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A Look Within

by David Reich -

It’s difficult to comprehend the atrocity that took place in Sandy Hook Elementary School last month.  Most people I know are very disturbed by the fact that something like this could even happen.  I wonder though if there has been a steady decline in our moral values here in our society that has contributed to the disturbing behavior we witness all too often in this country.  People are the product of their environment above all else.  If the image of today’s society seems pretty scary, then perhaps we ought to take a look at our own lives and determine whether or not we have contributed to the ongoing dilemma.

Most adults I know would agree at least in part with my belief that  our country appears to be overly violent with people having an aggressive attitude towards almost anyone with a different ideology other than their own.  But if our nation is really to question why its citizens have become enraged and act so poorly, then perhaps all of us should consider trying to do a little culture check themselves.

Our culture has now become inundated with violence and aggressive behaviors to the point in which we believe this is the norm.  Television programs and today’s music continuously supply the validation of violent acts, low tolerance towards others, as well as a high level of disrespect toward anyone we may cross paths with.  On television alone, research suggests that by the time a child reaches the age of thirteen, they will have witnessed over one hundred thousand acts of violence, including approximately eight thousand murders, eighty percent of which will go unpunished.  Even in the most popular video games that are available in today’s market, individuals are encouraged to kill or maim simulated people to gain advantages or score points.  Now there is no doubt that other forms of games exist, along with inspiring songs and positive programs in the media.  But these are by far less popular than the aforementioned ones.

In addition to becoming desensitized by the new and violent forms of entertainment, our society is also constantly barraged with negative examples of its citizens’ conduct.  There are continuous examples in the news of aggressive behavior being displayed by the people in our nation.  Stories of unethical behavior are sensationalized in our media often leading the individuals displaying poor behavior to become famous with an even star like quality.  Corporate thieves, crooked politicians and flawed heroes are constantly the norm in today’s headlines and grabbing the attention of our general public.   Our country has shifted its value system from one of morality and education to an insatiable desire to become famous or compete and get ahead at all costs.

It should also be noted that the breakdown of the traditional family, along with the lack of appropriate role models, is contributing to the conflict that is witnessed in today’s culture.  The family dynamic has changed significantly over the past few decades, and for the first time in American history there are more single parents than the traditional nuclear family.  The desire to compete with the Jones has taken its toll on today’s society.  People today surround themselves with more material items than what previous generations had before them.  However, as a result, there is now a significant reduction in the amount of quality time spent between adults and their offspring.  For many families, the desire to surround themselves with toys now supersedes any and all traditional family rituals.  Even something as simple as having an uninterrupted meal together as a family, where conversations of humility, empathy and compassion take place, has become a thing of the past.  As a result, a person’s connection to family has been lost in the shuffle.  More importantly though, are the negative resources that our society is now looking at when seeking guidance to help them with the tough issues associated with the challenges that we face as adults.

Although the shock value of today’s culture has become all but nonexistent, the solution to some of our growing fears in this ever changing society can start right within ourselves and in our homes.  Many would argue that it’s our nation’s drive, as well as its citizens’ determination, that has led this country to become the greatest society in the world.  Bar none.  However, how far will this ambition take us in the future if we have become a generation without core virtues such as respect, tolerance, and sympathy?

In our continuous struggle that we place on ourselves to meet the demands to get ahead and succeed in our lives, perhaps it’s a good idea to invest a small amount of time in our busy lives to revisit and reiterate some conversations about morality and decency as well.  After all, it’s the character of our nation that will shape us for years to come.

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Comments (17)

  1. Howard says:

    “I prayed and asked GOD,Why do you let this happen in our schools.” He answered, “I am not allowed in school.”

  2. Mike Patterson says:

    I consider myself to be a straight forward sensible person and because of this I want to say this about gun control which I intend as “food for thought”. Disarming responsible gun owners in the presents of evil will not make you safe! Evil exists and will never relent…………it must be defeated and held in check. Unfortunately from time to time this must be done with lethal force, with a gun. Because a mentally ill person commits an horrendous act of violence with guns does not negate what I have said nor does it mean that the rest of us should be disarmed. I’m a realist, until our genetic scientists can come up with cures for mental illness, these things will occur. The mentally ill have been doing these things for centuries if not with guns with other things. The second amendment addresses an issue that will always be relevant ie. the security of a free state.

    • PaulE says:

      Very well said Mike.

      • Mike Patterson says:

        Thank you, Paul, I’ve been struggling for weeks to try to express my thoughts after what happened in Conn. In this insane world it’s heartening to know that my thoughts and views are appreciated. …………Mike

  3. J T says:

    Where were all the tears and concern for the 22 children that were CS Teargassed, which causes them to drown in their own fluids, and then incinerated at WACO, TEXAS by the United States Government?

  4. PaulE says:

    All these type of incidents share a common issue. The attackers have all had severe mental issues, that have either gone undiagnosed, untreated or been ignored the community. We have become so politically correct in ensuring that we afford those with mental issues maximum civil rights, that we don’t safeguard the public against such potential threats anymore. No one is advocating forced confinement here, but treatment of the mentally ill in our country has declined over the years. People still need help out there to avoid incidents like this from happening.

    In the case of Sandy Hook, you had a mentally challenged individual who, in a desire by the mother to connect better with her son, instructed her son on how to shoot the very weapons that were ultimately used to kill her. Common sense should have precluded her from allowing her son anywhere near potentially dangerous firearms, let alone providing instruction on how to use them.

  5. L says:

    2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If My people, who are called by My name , will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land “.

    That was God speaking to king Solomon in the Old Testament, but it is still true today.

  6. Ed Krzesinski says:

    We need to put God back into our nation. Our government needs to stop trying to control us with laws that go against our Constitution. The Second Amendment is a prime example. Law abiding citizens have a legal right to own a firearm, regardless of type, for self protection. The police can’t be everywhere. They usually show up after the fact. We are becoming a nation of dependents. Our rights are vanishing and being replaced with false security. Remember the USSR. Is that what we want to become? We are headed that way with this president and his cronies. I love my country but our government is VERY broken. I’ve never seen the government want to control its’ citizens so much as it does now.

  7. John Oliff says:

    I do not believe that as a percentage of people we are any less sensitive to the value of life. We have become prisoners of what works. If I stand out in front of a government building with a sign expressing just how crooked I believe government is, nobody will notice. If I go in and snatch a politician across the counter and ensure they know what I think, then I will get notice. We talk of better times when you could go to the park and get up on your soapbox and let your views be heard. Suburbs and pure distance between people is one problem but, the main problem is the elements of society who’s job it is to inform, pick and chose what they relay. The coverage for the 99%rs was far greater than the coverage for the tea party. My recommendation is that the conservatives and the citizens who truly care will have to quit taking a knife to a gunfight and get down in the gutter with our enemies

  8. C. Edward Collins says:

    The question is not whether our culture provides healthy nourishment to its inhabitants. It doesn’t. The big question concerns what is to be done to change the current culture. Each of us needs to stop rewarding those who profit from entertainments that are destroying America. Don’t buy the products of those who sponsor unwholesome messages. Better yet, if you have artistic talent, get into the arts and entertainment business and change it from the inside. If you have political skills, get into government and do what you can, beginning at the local level. If you have organizational skills, bring them to bear in whatever way you can to further American ideals.
    If you are a parent, don’t rely on the schools to teach values to your children. Teach them about right and wrong yourself. Go the library and get a book on logic to help you teach them how to think for themselves, too. The educational establishment has many items on its agenda, all of which have to do with goals emanating from flawed educational philosophy. The schools are good at preaching the tenets of what passes for our state religion, which we erroneously call liberalism. Most of them also do a lousy job of teaching kids how to think.
    We need to rediscover and re-establish America, the country where people used to do what is right, simply because it is right.

  9. Jimdandi says:

    I believe that one of the underlying factors in the increasing violence in our country is that we no longer see human life as sacred and a special creation of God. We have taught for many years now in our public schools that we are just rearranged pond scum and /or descended from apes. That it is OK to murder a baby in the womb if the mother wishes, so why is it so unthinkable to murder innocent children or adults? Sandy Hook is just the logical result of the indoctrination fed to so many kids. According to that philosophy, we’re just getting rid of some pond scum. Or, in other thinking, we’re getting rid of something that contributes to Man-made Global Warming. False philosophy leads to wrong behavior.

    • Bob Drob says:

      Bravo!!!!! You hit the nail on the head. I couldn’t have said it better. Sorry about the violent reply, in the old days hitting the nail on the head had no violent gesture.

  10. Dick Albright says:

    We have become a nation of Child-Worshippers, riddled with guilt about our fascination for easy money, whether we have it or not. The “middle class” military draft, which made “men” from “little boys” and “women” from “little angels” giving a sense of purpose and peer bonding through responsibility, is gone, but not forgotten. Those DI’s kicked our sorry sweet-butts into shape. Taught us “self-esteem” was from character and productive learning, not “taking”. It also taught “gun safety”…ask a vet. “‘Ask not, etc.” was a good lesson that kept us safe in the cold war. Then, we got Jane and John, who are still around, eh?

    Out are calisthenics…in are “aerobics” in theatres of love–and “Hunting for Mr. Good-Body” to…yes…the tunes of…”drugs, sex and rock n’ roll”. Rap, “Boom-Car Noise” and post-emancipation teen obesity/pregnancy are the norm…if not the signals. The military can’t find enough of the “few good men” of yesteryear–too fat, can’t read, can’t do numbers, can’t focus on job one–freedom (unless it’s sexual). Where’s the moral imperative that DAD use to enforce when MOM said, “wait ’til your father gets home”! Well he’s gone with ERA and replaced with “Uncle Joe”.

    The churches we knew are also gone, but not forgotten. God is still in charge but is letting us sink, as we have chosen, into the abyss of complacency and comfort, letting others “think” for us. Many of us learned a different music from the classics–thoughtful, soothing, technical (STEM). Now…it’s Sunday Football and Madonna.

    Hope? Ah, it springs eternal, but unless EACH of us takes hold, shows grit and DOES SOMETHING(!) BEYOND TALK, we will continue to slide down that…daily, more slippery…slope. A movie character once said “anger is more productive that despair” (rememember the only Arnold S. truism?). He meant “righteous anger” like Christ in the Temple amidst the “money-changers”. So folks, get off your double-duff’s, “straighten up and fly right”. If you see injustice, stand up, get into the fight, and “Do the Constitution 2-Step”!. Learn the truth and hook up. “Low-information voters” and “Santa Clause” don’t cut it. Heads up and thanks for listenin’. RWA–yes…former Navy Airdale.

  11. Bill O'Brien says:

    This article hits the mark. We have a moral, ethical and value problem in our country. As despicable as the shooting of little children was, if these kids had been murdered six years prior while they were still in the womb by abortion, no one would have called for a ban on the medical instruments used to complete the abortion. Nor would they have demanded filing criminal charges against the doctors who performed the procedure.

    All we hear is a woman’s right to choose. I say that starts with the decision to engage in unprotected sex. It certainly does not allow the unborn child THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE.

    THINK ABOUT IT FOR A WHILE! WHERE ARE THE MORALS, ETHICS AND VALUES THAT CREATED OUR GREAT COUNTRY AND TAUGHT US TO DO “THE RIGHT THING”?

  12. Yvonne says:

    Not only is this true but we have let the people that hate God, banish Him from our schools,our work places and even our government buildings! I can’t help but wonder how many parents are praying over their children before sending them off to school in the mornings? There comes a time when we have to look back at ourselves and say why didn’t I teach them more about God, and why didn’t I pray for my family every day before letting them go out in this hardened world. Just saying we have been amiss. People need to read Chronicles 7:14 -If my people which are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and TURN from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.

    • GAFatback says:

      Your letter says a lot about the reason for our present situation. But, they cannot remove reference to GOD in our most important government buildings because it is is imbedded in stone and the capstone of the Washington monument also has an endurable inscription to GOD. M ay GOD bless America. This is America, Love it or Leave it.

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