I just finished Season 4 of Breaking Bad on the day that Season 5 officially ends. This means that I’ve got to stealth through the shit storm that is going to be people the next week or so. Seeing as there is a lot of death in the show and murder of all sorts I figured I’d talk about something related. Have you ever seen on the news or in a newspaper a story about a 15 or 16 year old (perhaps younger) that has murdered someone?
Naturally someone around you, or perhaps even you, says the cliché line “What is the world coming to?” It happens, we’ve all thought it at least once. I can’t claim some higher level of conscience and act like I’ve never fallen into the trap. The truth is that this shouldn’t surprise anyone and it is not indicative of any sort of corruption in society. It shouldn’t surprise people because it is inevitable.
There are currently some 7 billion people in the world, in the US alone we have close to 330 million perhaps more. There are around 21-22 million teens in the United States. Just going off the first hits from Google, your data may vary but the consistent response is there are 20 million at least. This is 20 million people in constant rotation. Hundreds of thousands of new people becoming teens and hundreds of thousands becoming adults.
Each and every one of these 20 million bodies has a brain (one hopes) and each of these brains have been impacted by genetics and the environment. Each one has been bombarded with random particles, poisons, genetic quirks, and just good old fashioned hormones. Let’s say that the brain is a hundred thousand sided die, the only time someone becomes homicidal is if their brain rolls a 1. I may be doing my math wrong (given the time of day) but I believe this means that you will have on average 200 people rolling a 1.
That’s 200 people out of a chance as small as 1 in 100,000. Divide that number by 5 and you have the same number of people struck by lightning each year. Have you heard of 40 different people being struck by lightning in the last year? Probably not because that doesn’t sell ad revenue.
But you will be damned sure to hear about 40 different teens murdering people. It isn’t a matter of culture devolving, people getting meaner, or anything of that nature. The world is not coming to anything (besides entropy). Imagine rolling a 100,000 sided die yourself. Once a day for the rest of your life. Imagine if you hit 1 you lose that little wall that stops you from being a sociopath.
That’s not exactly how it works. But functionally that’s the gist of it. Some of us get lucky and some of us don’t. Those that do tend to fall off into obscurity but those that don’t end up on every website from here to 4chan and back. The next time you see a teen killer, or any killer, on the news and you get that urge to make a judgment call about society at large I recommend you don’t.
All it takes is one car accident for that dice roll to be weighted out of your favor.
PS. Don’t kill people. If you want to be famous just go run naked out onto the field during the super bowl with your URL written nice and bold across your body. That’ll work just as well and you’ll probably make enough ad revenue to cover the fines that ensue. Just think about how much advertisers pay for that kind of marketing spot? You are saving a fortune and nobody has to be hurt. bettercallsaul