Society's character sags

The horror of another mass murder of innocent people has left Americans in shock again – not just those who heard of it in the news media, but those who were supposedly close to the suspect and saw him daily.

The big question of “How did he get away with it?” may never be answered to satisfaction, but the fact that it happened should cause everyone to stop and reflect on the culture of today that allowed it to happen. For instance, why in the world was a 6-year-old child, who was killed, in a theater showing a violence-filled movie at midnight?

The blame game already has begun in the media and the political arena. The cry is out either to have more gun control or on the opposite side, to arm every citizen with a weapon. The man’s picture and life story both before and after his awful deed is endlessly plastered on television, along with so-called experts’ varying opinions of his brilliance, mental stability, and reasons for his actions. It seems he is getting all the attention he craves to make him important, while his motives may never be understood no matter how many people dissect the case.

I think it’s time for all of us to reflect on the character of our current society that has repeatedly allowed this kind of tragedy to happen. Movies and television present shows full of violence, murder, gang wars and explicit sex. Children’s computer games are full of brutality and competitive actions that are unsuitable for shaping young people’s minds. Family values of nurturing and protecting young ones are being constantly challenged by the newest gadget that is hyped to promote instant gratification.

The fabric of the family is seriously eroded. Politicians’ constant posturing will have few results. Gun control can’t fix it, though completely erasing assault weapons would help. The media’s insatiable appetite for sensationalism will continue. The armchair psychiatrists will ponder insanity, personality disorder or calculated evil. The courts will do what they must with the evidence they are given, and then the cycle will begin again with the next horrendous act!

Is there anything we as individuals can do to ameliorate this awful situation? Take a few minutes each day to reflect about and share family values. Interact as a family unit. Protect young people from violent games, movies and TV shows. Hug your kids endlessly, play with them, teach them, tuck them in bed safely each night – and, most of all, show them your love. And for heaven’s sake, be sure, as adults, you behave like adults who have the obligation to raise a new generation of happy, healthy, productive people!

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Rick McKee Editorial Cartoon