OPINION

Rise in violent crime necessitates action

At the first traffic light they traded insults. They drove to the next light, making violent gestures at one another. There, they stopped and the young man on the motorcycle blocked the car, pulled out a gun and shot the driver in cold blood. It was broad daylight in a busy part of Athens. This is chilling news which confirms that Greece is gradually beginning to adopt new, foreign models of behavior that are especially abhorrent. Such daily occurrences appear to be merely the tip of an iceberg formed by the inconceivable aggression harbored by so many people living in the city today. Intoxicated by an abundance of aggression and possibly influenced by a feeling of omnipotence some people appear to derive from their vehicles (it is, perhaps, no coincidence that car and motorcycle commercials are among the most provocative and aggressive), the young man did not hesitate to pull out his weapon and end the life of the man next to him. It probably took a few moments to acquire the weapon from one of the many gun dealers around the city. He may even have got it from the same place as the man who recently shot a pedestrian for the 150 euros he had in his pocket. There are those who claim that such incidents are few and far between in Greece, that they are not cause for concern. Others say that we are already too late in tackling the mounting violence and should be turning our attention to violence among children and teenagers before we are too late to make an impression there too. Either way, aggression is a complex and multifaceted problem that should be addressed with sophisticated strategies of intervention by society as a whole. The streets of Athens may still be a far cry from the streets of Chicago, but we are witnessing a rise in rage-related crime across the entire spectrum (in wars, on the streets, at home, in school, on television, at the soccer stadium). Violence is leaving a mark on the minds of today’s children and tomorrow’s adults. These same children express their rage through violent and destructive behavior, which experts say is due to their inability to integrate with society or due to the disruption of their inner mental balance. Teenagers with a violent streak become influenced by being constantly subjected to violence in the media and films. Everyone knows that violence breeds violence yet no one is doing anything about it. Greece is already experiencing more than its fair share of violence and in order to tackle this phenomenon, everyone has to work together: the police, the legislature, the family, schools and social services.