mass shootings are more prevalent than ever all across the country thanks to the easy access to high-powered weaponry in many states.

Drug overdose deaths soared in 2020 to record heights and show no sign of abating.

Random hate crimes, especially toward the AAPI and Jewish communities, have soared in the past year.

Our political discourse has not been this divisive since 1861, when the Confederates fired on Ft. Sumter to start the Civil War.

We finally can travel, but who wants to venture to our usual getaway destinations (especially cruise ships with unvaccinated passengers) along with the hordes of other travelers who have the same idea? It’s one thing for airports and flights to be jammed, but the crowds will be huge wherever we might want to go, which only will exacerbate the new epidemic of short-temperedness that seems to be infecting our present emotional state.

Here’s our theory to explain the sudden surge in the general level of unruliness among our nation’s population: After 15 months of being told what to do, some people feel as though they now are entitled to do as they please with no regard for the basic rules of civility that allow us to coexist peacefully.

It’s as though some Americans, in their eagerness to make up for 15 months of lost time, have forgotten how to be polite and respectful of others.

The Orange County District Attorney, speaking at a press conference about the arrests of the two suspects accused in the tragic shooting death of the six year-old boy in a road rage incident on a California freeway, put it succinctly when he stated, “….how quickly we get out of control today and take actions against others….without assuming any personal responsibility.” We may be getting COVID-19 under control, but we are failing at being in control of ourselves

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