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Creating Havoc

It seems to me there is a basic human instinct to create, and by creating we affect the lives of others.

Every act we do in our everyday lives, even down to a simple thought, affects someone somewhere; there is a ripple of cause and effect that can travel to the ends of the Earth and back again.

It seems that children and young adults often do not know how to create in a positive way, so they do so in a negative way. For example there is a local paved bike trail I regularly ride on, and there is a constant issue of broken glass on the path.

I think I can safely assume that the perpetrators are children or teens. If someone accidentally drops and breaks a glass bottle, they would kick the pieces off to the side of the trail. But not so in this case; the glass is ground into small pieces then spread over a wide area.

The act of smashing a glass bottle is creative, albeit negative creativity. The person responsible has created small pieces of broken glass on the trail, knowing that it will puncture the tire of some unfortunate passing cyclist. 

They will not even be present to witness the possible flat tire, but the thought that this may be the outcome has satisfied the basic instinct to create something; even if all they have created is havoc.

The tragic events in Tucson, Arizona this week follow this same simple pattern.

This one senseless act has affected the lives of millions. It has certainly affected the lives of the loved ones of those killed and wounded.

It has affected everyone who lives in Tucson, and possibly the whole state of Arizona. Tucson like Oklahoma City from now on will be remembered for this one heinous crime.  It has affected all of us living in the USA.

The perpetrator has now assured his place in history, which I’m sure, was his intention. There will be no remorse, but instead a warped sense of satisfaction that it was he who affected the lives of millions. 

It requires very little effort at all to obtain notoriety for a negative act; it is relatively easy. Whereas, to do the same in a positive way often takes a lifetime of hard work and dedication. 

What possible good can come out of this? It should be used as an opportunity to teach children and young adults not to give in to these primal instincts to create havoc. Causing pain and suffering to others by acts of vandalism and other crimes.

Negative creativity comes easy and it may satisfy the basic instinct, but with a little more thought and effort these youngsters can engage in acts of kindness that are far more satisfying and rewarding in the long run 


Reader Comments (8)


Up here in Rhode Island, an 18-year-old was recently killed when he and his friends were, drunkenly and late at night, hurling tree branches onto the highway in front of cars going 65mph. One car hit a branch, lost control and killed that boy. The other boys are now arrested. The question you ask in this post is likewise being asked across the state here - why?
Up here we have a lovely bicycle path all along the bay, with wood-rail fences on either side. In my years riding I've seen these 13 and 14 year old boys breaking the fences, pulling down stop signs, smashing glass on the path and sometimes even throwing things at passing cyclists. I can't help but think one leads to the other.
Cyclists, by and large, are gentle souls, but I also can't help but think the breaking-glass mentality is the same that I see among teen and young-adult cyclists (usually on fixed gear) who create havoc by running lights, veering in front of cars and then giving the finger, etc. It's a sad way of thinking. I agree completely with you that it's a misplaced way of trying to be "heard" or to "create."


January 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTed

Negative creativity. Interesting concept Dave, and one which I think gives more credit to actions which may better be described as "wanton acts of destruction."
The shooter in tucson appears to be mentally ill. Any classification of his actions must take that into account. As for the others, I would suggest that we have so "spared the rod" that we are left with quite a number of "spoiled" children. They have more than likely never been taught a moral code.

January 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterskylab

To answer both Ted and Skylab,
Workmen create a wooden fence, when vandals tear it down they have created a broken fence; hence negative creativity.
The Tucson shooter created dead people and a whole lot of suffering. As for his sanity, every so often someone commits a crime so despicable, that everyone says the perpetrator must be insane. If you think about it, anyone who takes another’s life could be classified as insane. It is certainly not rational behavior.
Neither is it rational to throw tree branches in front of speeding cars, or break glass on bike trails. The only thing that varies is the degree of seriousness of the outcome.

January 12, 2011 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

I guess it's similar to the kick that the those who create computer viruses and pass them around the internet get. They are generally never caught but gain some kind of delight from the havoc they cause.

January 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Another great post Dave. I believe clever (and not so clever kids) get into mischief and worse when they are left to freely build their own society where immature value systems can take root. I speak from experience. I am trying my best to give my son more direction than I received, and more positive outlets for his constructive energy. Hopefully these activities will be more tempting and rewarding than the destructive varieties since it's impossible to always be by his side guiding his every move.

January 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJYung

I hate broken glasses. I've encountered plenty of those after New Year's eve and I got punctured twice. Dave, it really is much easier to be friendly with Satan than to do Godly things like exercising self control. I really pray that nothing like this again will happen in the future.

January 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbeachbody

Is an Islamist terrorist who cuts off heads or flies planes into buildings or shoots fellow soldiers irrational? Not according to their imams.
The infantile reaction to the Tucson murders (and that is all it was) was to blame a caustic atmosphere created by politics in America. Don’t be so simple-minded.
So easy to compartmentalize, to reduce; there’s a world of causes, and effects. There isn’t an expert on Earth that can predict or stop the next mass murder.
As a person in the film 'Boxing Gym' so succinctly states: “You never know who’s gonna be the next shooter”.
At least we can predict the results of radicalization, religious or political. We’ve seen the results, why are those in charge afraid to speak it?

January 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Thailand is planning for child curfew, restricting teenagers under 18
to go out after 10 pm.

January 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBkk

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