Saturday, September 29, 2012

There Be Monsters

(Editorial cartoon by Joel Pett / Lexington Herald-Leader (September 28, 2012) and featured at McClatchy DC.  Click on image to enlarge and then return.  Please.)

This cartoon really took my breath away because it seemed to capture my feelings from all of the stuff I've been reading the past few days.  Apparently I'm not the only one suffering from shock.  The next place on the net I visited was Eschaton, where Atrios (linking to the Rude Pundit) had this to say:

This enrages me. The other thing which enrages me are heartwarming local interest stories about a community and friends who got together and figured out how to raise the $180,000 needed to keep somebody's kid from dying of cancer or whatever. That people do this is heartwarming, that it is necessary means we're monsters.  [Emphasis added]

Yes.  Yes, it does.

We have become a culture of monsters, and the monstrosity is indeed wreaked cradle to grave, as Joel Pett points out.  Let me give a few more examples from the past couple of days.

There's this:

A man who apparently had just lost his job at a small business in Minneapolis' Bryn Mawr neighborhood returned to the building Thursday afternoon and opened fire, killing the company's founder and three others and wounding four others before taking his own life.

Two other company executives, director of operations John Souter and production manager Eric Rivers, were in critical condition at Hennepin County Medical Center. Hospital officials said one other victim was in critical condition and a fourth was in satisfactory condition. Those two wounded victims have not been identified.

And this :

A popular fifth-grade teacher fatally shot a masked, knife-wielding prowler outside his house during what appeared to be a late-night burglary attempt, only to discover he had killed his 15-year-old son, police say.

Police said 15-year-old Tyler Giuliano was shot at about 1 a.m. Thursday in New Fairfield, a town just north of Danbury.

The teacher's sister was alone in her house next door to his when she believed someone was breaking in. She called her brother, and he grabbed a gun and went outside to investigate, police said.

The father confronted someone wearing a black ski mask and black clothing and fired his gun when the person went at him with a shiny weapon in his hand, police said.

And this:

Over the course of two decades, the Boy Scouts of America covered up the acts of hundreds of child molesters within its ranks, never notifying authorities and instead quietly banishing offenders, according to an investigation by the Los Angeles. Sometimes, the molesters left one Scout troop and reappeared at another to molest again, according to information in the 1,600 confidential Boy Scout files that go from 1970 to 1991.

That pattern sounds horribly familiar. As with the sexual-abuse cases that rocked the Roman Catholic Church and the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State, here is another situation in which authorities, entrusted to care for young people, failed to deal properly with molesters in their institution, which led to more children and youths being victimized. And as in those previous scandals, Boy Scout officials were not just elevating the protection of the institution over the welfare of individuals, but also were perpetuating a culture in which sexual abuse was seen not as a crime to be punished and denounced but as an embarrassment to be dealt with quietly.

And this:

At Fort Myer, Va., a small Army base across the river from Washington, D.C., Chaplain Mark Worrell is talking to about 100 soldiers, reciting the grim numbers.

"This year, 2012, there have been more suicides in the Army than combat deaths," he says.

And I could go on, but I'm getting depressed and I fear that I'm not doing your blood pressure any good either.

I know, I know:  if it bleeds, it leads. Still, there is one hell of a lot of blood being lost in the space of just a couple of days of news articles, and I can't help but think there is something wrong with our society, something horribly wrong.  And I don't quite know what to do about it.  I don't have any ideas on how we, all of us, can fix it.  I fear it will continue.  Our society will splinter and sputter until there is no society, no concept of community, no network of support.

And the selfish part of me is glad that I am old and won't have to watch the whole process of disintegration unfold.

May God have mercy on me and on all of us.



Blogger Conni said...

You're right.

4:47 AM  
Blogger John Gardner said...

That's a pretty sad view of the world though. Medicine that would have been considered miracles happen every hour of every day at hospitals around the world. Strangers help strangers for no reason every day. Except none of these things are "news". They are life.

If you focus on only the bad, you'll see only the bad. And that's what the news likes to show. Don't know what to do about it? Go out and volunteer in your community, if you aren't already.

11:50 AM  

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