The economy, domestic violence & road rage

August 13, 2009

This week, I spoke to a few domestic violence prevention advocates who stood by the notion that poor economic times equates to a rise in violence, not just domestically, but anywhere you go.

It helped to hear that coming from a band of professionals because we’ve been seeing and hearing examples of it everywhere these days, it seems.

Last night, I attended a healthcare “town hall” meeting in Thousand Oaks — the first in Ventura County — and of course, someone was forcibly ejected by police after a belligerent attempt to rankle some doctors.

By most accounts, it was a tame event compared to the town hall melees across the rest of the country. The image of the guy who got into Arlen Specter’s face a few days ago could turn into one of those lasting American history snapshots. Yet by all accounts, when a poor economy translates into healthcare problems, people seem to get angry.

And just a few days ago, we heard of a fatal freeway accident in Thousand Oaks, where a motorcyclist, in an alleged fit of road rage, cut off (and flipped off) another motorist, paying off the gesture with his life.

The accident dampened all the positive talk of frugality during tough times we’ve been hearing lately … a recent story featured some people who were riding their motorcycles more because of the economy. Yet the increase of bikes on the road leads to the eventual news of accidents. Only this time, violent behavior was involved.

So people are riding their bikes more because of bad fiscal times, yet getting angry at the same time and causing accidents.

A quick Google search reveals articles from publications across the U.S. discussing spikes in domestic violence numbers, as well as maxed-out emergency call centers. And the correlation is to the U.S. economy. The stress from being laid off, out of work, and/or on the brink of homelessness has put a strain on relationships to the point of violent behavior.

Here’s one that makes a link between domestic violence as a cause of financial hardship:


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