Insight on the News
Victory over Crime?
● In 1972 the United States enjoyed its first reported drop in the crime rate in 17 years. The 2-percent decrease stirred talk of a start in ‘winning the war against crime.’ But victory talk faded away when the figures for last year were tallied. Serious crime—such as murder, rape, aggravated assault, burglary and auto theft—had jumped 5 percent during 1973. That means that over 6,100,000 crimes took place, about 19,400 for each day of the year.
Now a recent survey released by the federal Law Enforcement Assistance Administration and Census Bureau shows the problem to be more mammoth than police figures indicated. The survey reveals that the amount of crime reported and the amount taking place are two different things. Twice as many serious crimes actually happen in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Detroit as are reported. In Philadelphia the amount of crime was five times as great as police records showed.
Can new laws, bigger police forces, new detection methods for preventing crimes turn the tide? No, since crime, as an editorial in “The Wall Street Journal” said, is “an outward expression of a society’s character, attitudes and beliefs.” Pointing this up is the fact that the value of things stolen by supposedly “honest” employees annually runs to seventy times more than that taken by outright criminals! It will take a genuinely new society—one based on love of God and love of neighbor—for crime to be conquered. That is what the promise of ‘new heavens and a new earth [a new earthly society] in which righteousness is to dwell’ will mean for this planet.—2 Pet. 3:13.
The Other Détente
● Détente (French word describing “the easing of strained relations”) generally brings to mind the diplomatic maneuverings of the United States with Communist Russia and China. But other maneuverings for détente have kept pace with those of these political nations.
This other détente is that developing between the Vatican and the Communist countries, particularly in eastern Europe. It began back in 1963 when Pope John XXIII, shortly before his death, gave a papal audience to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s daughter and son-in-law. Since then the Vatican has received visits from such leaders as Soviet president Nikolai Podgorny (in 1967) and Romanian president Nikolae Ceausescu. It has negotiated agreements with Communist Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland, and exchanged envoys with Yugoslavia. In Hungary, three priests who had been excommunicated for joining the Communist Parliament were reinstated in 1971.
Then, in February of this year, another major step was taken when Pope Paul removed anti-Communist Cardinal Mindszenty from being religious Primate of Hungary. As the Italian newspaper “II Messaggero” reported, the action was taken to remove the “main obstacle to the development of relations between the Holy See and . . . the [Hungarian] Communist government.” Vatican sources expect diplomatic overtures to Marxist rulers to continue.
All of this represents quite a flip-flop from a quarter of a century ago when Pius XII decreed excommunication for all “atheistic Communists.” Like apostate Israel of old, the Vatican is now casting out “feelers” in many directions in a vain hope of finding security.—Hos. 7:11; Ezek. 16:26, 28, 29.
Making Ends Meet
● Back in 1937 the average United States family of four needed about $30 a week to cover living costs, according to a Gallup Poll taken that year. Now the figure is $152. Food prices especially keep rising. People in Europe, Japan, Canada and other “advanced” countries are similarly affected. Meat on the table becomes steadily scarcer.
But, of the one billion persons living in the wealthier nations of earth, how many realize that they feed and fatten their livestock with just about as much grain as another two billion humans on earth eat directly for food?
The period may be near when we will all have to recognize that what we rightly ask for is, not ‘our daily cut of meat,’ but simply ‘our daily bread.’ (Matt. 6:11) With a right viewpoint, however, if we have “sustenance and covering, we shall be content with these things.”—1 Tim. 6:8.