I was going to rant, albeit humorously, about how things have changed in schools since I was last a pupil. I was going to joke how a playground fistfight got you a black eye, detention and a sore butt for a week instead of criminal charges and expulsion. I was going to bitch about how a teacher could console a crying child over a knee scrape without being charged for molestation. I was going to moan about how we never even knew what an OT or play therapist was and now it’s the first thing pops out of a teachers mouth when your kid just does not feel like doing puzzles or skipping on command. Then another shooting happened in America and my moaning seems trivial. WTF? A 20 year old shooting kids barely able to tie their own shoelaces. WTF!
What is going on in this world? Both my kids are in the age groups of those killed and the thought of something like that happening to my two bundles of joy fills my heart with dread. I am the least empathetic (not a great trait for a budding author) person you are ever likely to meet, but even a dead cold rock would have some emotional response to this latest stain on the human race.
I feel ashamed to be part of the same species – we are meant to have evolved to some higher place, some higher consciousness, yet, we behave like cave men in some reality game show of survival of the fittest. We are like lions killing off cubs to ensure bloodlines or mobs of apes attacking others for meat. No, wait, at least the killings in the animal world seem to have some purpose. Humans just could not give a damn about another life.
Sure, you are going to find the bad apples in any population and they are going to do things that scare and shock the shit out of us but I don’t think it has anything to do with weapon control, video games or anything physical we can control with a law. I think that something has happened to our collective consciousness and human life simply has little value. Sickos and basket cases aside, I believe that there is some kind of moral rot eating its way through the human race. It does not matter what colour we are, where we are from, how much money we have or what religion we follow (or not). It’s almost as if we have descended into some post apocalyptic The Road before anything apocalyptic has actually occurred. Or has it happened and we have just not noticed? Frog in a pot syndrome?
A quick Google and you can find plenty of equally shocking and seemingly senseless killings around the world. Grief, I can pick up the daily paper here and in a turn or two I will find some shocking toddler murder or machete wielding scholar hacking at a former friend over some social slight. A mother smothering her child because it cries too much. A madman stabbing his neighbours over a loud radio or a little child being shot simply because the tin wall of her shack could not stop the bullet aimed at someones cat. Is a human life really only worth a bullet, $10, a stained pillowcase, a ps3 or a Porsche? What is going on in the world?
I have always had a very strong sense of what is right and wrong. Grief, I sometimes irritate myself by taking it to the extreme – I’ll follow the traffic lines in an empty parking lot instead of taking a shortcut up a wrong way – it means nothing to anyone else and no-one would ever know but I would. I’d rather inconvenience myself than bend rules I agree with and if it will negatively affect someone else, then I will simply not break it. Don’t get me wrong – if I believe the rule is wrong (or does not follow my own moral compass), I ain’t gonna follow it even if it means I suffer. Sometimes my emotions tend to get in the way and stupid rules or those for the sake of rules (or tradition) get my goat but I like living by a code. It’s my code and it defines me – without it, I’d be nothing.
I’d be a useless subject in that shock the innocent person in the next room experiment – I’d tell the tester to go get photographed. Now ask me to flip the switch on a mass murderers electric chair and I would probably do it without a second thought. Yeah yeah, I know, the world is not black and white and I am gonna go loony sticking to my principals unless I take up some meditation or go live on a deserted island. Sorry, it’s too late, I am already messed up and my moral code likely means that I will live a decade or two less (thanks to stress) than some amoral yob that could care less, but at least I’ll be happy with who I am.
When people think of morals and values, somehow religion always creeps its way into the conversation but I don’t believe it should. Right or wrong does not need stone tablets, temples, musty old books, saints, prophets and priests telling us what is right or wrong. Unless you have had a lobotomy, you just know. Sure there are good things that religion preaches, but lets face it, religion has its own grey areas that have and continue to cause infinitely more pain and suffering than any school shooting ever could. (I promised this blog would stay away from religion so I will leave that just there.) I am an atheist and I am glad that I live in a world where I am afforded the freedom to believe in whatever I want and I am perfectly happy to accept that everyone can do the same provided they leave everyone else alone and don’t impose their views on others – live and let live. If you want to slaughter a goat in your back yard for Xmas, that’s entirely up to you. Just don’t invite me to watch.
Which brings me to my moral dilemma. Live and let live, great. Practical… no chance. Who is going to police those that do not? Who is to decide what is right or wrong? Who makes the rules? Who watches the watchmen? What’s morally right for one group may not be for another. Who am I to say that someone elses moral code is wrong? There is no such thing as Utopia – never will be, we are human; greedy, selfish, self-centred animals looking out for number one. Gandhis, Mandelas and Florence Nightingales are diamonds amongst billions and they stand no chance.
Changing gun laws (or any other laws that turn our lives into police states and prisons) is not going to solve anything – it has not made an iota of difference here in Johannesburg South Africa – why should it anywhere else? Making schools prisons and having toddler bodyguards is all a reaction to a problem, not a solution to the cause.
If I believed there really was some greater power watching over us, I’d ask It for antibiotics for the blight on the human soul. What is going on with the human race? How have we fallen so low that we can commit such atrocities to our children?