Those who predict future violent events could be viewed as lofty. For example, in 1991, a pair of scholars predicted a great calamity called the Crisis of 2020. In 2012, a biologist made a prediction that we were on track for chaos in 2020. Sounds impressive but history indicates we cycle through peace and upheaval. And one study suggests we experience violence every 50 years in America. Globally, scholars note that societies (Roman Empire, ancient China, etc.,) oscillate between 100-150 years of relative peace then undergo the same timeframe with conflict. 

Sometime around 1998, our favorite local comedian and columnist, Charlie Walker wrote a column titled “We have gained the world and lost our sense of humor”. Mr. Walker was a contributing columnist for The News since 1974. He was well known for his penchant for sarcasm and no-holds barred attitude. He passed away in 2010.  

Mr. Walker begins this particular column referring with a rather racy subject, Viagra, then moves on to a cotton-tipped swab just about everyone puts in their ears. I won’t print the name of the item because Mr. Walker received a letter from the corporate office telling him he had to use the proper generic term which included seven additional words to describe their product that is most likely in 99% of American households.  

Mr. Walker, on the other hand, did not find the demands of the “multi-million-dollar conglomerate” very intimidating. In fact, he went on to deliberately repeat the name of the swab over and over again. He was trying to make a point. “We have gained the world and lost our sense of humor,” said Walker. “We walk on egg shells, afraid we will offend anybody or anything.” And the more he wrote the more irate he became. 

Mr. Walker recalled a radio show that once was extremely popular but today none would dare run it as a TV show because it would offend one group or another. Mr. Walker was offended over the people who are so concerned with some people’s rights but they have no problem trampling all over yours and mine.

Was he exposing just the tip of the iceberg? Was he foreseeing the future? Remember, the column was written over 20 years ago. I believe Mr. Walker would be extremely disappointed in the way we are handling current events. He would have plenty to write about relating to the chaos and lack of leadership that has allowed for such unbridled destruction in our cities. He would point to the lack of respect we have lost for each other and wonder what in the world happened to peaceful protests. Knowing Mr. Walker, he would probably say nothing much has changed, except people are just meaner. I tend to agree.

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