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Tio Hardiman Headshot

Unemployment and the United States Homicide Rate

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High levels of violence have impacted the entire world over the last century. As a matter of fact, all you have to do is turn on the daily news and you can watch at least one or two stories about someone being murdered or shot everyday.

Were most of the perpetrators' unemployed or did they plan to shoot or kill someone because they were already premeditating an act of violence? There were many jobs created during the Industrial Revolution in the United States and many immigrants fought for their jobs. During the time immigrants were fighting for jobs back in the 1800s and early 1900s there were groups of young men called "gangsters" who formed organized crime units and their main job was extortion, murder, organizing gangs, prostitution, gambling, and running bootleg liquor.

Did these individuals rob banks and kill people because they did not have a job or because they were already thinking violently? If you are taught violence on a regular basis then your kids will model violent behavior. Millions of people immigrated to the United States in search of a better life. One can almost understand why the immigrants fought and killed for control of the job market back in the 1800s and 1900s as displayed in the movie Gangs of New York. What is the excuse now?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 1991-2010 the annual unemployment rate increased from 6.8 percent to 9.6 percent. The FBI Uniform Crime Reports shows during the period from 1991-2010 that the homicide rate per 100,000 people dropped from 9.8 to 4.8 nationwide -- leading one to believe that violence is all about the way people think and not totally connected to high unemployment. Several murderers would have murdered someone if they were working or not. The unemployment rates and homicide rates are subject to change in some inner city communities by ethnicity and levels of poverty.

However, if young men and women are taught violence and create a system where violence is the norm then you will always have high levels of violence in some communities no matter how many jobs you create.

We as a nation should take a closer look at treating violence as a public health issue and invest the necessary resources to work on changing behaviors regarding violent thinking. People need help with working out everyday situations that can lead to violence. Everybody needs a positive outlet to help them channel all of their negative energy in order to get past old habits that lead to acts of violence over the pettiest issues.

We can hire everybody in the world but if we fail to change the way people think about violence then violence will continue to spread like an infectious disease. It takes an entire village to raise one child without teaching them violence.