The recent Boston Marathon bombings have rightly awakened throngs of dozing social critics. However, I grit my teeth whenever someone grumbles a cliché like "nowadays people are more violent."
Literature exists explaining why humankind is considerably less violent today than at any point in history. Evolution dictates that humankind strives toward a peaceful existence. Survival of the fittest is a voided concept if nobody survives. However, as humankind evolves technology advances in kind. Weapons become more destructive.
Although the world's population of rabble-rousers shrinks, and becomes better contained, those remaining possess greater potential to wreak more widespread and devastating havoc. Imagine the consequences if Emperor Caligula, and only he, had commanded squadrons of F-16 fighter jets. What if Genghis Khan had controlled ballistic missiles tipped with chemical weapons? Outfit Hitler with a vast fleet of nuclear submarines and most of civilization would've been rubble and soot before Uncle Sam wiped the crust from his eyes. To avoid a future asteroid belt forming between Venus and Mars modern weaponry needs withheld from the dwindling few of those with a grudge and a spastic trigger finger. Hiccups will inevitably occur. The Boston Marathon bombing was a sad and grisly hiccup.
Not that "nowadays people are more violent," rather the violent possess more firepower.