Friday, December 14, 2012

It's a violent world out there...

We live in a violent world.

It's always been violent.  We just have faster and more detailed information today than ever before in the history of mankind.  When an event happens we know about it almost instantly wherever we are in the world.  Our access to information is unprecedented and that makes it easy to believe that people are more violent now than in the past.  I think that's a trick our collective mentality plays on us.

Look at nature... go all the way back to the geological formation of the planet.  How much of our landscape was formed by events like volcanic eruption, earthquakes, glaciers pushing forward and receding, floods and even meteor strikes?  Those are violently transforming events.  If you believe we are literal children of God, made in His very image, then at some level I think you have to wonder if God - the very being our minds have embodied as THE image of love and peace and light - has a violent side.  The methods He chose to create our world were violent, and if you read the Bible you'll notice that His punishments when sin has become so rampant that a population cannot be redeemed* is violent.  Could that be interpreted to say that some propensity for violence is bred into our spiritual DNA?

Could it be that violence, and the tools for bringing it about, are part of the divine creative power?  And that when we exercise our God-given gift of free agency and choose violence as a destructive force (as opposed to His creative force) we are misusing that fledgling power coded within our own spiritual being?

Today much of the world is caught up in shock and grief for the people of a small town in Connecticut where a young man with a gun walked into an elementary school and opened fire.  The last report I saw confirmed that 18 children, (27 people total including the gunman himself), were dead.  At the same time, a man in China injured 22 children with a knife at the gate to their school grounds.  To most of us both the acts and the thought processes behind them are incomprehensible.  We are struggling with sadness.  And grief.  And relief that it wasn't our family or friends.

And anger.

There's a lot of anger out there in the conversations about how awful the world's condition has become and what can be done to change the future.  Some say the answer is tighter control of whose hands can legally hold a gun.  Others say more spending on mental health and to address drug abuse is the answer.  Many look to Heaven and plead for an intervention of Biblical proportion.  A few of us say just look after the home and family better.

I live in a home with guns.  Pretty much I've always lived with one or more guns in the house and I always will.  As a child I knew where my Dad kept his guns.  They were not locked away from my inquisitive fingers.  I knew where he kept the bullets, also unlocked.  I knew most of friends' parents had guns and ammunition in their homes, too.  And yet, neither I nor anyone in my close circle of friends has ever shot another person because we were also taught respect for what a gun could do if pointed, even in play, at another person.  Guns do not kill.  A gun is merely a tool... an inanimate object to be manipulated to a person's will.

Guns do not kill - people do!  And making gun ownership illegal will not stop murders from happening.  It will not remove guns from the hands of people wishing to do harm to other people any more than making drugs like heroine and cocaine illegal has rid the world of their influence.  I oppose gun control because I believe it will only remove an honest man's defense and create even more easy victims.

The key point there was that my parents (and my friends' parents) taught me from a very young age to respect a gun for the tool that it is.  They also taught me the other important lessons that gave me my moral grounding in life.  I knew what they believed and valued because they invested their time in teaching me the difference between right and wrong.  Too often, in my self-admittedly flawed judgement, I don't see this happening as much today.  The duty of teaching children morals, values, respect, appropriate conduct and consequences gets abdicated to schools and peers with equally poor parental guidance.  Home and family life have become almost completely devalued in our society.  Without the moral compass provided by parents in a structured home environment, young people are reverting to the fear-based mindset that only the top of the food chain survives and that all means to get, and stay, there are acceptable.

What I just can't fathom is why we are all letting this continue.  We know better!  We have the power to fix the problem.  The question is... do we have the guts to step up and meet the challenge?  Or do we choose to just sit back and recoil in horror as another of our youth goes off the deep end?

- - - - - - - - - - -
*For example: the primordial casting of Satan and his group of followers from Heaven, the worldwide flood of Noah's time, the many destructions of Jerusalem, the cataclysmic events recorded in the Book of Mormon at the crucifiction and death of the Savior.

1 comment:

Tali said...

Amen Kathy! Well said. Jesus Christ even became violent in the temple when angry with those who were changing money. He over turned tables and I am assuming scouled at least but maybe had to raise his voice to express his discust and kicked them out. I agree there are things we are so far from understanding but it makes sense that the power that comes with righteous anger is actually part of our spiritual make up as children of God, and as such we are designed to become God's eventually and when we do that power to create world's of our own will probably include violent force. Interesting thoughts.