Is this the Bermuda we all wished for? I doubt it.

No one wants the island to be a place where young people are crippled and killed on our roads, failed in our schools, engaging in gang-like rivalries and resorting to gun violence. Yet this is where we are.

Depending on who you ask, the deterioration is the fault of the PLP, the UBP, the police, families and other choice groupings.

The current Government deserves some blame. Talk and actions by some of its parliamentary leaders have exemplified and thereby promoted a less than law-abiding attitude.

Some blame is shared by political and police service leaders for lapses in enforcement of speeding and noisy vehicles.

Less than exemplary conduct by business and religious leaders can also be blamed, as can TV glorifying base human behaviour.

Even if we were to fix these problems, the experiences of virtually all the planet's crowded cities and countries shows a singular trend - the more densely populated a place, the greater the frequency and degree of social ills.

With this in mind, the Bermuda we now experience was predictable.

In 1981, with the publication of Bermuda's Delicate Balance, we pointed to dire social changes that can occur when a territory exceeds its carrying capacity (becomes "unsustainable" in today's lingo).

The physical carrying capacity is the intensity of human activity the natural ecosystem can absorb while remaining unharmed.

When Bermuda's pot fishing industry was shut down in 1991, it was clear evidence we were exceeding our carrying capacity. We were taking more fish from our waters than could be reproduced, even though we were importing 75 per cent of our fish needs.

There is also social and cultural carrying capacities, which reflect the ability of a people to adapt to change and keep their social balance.

John Calhoun, in his book Population Density And Social Pathology, says high population densities are associated with social unrest, increased accidents, sickness, lawlessness and crime and a listlessness about engaging in community preoccupations.

Bermuda's crime rate is rising faster than that of the population.

Accidents and apathy also seem on the rise.

In his book Human Aggression, British psychiatrist Anthony Storr wrote: "The closer we are packed, the more easily resentful of each other we become.

"Many people find life in cities irritating and exhausting since they are compelled to control aggressive impulses which arise solely as a result of overcrowding."

We are in denial about population density, mainly because the economic growth we have become accustomed (addicted) to depends upon a growing workforce.

Also, there is lingering racial angst from attempts to curb fertility among the lower classes, nearly all of whom were black.

But the economic engine doesn't much care whether we produce local workers or import them, or what colour they are, so long as it has bods for the jobs.

The strains on our social fabric as a result of high population density - crime, violence, aggression and apathy - are relentless.

These disturbing trends cannot be ignored. They won't go away on their own.

We will do something to curb population growth or pay the consequences.

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Increase in Bermuda's population is partly to blame for soaring gun violence