Social Problems: Babies Do Not Want To Be Crack Addicts!
The United States of America, arguably the most powerful nation on Earth: defenders of liberty, champions of social justice, and seemingly incapable of handling their own internal issues. Or do those states simply not care?
What does a doctor do when confronted with a patient dying of cancer and also suffering from ingrown toenails? In the case of the United States of America, the patient is treated with a lotion to soothe the pain of the toenail and the cancer goes untreated. It seems that this has always been the course of treatment.
The social ills in this country have always been tucked in a corner to be dealt with at a later time. The issue of slavery during the founding of this nation was shelved for a better time, but that better time never came. Poverty is something that happens to other people and as long as that is the case then let’s not bother with it. Crime? Yes, we have crime, but we also have prisons and as long as we have those then really, what’s the problem? Poor education system? Yes, we have that, but what do we expect our leaders to do? They are too busy protecting the fat cats who keep them in office. Struggling economy? Yes, we certainly have that, but our imports are helping China so no worries Mate!
Not since the Great Depression have our nation’s leaders concerned themselves first and foremost with the basic needs and problems of the citizenry. For far too long this nation has been reactionary in its actions rather than progressive. Too much crime? Build more prisons! Poor education? Lower the standards so everyone passes! Too much poverty? Well, we haven’t found a band aid for that cancer yet, but we’re working on it, right?
The problems are escalating and the answers are diminishing and that is not a recipe for success, not for a nation that purports to be the greatest on Earth.
So let’s look at those numbers and then we’ll take a look at progressive action rather than reactionary.
What does their future look like?
There are more than one million prostitutes in the United States. Worldwide there are forty million. 78% of all prostitutes are women and the average age of entry into the profession is….13 years of age.
The world’s “oldest profession is a $100 billion business and is legal in much of the world. It is also an incredibly dangerous profession, with the life-expectancy of a prostitute twenty years less than the average.
National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Drug Addiction Treatment in the United States | National Institute on Drug Abuse
Treatment for drug abuse and addiction is delivered in many different settings, using a variety of behavioral and pharmacological approaches. Drug addiction is a complex disorder that can involve virtually every aspect of an individual's functioning:
There are currently 22.6 million Americans over the age of twelve who are illicit drug users. The illegal drug market is the largest business in the United States. Stop and think about that for one minute. There is no accurate way to determine the exact number of drug addicts and alcoholics in the United States, but rough estimates put the number at 17 million alcoholics and 8 million drug addicts.
There are currently 30,000 gangs in the United States with an estimated 800,000 gang members. In 1992 there were only 100,000 gang members. In the last 20 years, in L.A. County alone, there have been 15,000 gang-related deaths. 50% of the gangs in the U.S. are Latino; the remaining 50% are spread among other ethnicities.
In 2010, the last year when figures were available, there were 2,266,800 adults in prisons across the United States. There were an additional five million in the parole system and another 71,000 juveniles in the juvenile detention system. The cost of the prison system in this country alone is $60 billion per year.
Can You Hear The Cries For Help?
- Social Problems: A Call To Arms
What is the greatest danger in today's society? Read on for one man's opinion on that topic.
SOCIAL PROBLEMS….YEP, WE’VE GOT THEM!
To say that the United States has social issues is like saying a dog has fleas. It is such common knowledge that it practically goes unnoticed in the Land of the Free. We acknowledge it and then we lock our doors at night and hope it does not affect us.
Our solution as a country is incarceration and it is failing miserably. Prisons and local jails are overflowing with prisoners, so much so that early release is encouraged in many jurisdictions. In other words, as a society we recognize that there are problems, so we lock away the problems, but there are so many problems that we unlock the cells and let the problems roam free early. It is a revolving door and an endless cycle, so we lock our doors at night and hope it does not affect us.
Reactionary solutions are obviously not working.
CHILDREN ARE NOT BORN HOPING TO BE CRIMINALS, ADDICTS, OR PROSTITUTES
Take all of the statistics listed above and then realize this: not one of those addicts or criminals were born that way. There was not a single one of them who, when they could first speak, asked their mothers or fathers to teach them how to be prostitutes or alcoholics or criminals.
If we can accept that last statement as the truth then we have to ask ourselves how does this happen? How do children become addicts, bank robbers, gang members, murderers and prostitutes?
Yes, I know, there are sociopaths and psychopaths roaming among us, but certainly that only explains a small proportion of the lost souls we see daily. Do the math! One in every ten people in the United States falls under one of the categories listed above. Am I the only one shocked by that number? This is a societal epidemic and it is growing and as a country we have no solution other than to jail them all.
So how did this happen?
I am going to venture forth here with my own opinion; I believe the two greatest problems which have led to this epidemic are poor parenting and poverty.
A Few Tips for Parents
- Parenting Guide For Idiots
Some very simple rules on parenting from a man who winged it every single moment that he was a parent.
This one should come as no surprise to anyone. I’m not sure when it happened, but parenting skills have diminished over the past few decades. We have become a lenient society. Part of the problem, for sure, is the fact that there are a great many single-parent households. The demands put on a single parent are enormous, and after the job has been done and the household chores have been completed, there is less time available to devote to parenting.
Even in two-parent households, if both parents are working full-time we once again have a situation where the kids are not getting the quality parenting they need. However, there also seems to be a trend towards more lenient parenting, and I have to lay this right on the doorstep of the 60’s Generation. You all remember that generation, right? Rebellion did not happen only in the streets; we saw more and more rebellion in the homes, and eventually those rebellious kids grew up and swore they would never raise their children the way they were raised.
We then moved on to Generations X, Y, and Z, and the parenting skills were further watered down until today we find rudderless kids with no concept of direction, morality, or proper skills for interacting with others. There is an increased number of children who feel entitled, and the concept of paying your dues is a foreign one at best.
Raising children is a full-time job if done properly. At an early age children learn the difference between right and wrong. At an early age children embrace love and all that it entails. If they cannot find the attention and love they need, they will go elsewhere to find it, and whatever morality they learn will be learned from their peer groups.
We have crossed a line in this country and it is a line that is very difficult to re-cross. When children are not the number one priority in a family then something needs to change, and if it doesn’t change then problems will arise, and we are seeing those problems in today’s society.
For the purpose of definition, the poverty level in the United States is considered $22,314 for a family of four and $11,139 for an individual.
With that in mind, 46 million Americans are living at or below the poverty level, and 27% of children are living below the poverty level. Breaking it down by race, 9.9% of whites are living in poverty; 27.4% blacks; 26.6% Hispanics; and 12.1% Asian.
Looking at it another way, the poverty level for married couples is 6.2%; for single mothers the rate is 31.6%.
These statistics raise some interesting questions and observations, and I am not here to debate politics nor am I here to debate the need for social programs. I am simply making an obvious statement that crime is traditionally higher in depressed areas. It is a simple fact that when people are living in poverty, they will do anything necessary to find a way to survive, and yes, that includes crime.
Add to that the fact that the level of education is generally lower in poverty areas. Poor districts pay lower teacher wages, which in turn means less-qualified teachers and less money for special programs. Poor education means less chance of gaining employment and we are right back where we started....people will do anything to survive.
The only question I have as a tax-paying citizen is this: how can this type of poverty exist in a nation that claims to be the greatest on Earth? If this type of poverty exists, and it does, why isn’t the number one priority of the government to do everything possible to help the citizens?
I feel as though I am beating a dead horse. If we can spend billions of dollars on foreign aid, and we do, then why can’t we aid our own citizens?
Do you want proactive? How about if we make it a priority to put people back to work in this country? A national infrastructure initiative to improve bridges, highways, pipelines and sewers would cost an estimated $2.2 trillion, but in the process would put millions of Americans back to work. Yes that number is high, but so is the $700 billion spent on the defense budget. Critics will say that defense spending is necessary to protect us from foreign harm, and that is fine. My question is who is going to protect us from the harm we face each day in our cities?
The numbers of crimes, gangs, drug addicts and prostitutes do not surprise me at all; in fact, I’m a bit surprised the numbers aren’t greater. When people cannot work….when people are not parented…when people will do anything necessary to survive….then the problems we currently face should come as no surprise.
I in no way condone prostitution, criminal activity, gangs or addiction. I do, however, understand how and why they happen. I do not live in some self-constructed Utopia where I believe everything will be better if we all just love one another, because that simply will not happen. I do, however, believe we can take a huge step forward by lessening poverty in this country and returning to some old-fashioned values regarding parenting.
During my years of teaching I saw far too many sweet,loving kids have their lives turned inside-out from abuse and neglect. I have had four students commit suicide. One is a prostitute, if she is still alive. Two that I know of are in gangs. One died in prison. It makes me sick to think about it and I can't stop thinking about it. No caring human being should stop thinking about it.
Children are not born wishing to be criminals or rejects of society. Behavior of that sort is a learned behavior, or a behavior that appears, to them, to be the only way to survive.
If you want the social ills of this nation to improve then you need to give the citizens a reason to hope; without hope then all bets are off!
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)