"There is an addiction to violence in this world. And it's spiraling out of control."
This was a comment made to an intellectually gifted friend whom I respect though find as annoying as she finds me. Her response:
"Actually, it's not. Statistics show violence is on the decline."
As I personally disdain statistics as being from the minds of nerdy number heads whose emotions and eyes have shut off actual life, I vehemently disagreed. This allowed the annoyance level to rise, which in some way delighted me.
Born number challenged, statistics have little sway with me. Consider that I still don't know my times tables, the blame for which I put on a sadistic teacher. And I can be observed, to my shame, counting on my fingers when doing subtraction. So, it can't be a surprise that I don't rely on that amazingly enduring system which dates back to Egypt around 3100 BC...and may date back even earlier.
So, for lack of understanding and trust for a system that assists putting life in a column, or a bar, or a pie, I use my combined senses to make judgements by allowing them to be attacked on a daily basis by waves of human behavior that can only be described as out of control violence on each other, on other species and on the very planet that sustains us. I hear it every day in angry discourse; I see it frequently in the increasing number of violent films; I taste it in the tasteless foods drained of benefits by corporate killers; I smell it in the toxic air made foul by industry; I suffer the attacks on my sensitivity from the media. I ache with heart break at how little we care for the suffering of others and the animals we cruelly victimize. I wonder in despair at the garbage we throw at the earth and I contemplate its violent revenge. I think of Factory Farming and corporate resistance to GMO labeling and the fat cats fighting against our right to know about any of it. I see it in how passionately we seek access to guns and how easily hunters see killing as sport. I see it in our training of kids to be killing machines we send to war. I see it in the abuse of the young, the elderly and the disabled. In conclusion: I don't hear, see, taste, smell or feel that violence is on the decline. And so to my friend who believes what she reads, I say you are wrong.
Statistics are for me mostly senseless. They are created by those whose senses have long ago been relegated to the back of a dark closet to join other useless things. And then there is Nate Silver, a statistician whose statistics I owe my sanity to during the 2012 Presidential Elections. But for him, I would discount all statistics as another mind game to keep senseless people busy...and a safe distance from violence.