After a crazy weekend I needed some downtime and choose to do so with a book. A friend has given me two large boxes of books to pass on for her and of course I had to see what was in each. I picked up a book titled Wilding of America. While I shouldn’t have been surprised by what I read, I realized I recognized a lot of the principles in this. What surprised me was that I hadn’t put together that the answer to many of our social ills can be found in living a simpler life. Could it really be that simple?
First, I should explain that Wilding defines the crime and violence in our society. From the stories of Susan Smith who drowned her two sons because the man she wanted didn’t want children, to the Menendez brothers who shot their parents to inherit the family money to Wall Street and even the politicians who are tainted by money or the drug dealers seeking a better life.
It’s the story of rags to riches. Believing the American Dream should be available to us without any effort. These stories reminded me of my eldest son when he turned 16. he believed his birthday guaranteed he would receive his drivers license. Unfortunately, I believed a license should be earned and only after a teen proves he or she is responsible enough. As an adult he agrees with me now, but it wasn’t so then.
It is the same issue with most of the crime we hear about or witness around us. I used to predict a string of bank robberies each holiday season if the economy was struggling. Unfortunately, I was usually right. Why because when people are out of work and still want to be Santa for their children many will go to extreme measures to make that happen. (I used to work as a bank teller for a period of time, and saw the correlation)
What about when Starter Jackets first came out and children/teens were being robbed for their coats? They were expensive and people wanted the newest craze. Don’t get me started on the Black Friday violence to get one of the “limited number available” items. You can read my rant on Black Friday here if you are interested.
I had various dreams along the way in my life as well. I wanted a piece of land in the country and my own horses. I dreamed of owning a Corvette Stingray and a Jeep. I dreamed of having a creek along my property that I could canoe on each morning before heading off to work.
But I modified my dream to fit my reality.
What was the answer to the Wilding in the book? Community. It seemed so simple when I read it. Instead of wanting more and more riches, the answer could be as simple as connecting with our neighbors. Living a simpler life, not driven by keeping up with the Joneses. To want less in a financial sense and more in a sense of connectedness.
Could it really be that simple? I believe for me redefining the dream allowed me to stop wanting more stuff and be happy with what I had, but then no matter how bad things got I never considered robbing a bank to have the perfect Christmas for my family either, so maybe I’m wired differently.
What do you think? If you live in a close knit community do you see a reduction in the amount of crime and violence around you compared to other neighborhoods? What do you think the answers are to the causes and solutions for the crime we see?