If you trust the media, violent crime is rife. People are dying like flies in the streets of America. Gun battles between police and criminals take place three or four times a day. You can't walk fifty feet at night without being attacked.
All that makes for great ratings on the news, but truth be known, violent crime in the US is actually on the decrease.
Of course, knowledge of this good news is bad news for politicians and news broadcasters. "Never let a good crisis go to waste." As long as the public perception is that crime is on the increase, people will clamor for more protection from the government, more regulation of weapons, more measures to restrict movement and freedom of speech.
We only have ourselves to blame. It seems that human nature demands we be fascinated with anything having to do with death and disaster. As long as it's happening to someone else, we can't stop looking. Life is one long train wreck and we are avid spectators.
It's the worst kind of snowball effect. We watch death and disaster, we entertain it in our society, we decry it but allow it to continue, it happens and we watch it... A vicious, unending cycle as long we give in to it. How do we break this cycle? Is it even possible?
It's possible that the lowering of the violent crime rate is proportionate to the incarceration rate. It's possible that rehabilitation efforts are actually working. It's possible that people are finally tiring of being victims and are beginning to take their safety into their own hands. Could it be possible that the massive increase in personal arms sales has started to give thieves and robbers pause? A well-armed populace makes for less of a ready target for criminals.
And with firearms sales at an all-time high, that may be the one factor that tipped the scale in favor of reduced crime.