Your essay topic sort of depresses me. It makes me think of T.S. Elliot's poem "The Hollow Men" that ends in the famous line: "This is how the world ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper." The phrase "mad, bad world" makes me think of topics related to dire circumstances and rising violence.
Possible ideas to consider:
Rise of terrorism (both foreign and domestic). You could include foreign examples as well as recent news items, like the shooting at the Colorado theater.
Possible Epidemics-- With the rise of West Nile Virus, Swine flu, H1N1 HIV and other widespread sickness and disease, many scientists fear a 'super bug' that could be devastating to the population.
Economic Crisis-- Some compare the current state of the U.S. and other countries to being as severe as the Great Depression with countries in serious recession and increasing inflation.
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