EDITOR’S NOTE: Around this time of year, there are always lots of stories flitting about the interwebs about how different things were a hundred years ago — comparing such things as average life expectancies, hourly wages, prices of things, and so on, then and now. They are filled with assertions that in at least a few cases strike me as highly suspect, but it would take a lot of time and hard work to check them out and either verify or correct them, and I’m really not in the mood for hard work. Anyway, I prefer this version of the then-vs.-now comparison, which I ran a couple of years ago and just updated to reflect the current year:
SCENARIO: Jack pulls into the school parking lot with his rifle in the gun rack of his pickup.
1965: Vice principal comes over, takes a look at Jack’s rifle, goes to his car and gets his rifle to show Jack. They swap hunting stories until the bell rings for school to begin.
2015: School goes into lockdown, FBI is called, Jack is hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors are called in for traumatized students and teachers.
SCENARIO: Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.
1965: Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up best friends.
2015: Police are called, SWAT team arrives, Johnny and Mark are arrested. Both are charged with assault and expelled from school.
SCENARIO: Jimmy won’t sit still, distracts other students, and disrupts the class.
1965: Jimmy is sent to the principal’s office and threatened with bodily harm if he doesn’t sit still in class. Jimmy sits still in class.
2015: Jimmy is given huge doses of Ritalin and becomes a zombie. His school gets extra money from the state because Jimmy has a disability.
SCENARIO: Billy breaks a window in his dad’s car and his dad gives him a spanking.
1965: Billy is more careful, grows up normal, and becomes a successful businessman.
2015: Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. Billy’s sister is persuaded by a state psychologist that she remembers being abused herself, and their dad goes to prison. Their mother ends up on public assistance.
SCENARIO: Mike has a headache, so he takes some aspirin with him to school.
1965: Mike takes aspirin, feels better, and does well in school. He shares some of his aspirin with his friend Nick, whose muscles are sore after gym class.
2015: Police are called. Mike is expelled from school for drug dealing.
SCENARIO: Pedro fails high school English.
1965: Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, graduates from high school, goes to technical college, and gets a good job.
2015: Pedro’s cause is taken up by the state. Democrat legislators charge that making mastery of English a requirement for graduation is racist. English is banished from the core curriculum. Pedro is given a diploma, but he ends up mowing lawns for a living because he can’t speak English.
SCENARIO: Bobby takes apart leftover firecrackers from the 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, and blows up a red ant hill.
1965: Ants die.
2015: BATF, DHS, and FBI are called. Bobby is charged with domestic terrorism, his parents are investigated, Bobby and his siblings are removed from the home, computers are confiscated, and Bobby’s dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.
SCENARIO: Joey falls on the playground during recess and scrapes his knee. His teacher finds him crying. She hugs him to comfort him.
1965: Joey feels better, stops crying, continues playing.
2015: The teacher is accused of child sexual abuse and loses her job. She serves ten years in state prison. Because of her criminal record, she can’t get another job when she is released from prison, and she ends up on public assistance for the rest of her life.