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Tragedy in our Cruel World

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 This is a cruel world we live in.  We are all at the capricious mercy of the twisted thoughts of our neighbors. 

The young man who did the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school suffered from aspergers, a form of autism.  Remember the movie “Rainman”. In that movie Dustin Hoffman suffered from a similar disorder. He was more comfortable in the controlled environment of an institution than in the disorder and chaos of a normal life.  Of course we no longer believe that all autistic persons should always be placed in institutions, but perhaps there is a little too much attention spent on trying to “normalize” them. This may be more stressful for the person with the disorder than the acceptance of their limitations.

 The whole story of this particular young man is yet to be told but most of us know someone with a similar disorder.  I can only imagine what pain and anguish his mother suffered as she dealt with his disorder for twenty years.  Perhaps from time to time she believed she had succeeded in integrating him into the world as we know it.  We now know that she did not.

What a tragedy—a tragedy for that dead mother who most likely fought for her son throughout his life and a much, much larger tragedy for the community.

As a society, what can we do to prevent such tragedies?  The ramifications of almost any course of action are mind boggling. Should we place armed guards in the schools? What a picture that conjures. What about metal detectors?  There would be long lines at those instruments every morning as innocent students filed through; and yet, even as I type, I can think of at least one weapon that could make it through a metal detector. 

My point is that as a society what we need to do is change society. 

I deplore the demise of the American family.  Yesterday I happened to read the birth notices for one hospital in one small city.  There were at least twenty such entries.  There were three or four births listed to people who shared the same last name; perhaps five were born to couples who were listed as parents but did not have the same last name, obviously unmarried.  The rest of the babies were listed as being born to one female name—with no one stepping forward to sign the birth certificate as the father.

While the people who commit heinous acts may not be from broken homes, the general disintegration of the family unit affects all of society. There are just not enough responsible, caring parents around to teach children that they are loved and safe and to teach them to be NICE.  Bitterness and rage in society is contagious for us all.

One of my sons protects his children by home-schooling them.  There may be more of that in our future even though it is difficult when both parents have jobs.  Perhaps that means that our economy needs improvement and our desires need to be revamped so that parents can be satisfied with less and mothers can once again stay home.

One thing that keeps coming up in all the discussion on television is the violence of today’s video games.

 Every time I think of that I remember a little girl of 5—me back in 1950–shooting bad cowboys behind every bush in our yard with my little pistol.  It didn’t even have caps in it.  From my brother I had learned to make a very convincing “pow” through my lips.  I played at this game often—even in the house where my trusty steed was the arm of the sofa saddled with a sofa pillow. The thing is; I was not actually engaging in violence; I was fighting for justice.  I would never have pointed that little gun at any good guy.  (And by the way, everyone I targeted was imaginary. My mother and dad NEVER allowed me to point my pistol—even though it was “just pretend”—at any other living creature.  Even though we had no firearms in our home, what I was told over and over was that every gun should be treated as loaded and never pointed at anyone.  Mom and Dad used to sing this song to me, “I didn’t know the gun was loaded and I’ll never, ever do it again.)

Our culture being what it is, I doubt we can rid it of violent video games that may not only teach violence but teach the players how to be deadly shots, but perhaps it is time that we demand that every game have some redeeming feature.  Perhaps there should be good guys and bad guys in the video games as in the movies.  Perhaps it should be “GAME OVER” if you shoot one of the good guys.

But more to the point, morality should be a real thing in every aspect of our lives and for that we need parents and moral ones at that!  Parents are needed to incorporate into the lives of our children the love of life and of justice.  They are needed to teach children to realize when they make errors and to “face the music” that results from doing wrong even when it involves punishment.  It is from learning to face the consequences of one’s actions that conscience is born.

And though it is sad to contemplate, if one of our offspring is incapable of achieving a conscience because of  some malady, perhaps it is the duty of the parent to accept that and take the appropriate steps for the benefit of society.

Satan is alive and well and evil will always exist.  The only weapon to keep it at bay is the love of God and His truth and righteousness.  The only weapon we have is embodied in the song I heard on the very day of this recent tragedy, a song I heard sung in an elementary school Christmas program,–a song that goes, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

Betty Killebrew

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