Tuesday, May 05, 2009
There is something very disturbing about the transformation from ordinary citizen to bank robber and/or gunman as described in this AP story.
Bruce Windsor lived the life of a respectable family man — father of four, deacon in his South Carolina church, youth soccer coach, a volunteer who helped build orphanages in Brazil. Then four days after his 43rd birthday, authorities say, he donned a mask, wig and sunglasses and tried to rob a bank at gunpoint.Undoubtedly, with expectations having been set higher over the last ten or twenty years due to multiple asset bubbles and conspicuous consumption everywhere you looked, the responses to this economic downturn are more extreme than in the past.
Windsor, it turns out, was falling down a financial hole. A real estate investor who ran several property business, his troubles predated the recession but continued as the housing bubble burst and easy credit for businesses and consumers dried up.
After all, most people are just trying to put food on the table for their family and have no real understanding of how, in recent decades, radical changes in financial markets and in the conduct of monetary policy have affected the American culture.
Sadly, most of those individuals responsible for all these recent changes probably don't understand the impact their actions have had either.
Money troubles, specifically job losses, have also been named as possible motives in at least four of the mass shootings that have scarred the country this winter, including the deaths of 13 people and a gunman in Binghamton, N.Y., the killings of three police officers in Pittsburgh and four more plus the shooter in Oakland, Calif., and the deaths of 10 people and a gunman in south Alabama.It's natural to wonder if we'd all be better off right now with a little less faux prosperity over the years - if you never knew what it was like, you couldn't miss it.
Bank holdups haven't grabbed the same attention, but industry figures show they go up during recessions, and experts say the pressure inevitably pushes some otherwise law-abiding people to find themselves accosting a teller at a window.
"I would expect, as the downturn continues and lasts well over a year, that we will see more and more cases like this one, of someone without a record feeling they have no options and turning to crime," said Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Hmmm... "falling down" a financial hole reminds me of this: