Footage of a car being carried in Nepal in 1948 courtesy of S. Dillon Ripley Papers, Yale University Library
Everywhere you look the world seems to be getting more violent. Our society, it appears, is increasingly steeped in murder, violent assault and rape. Our media is awash with horrifying news stories that assault our senses and emotions daily, so you'd be forgiven for believing we're all, very quickly, headed for hell in a handbasket.
If only that were true. Yes, we have real problems, and even one rape or murder is too many - but we are not currently experiencing the end of days. We may, in fact, be living in one of the least violent passages of human history. Ever.
After reading Steven Pinker's book on the topic (The Better Angels of our Nature) this idea has become something of a hobby horse for me (and I apologise if I've beaten you around the head with it in the past, if you'll pardon the expression.) I find what it reveals about our perceptions of the world to be fascinating, while at the same time it re-assures me (or deludes me) about the relative safety of my existence.
So a few weeks ago I decided to delve into the figures myself, as best I could, for my own little corner of paradise. I wanted to see if the violent zeitgeist stood up to scrutiny. My source for these figures is Statistics New Zealand (http://www.stats.govt.nz/).
There are some caveats: the way that violent crime has been recorded over the last 30 years is not entirely consistent (the methodology changed in the 1990s), and some sexual offenses, such as rape, have seen a large cultural and societal change in the manner and frequency with which they've been reported - so I won't address that here.
And so, without further pre-amble, here's my chart. You'll note that one statistic hasn't changed and, personally, I think that this is the real tragedy.
Murder rate: ~30% reduction
Road deaths: ~75% reduction
Workplace deaths: ~60% reduction
Suicides: no change.
+64 21-169 1359
- MiramarMike.co.nzDude, 2008 - present
Internet Arcade : Free Software : Download & Streaming : Internet Ar...
The Internet Arcade is a web-based library of arcade (coin-operated) video games from the 1970s through to the 1990s, emulated in JSMAME, pa
Logitech Ultimate Ears Boom Speakers- Black - iPod Docks - JB Hi-Fi - Sm...
Logitech Ultimate Ears Boom Speakers- Black - Bold, Immersive 360-degree Sound , 15m Wireless Bluetooth Connectivity, Versatile, Go Anywhere
It took 2 years to build this functioning word processor in Minecraft
More proof that you can build anything in this game
Public Address Word of the Year 2014 • Hard News • Public Address
It's that time again! The time, that is, when Public Address readers nominate, debate and vote for their Word of the Year. What winning word
Jeremy Wells' Mike Hosking Rant - August 18 - On Demand Player - Radio H...
Jeremy Wells with his impression of Newstalk ZB host Mike Hosking with another
Hashtag ME Welcomes "ACCESS GRANTED" podcast ! - Hashtag ME
Hashtag ME is proud to announce the first show in our new “Hashtag ME Podcast Network” ! The new podcast featuring Mike Riversdale and Raj K