Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Taking of Life

     I have had it with what I see as society disintegrating all around us.  Everyday there is news of another mass shooting or stabbing, many in schools.  And just yesterday in a U.S. high school, a girl was stabbed to death because she refused to be a young man's prom date.  She already had a date.  For those of us who have lost children, especially in a violent way, these stories become more and more painful as we truly understand the heartache incurred with these losses of lives.

     I ask myself is it evil or mental illness or social media or violence in the pop culture or all of the above which contribute to these tragedies.  Are weapons too readily available?  Do schools need better security procedures?  Is care for mental illness inadequate and too difficult to obtain?  Are we bombarded with violence in books, movies, video games, music, and TV.  Has social media contributed to mass depersonalization of the individual?  Can we no longer think, relate or communicate on a personal and empathetic level? Has drug addiction overrun our society so people no longer feel or know what they are doing?  Has family life totally dissolved? And finally, have we turned too far away from God, prayer and organized religion in our modern and very secularized culture?  Have we simply forgotten there is a moral right and a wrong?

     What makes any one person think he has the right to take the life of another?  I think of a recent case where three teenagers were "bored" and decided to kill someone for something to do.  They piled in a car, and drive-by style, shot a promising college athlete thereby ending a bright future.  How detached is that kind of behavior or is it just plain evil?  These young men can express all the apologies and regrets they want, but that can never match the pain of the parents, family and friends of this murdered young man.  Even their punishment, cannot take away the pain of loved ones.

     I my humble opinion, we need to first strengthen and re-integrate the nuclear family unit.  It is better for children to have two parents and to be born in a loving stable home and not to a teenage mother.  Marriage needs to become important again.  Now, things are backwards.  Couples have children, buy a house, then "think" about getting married.  We have lost sight of the fact that it should be the reverse. Or, worse yet, there is no wedding at all.  Just rolling from one relationship to another with children as movable chess pieces in a game of life.

     This return to stability and morality in the family should bring us back to God and regular attendance in a place of worship.  I truly believe we need recognize there is a higher power to whom we have to give an accounting for our lives.  We seem to have lost sight of that and children are not being taught this spiritual accountability.

     Next, the mental health system in the U.S. needs to be re-structured.  There needs to be more care available, hospitalizations easier to access, more inpatient beds for the severely mentally ill, and better identification and intervention for high risks individuals in our schools and work places.

     Finally the scourge of drug addiction must be addressed.  In many cases, outpatient treatment or 28 days of inpatient treatment is just not adequate for someone who has adopted that lifestyle and has reached rock bottom in addiction.  It is my belief that in most cases, addiction is an outer symptom of an inner pain which must be addressed to cure the addiction.  The amount of coverage allowed by insurance is simply just not sufficient to address all the issues.  Until this is recognized and willing to be dealt with, addiction will retain it's hold on far too many people at an even greater cost to our society than treating it adequately.  Treating addiction takes far longer than just detox.

     These are my ideas.  Perhaps you have others or you don't agree.  I would like to hear what you think.  You may ask, "What can I do?"  I would start by looking in the mirror and asking where you stand with your family and your God.  Maybe you can't do this right now because of the pain of your grief, but, your family wants and needs you.  And God loves you, believes in you and is there to heal you.


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