Scoot: Rage in America is getting worse

October 27, 2017 - 11:22 am

Examples of a new rage in America are part of the daily news and while the rage is acknowledged, there appears to be no signs that the root problem is being addressed.

Last night, in the NFL game between the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football, a vicious hit on Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco knocked Flacco out of the game.  And that has not been the only hit to the head of a player that has drawn attention recently.

Five teenagers are in jail today after 2nd degree murder charges were filed against the teens for dropping a 6 lb. rock on the windshield of a car traveling an underpass.  The driver of the car was killed.  The teens range from age 15 to 17 and now face murder charges.  Was that just a teenage prank or was it an expression of rage?

This week, a driver pulled over, stopped and walked over to a cyclist and punched him in the face after a disagreement on the road.  Road rage incidents are now a daily occurrence.

Rage may be an intrinsic part of human reaction to situations, but it seems that the degree and frequency of rage in America has reached a frightening tipping point. 

Communication technology and the many outlets for social media exacerbate every moment of life; but beyond the prevalence of sharing every moment of life, there has been an increase in the intensity of rage in America.

Football has always been a very physical, contact sport, but I don’t recall witnessing as many attempts to hit the head of an opposing player.  And the hits that appear to be blatant targeting to the head in helmet-to-helmet contact seem to be growing more common every season even with the NFL addressing the problem.

In the Dolphins/Ravens game last night, the hit to the head of Joe Flacco appeared to reflect a pattern of rage in the league.  It appears the rage in the context of an NFL game represents the rage that has become an increasing part of every aspect of society.

The road rage you and I experience every day we drive is symptomatic of rage in America.  Here in New Orleans, we have witnessed extensive news coverage of two prominent road rage incidents involving NFL players that led to the use of a gun.  2 people are dead, and many lives have been forever changed.

The hate that I witness firsthand as a radio talk show host is a new phenomenon.  In all the years I have been in radio, I have never experienced the degree of hate that currently lives in politics today.  The hate is so great that people, who consider themselves patriotic Americans, have forsaken their respect for our precious First Amendment in the name of arguing that someone should not express challenging opinions.  And the manifestation of the hate leads to absurd name-calling and personal attacks.

The temptation to blame the tone of President Trump’s words and actions for hate in America is flawed.  President Trump didn’t cause the hate as much as he came along at a time when the act of hating based not on malicious actions but on words of disagreement has been turned into a recreational sport.

There is an unprecedented hate ingrained in every level of life in America; and as good as we have it as a nation, it’s difficult to comprehend the reason.  Most striking is the sense that there is nothing on the horizon suggesting that hate will diminish.  In fact, at this point, there is a greater sense that it will only increase.

From the hits to the heads of football players, to teenagers dropping a rock on a passing car killing the driver, to the outright hate now associated with political disagreement, to every day road rage, rage is now an integral part of living in America.

The temptation is to look to a leader to lower the volume of hate in America, but do we need a leader to change?  Maybe we all need to do a better job of dealing with our own hate and rage. 

As individuals, we have the power to recognize the role hate plays in our society; and we have the power to change.  Respecting others and not taking everything so personally are the keys to change. 

The vicious cycle of hate and rage go from political debates to the roads to the NFL.  America is defined by the collective actions of individuals; and if each of us worked to quell the temptation to manifest our rage, maybe we, as a nation, would appreciate that competition in politics, on the road or in sports can be forceful without being hateful.

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