In order for a society to function, there has to be a certain level of trust. Each day when we leave our homes, we take for granted that most people are not going to attack us for no reason, that there will only be isolated incidents of theft in our community and that rioting and violence are not going to erupt in the streets. Whether we realize it or not, we depend on the fact that the vast majority of the people around us are going to act in a civilized manner. Unfortunately, the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is starting to disappear. When I was growing up, I was taught that challenging times reveal our true character. There are many that believe that the declining economy is causing a lot of the chaos that we are now witnessing, but perhaps what is going on is that these challenging economic times are simply revealing the character that has been there all along. For decades, a "false prosperity" that was fueled by unprecedented amounts of debt has masked a lot of the internal rot that has taken hold in America. But now that our prosperity is crumbling, our lack of values is becoming startlingly clear.
Greed, corruption and extreme self-centeredness have deeply infected our society. We see this on Wall Street and in Congress, and we see this among those that are trying to survive on the mean streets of our largest cities.
Our nation is breaking down on every level. If by some miracle we were able to fix our economy, that would mask our problems for a while, but it would not solve them.
Unfortunately, as I write about nearly every day, there are a whole host of indications that our economy is about to get even worse. When it does, millions of Americans will become even more desperate, and as we are now seeing all over this country, desperate people do desperate things.
The following are 22 signs that the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is starting to disappear....
#1 In Detroit, 100 bus drivers recently refused to drive their routes out of fear for their own personal safety. An article posted on the website of the CBS affiliate in Detroit is quoting the head of the bus drivers union, Henry Gaffney, as saying that the drivers are "scared for their lives"....
"Our drivers are scared, they're scared for their lives. This has been an ongoing situation about security. I think yesterday kind of just topped it off, when one of my drivers was beat up by some teenagers down in the middle of Rosa Parks and it took the police almost 30 minutes to get there, in downtown Detroit," said Gaffney.
#2 In Wilmington, Delaware recently, a man offered to help someone carry a television down the street, but quickly realized that it was his own television which had just been stolen out of his house....
A Wilmington resident who stopped home for lunch about noon today saw a man carrying a flat screen TV down the street and asked the man if he needed help.
He then recognized the television as his own, looked up and saw the door to his home ajar, said Master Sgt. Adam Ringle.
#3 Shocking video has surfaced of a young thug walking up to a defenseless elderly man in a Chicago subway station and knocking him out cold. In the video, the friends of the young man are cheering him on and laughing at how easy it was to knock the old man out cold.
#4 Beating up old people for no reason seems to be catching on all over the country. Just check out the following report from a recent article posted on philly.com....
AN 84-YEAR-OLD ex-university official savagely attacked by four young punks during a walk in Wissahickon Valley Park earlier this week theorizes that the beating he endured was a cruel game of "get the old geezer."
Jim Shea, a former vice president of university relations for Temple, from 1968 to 1983, walks up to five miles on Forbidden Drive, in Fairmount Park, three times a week, but that type of stamina wasn't enough to stave off the lowlifes who not only beat him bloody, but dealt a blow to one of the things he holds most dear - his pride.
#5 All over the United States, police are wailing on Occupy Wall Street protesters with clubs and liberally using pepper spray on them. Whatever you may think of the Occupy Wall Street protests, the reality is that this is not a sign that things are becoming "more stable" in America. You can see video of one very disturbing confrontation right here.
#6 Clashes between police and protesters in Oakland, California recently became so violent that at one point the streets of Oakland resembled a war zone.
#7 Unfortunately, as the American people become increasingly frustrated with out system many of them are actually starting to consider violence as a solution. According to one recent survey, 31 percent of all Occupy Wall Street protesters "would support violence to advance their agenda".
#8 In New York recently, a confrontation between two female customers and a frustrated cashier ended with the cashier beating the living daylights out of them with a metal rod. The following is how a local CBS affiliate in New York described this incident....
It appeared to have started when two female customers argued and yelled obscenities at the cashier when he questioned a $50 bill they gave him.
One of the female customers then slapped the cashier. A woman is then seen jumping over the counter while the other woman goes behind the register.
That's when the cashier can be seen on the video disappearing into the back of the fast-food restaurant. He comes back with a metal rod and begins hitting the women.
You can see video of this violent confrontation right here.
#9 These days, many Americans are so "on edge" that just about anything will make them snap. For example, a 60-year-old woman in New Mexico recently repeatedly stabbed her boyfriend because she thought that he was cheating during a game of Monopoly.
#10 If you thought that the above example was crazy, just check out what one man down in Georgia did recently. He actually firebombed a Taco Bell because they did not put enough meat in his Chalupa.
#11 In Cleveland last week, a 49-year-old man was sent to the hospital after a poll monitor working for the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections tried to bite his nose off.