Destructive Behavior: What is in Human Nature that Makes Us Want to Burn Somebody Else’s Wealth?

Someone in my past suggested that there were two types of people:

  1. those people who, when their neighbor gets a fancy new car, dedicate themselves to working harder to buy an even fancier new car [the old addage of “keeping up with the Joneses”], and
  2. those people, when their neighbor gets a fancy new car, quip “I hope your garage burns down.”
     It is this second group that troubles me.
     In my lifetime there have been a number of incidents where a mob has reverted to wholesale destruction of property: Detroit during the 60’s, LA after the Rodney King beating, and now London.
     What makes someone think that destroying someone else’s property is any solution worth considering? If they could just channel that energy//rage into something constructive. As it stands now, it is just a domestic form of terrorism. How is it any different than the bombings that happen almost daily in the middle east?
     It seems that some people would be content to burn their way back to the middle ages… or maybe even the stone ages…
     As in the line from the operetta “Mikado,” maybe we should “let the punishment fit the crime,” and have those anarchists spend their sentence cobbling their existence from a burned out building. And as they complete a harvest or a building that they are proud of… make them burn it down.
     Anger and hate should have consequences. We, as a community, should demand that our citizens be the ‘constructive’ type, not the ‘destructive’ type. Let’s build not burn.

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