Leadership

Police riot gear
Police in riot gear detain a demonstrator protesting against the shooting of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 19, 2014. Police in riot gear ordered dozens of lingering demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri, to disperse late on Tuesday and charged into the crowd to make arrests as relative calm dissolved amid protests over the police shooting death of Brown, an 18-year-old black teen, in the St. Louis suburb. (Joshua Lott/Reuters)

The sentiment in the United States recently has been so fragile and fraught with anger and fear that it could perhaps take only one major event to result in a tipping point towards societal chaos.

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 taught us that not even the great United States is immune to confusion and mass chaos.

The following four tipping points could result in societal chaos in the USA:

1. Race riots. The riots that took place recently in Ferguson, Missouri, demonstrate there is still much distrust among people of color when it comes to social justice issues. A similar outbreak could have easily taken place in New York City several months ago when Eric Garner died after receiving a choke hold during an arrest.

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Whether the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson was justified or the choke hold of Eric Garner was necessary is beside the point. A society in which there is abundant trust between divergent ethnic groups as well as between minority communities and the police (and the judicial system) could handle a controversial shooting or unintended death during an arrest.

However, the O.J. Simpson trial 20 years ago demonstrated there is still a huge racial divide when it comes to perception. The whites largely thought O.J. was guilty and people of color largely believed he was innocent. The Ferguson issue could become a huge tipping point that could trigger unrest beyond that region because, if riots were to erupt if the police officer who shot Michael Brown was exonerated by a grand jury, then it could potentially lead to a collapse of the judicial system in that region and beyond. This could indeed become a huge tipping point across the nation because of the unresolved seething issues of perceived racism, which evidently trumps the judicial system, which is one of our major pillars for peace and civility.

2. A viral pandemic. The response of the present administration to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa demonstrates that the United States is ill-prepared to deal with a potential pandemic.

Furthermore, we have been hearing for years that the frequent (and often unnecessary) use of antibiotics among the population as well as the ability of super-bugs to mutate and adapt make a huge pandemic in the United States more likely as time goes on.

I doubt Ebola will ever spread in our nation. However, there are far more dangerous strains of viruses that could eventually cause a tipping point towards societal chaos and confusion.

3. A terrorist attack. It has been a major miracle that the United States has not experienced another terrorist attack on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001. It is not only due to the great job of the FBI, police and CIA but, in my opinion, due to the grace and mercy of God. With the advent of weaponized drones (that can spew dangerous chemicals or ignite a nuclear weapon), and the proliferation of groups like ISIS that now have access to raw materials that can produce weapons of mass destruction (that were seized in Iraq), it will be far easier in the future for radical jihadis to wreak havoc across our nation.

This could be a tipping point that could cause mass hysteria and unrest across our nation.

4. An economic meltdown. Although many think the economy is doing well today, there are a number of events that could immediately trigger a collapse of the stock market: a terrorist attack, an Ebola-like pandemic, mass rioting resulting in mass unrest and more. All of these fall under the black swan theory that concerns an unpredictable event that could catalyze a tipping point towards economic chaos.

As we have seen, people are volatile and mercurial, and so is the stock market. Any of the above tipping points could result in a huge economic crash.

Furthermore, some believe that if the U.S. dollar is ever replaced with other national currencies (something I do not think will happen soon), then the U.S. federal government would not be able to continue to print money to bring down the national debt. This would cause a huge financial implosion in our nation.

In conclusion, only God can protect our nation. It is up to the church to be vigilant in prayer, since the enemy who wants to destroy our souls also wants to destroy our nation. Ultimately, if the Lord doesn't protect our nation, then no political leader, military leader or church leader will be able to prevent an event that could tip over our nation into chaos.

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Dr. Mark Rutland's

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