Several months ago I was listening to the radio while the announcer talked about the German pilot who crashed a passenger plane into the Himalayan Mountains. Before the evidence was even collected or the facts of the case exposed, the announcer was discussing additional rules regarding the selection process of commercial pilots. There is little doubt that what happened was a terrible event and should be avoided at all cost, but I wonder when we will reach the number of rules needed to protect us against the random craziness of individuals. I find it hard to believe that the German airline, as well as any airline, does not spend considerable time vetting its potential pilots. In today’s world with unfettered access to the internet it has become much easier to determine if a person has prior episodes that would determine the applicant unsuitable for a position. That said, we as a society continue to create additional measures to attempt to decide if a person is suitable for a position.
I can mention several situations that might call out for additional rules to further vet applicants. What about teachers who take advantage of their students in sexual ways? How about the Catholic priests who take advantage of the young boys? Remember the Air Force officer with a psychiatric degree that gunned down several people on a military base. He was supposed to help to avoid that type of situation! Are you seeing a pattern here yet? I could go on for several pages. Our society has become extremely complex and difficult to manage. Couple this with the fact that there are lots of people out there who are not playing with a full deck of cards. In today’s world we look at everyone with a suspicious eye. We trust no one, yet somehow a small number of deranged people end up in situations where they can cause considerable mayhem!
So, I have stated the problem, what is the answer? How do we monitor every person in every situation and avoid these kind of crazy violent actions? Maybe the answer is, “we don’t or we can’t.” Maybe, when you have millions of people living in close proximity in a stressful environment, a statistically small number of people leave the real world behind and perform reprehensible acts. Maybe this is the price we pay for the society we have evolved into! I am certain that this is not the answer that most of us want to hear, but it may be the reality of the situation.
The cavemen were constantly faced with the potential for their life or a family members’ life to be taken at any given second. Could this be our cross to bear? Is this nature’s way of keeping us on our toes? Like I said before, maybe this is the result of an overcrowded environment. Several decades ago a group of scientists placed a small colony of rats in an environment with enough food to support the existing population. The population remained relatively constant and the rats behaved in a normal rat-like way. As a comparison, they took another group of rats and placed them in a similar environment but fed them as much food and water as they wanted. The population of the community began to grow until it was severely overcrowded. As the community of rats grew, the rats began to behave in bizarre ways, exhibiting destructive human behaviors seen in many parts of society today, such as rape and brutal attacks on their fellow rat. So, just how different are we from the community of rats? Probably not that different if my logic is sound. Maybe we are just rats in a maze and maybe it’s a little too crowded.