In hearing of the Colorado shootings, I am caused to think how and what "we" (the population) are specifically teaching our children about death. Not the osmotic influence on the culture of Roe.v.Wade but are the schools and families actually talking about death, facing death and fearing death?
I'm not speaking of the passing of Grandparents or the neighbors youngster dying due to leukemia but what exactly do children learn about "violent" death and how is it passed on and into their values?
The schools in Colorado (and everywhere) are, this week, taking the opportunity to extend some type of therapeutic devices to students while the adults plainly accept the task of re-writing and re-evaluating security measures for the schools as if it were an inevitability that something like that *will* happen at their quiet little school.
The children in our schools will be given an opportunity to "let out their grief" in sessions designed by facilitators for that very purpose. But, are these kids really facing and realizing "violent" death as a consequence of the actions, thoughts and cultural influences on those who perpetrated the acts? Do they actually realize that they, too, might someday succumb to such influences and act out their whimsical impulse to kill another living being? Or, are they told that death is part of life, these things happen and "I'm okay, your gonna be okay".
Is violent death so relativized in our culture that we moralize it by "de-moralizing" it? That we actually establish it as a quantitative value and pass it along to the next genration as nothing new, accept it and get over it?
Why doesn't our culture fear death, violence and mayhem? It seems the young men in Colorado didn't fear the death of others nor did they fear their own death. Shouldn't our nation ask "WHY"? But, not, "Why did they do it?", rather, "Why didn't they fear violence and death?" What has been changed for this generation to create this stillness within concerning death?
The triteness of pointing at violent video games and violent styles of contemporary music will be marched out by those who don't like them but isn't there something deeper than "media exposure" causes? Something taught by the culture early on? Could it be that there is a hardening of spirit learned by the violent death of others, they way death and suffering are glorified by our callous culture?
Think back a little. The culture teaches that violence and violent death begets fame, doesn't it? Who is more famous, Patty Hearst or David Nearnberg? Who gets more "limelight", Scott Dillery or David Koresh? Which name enters the discussion of teenagers more often, "My Dad" or "Stone Cold" Steve Austin? (Note: The unfamiliar names are fine family men in my neighborhood.)
Our media coverage, though, reflects our culture. The cultural norm is a striving for that "15 minutes of fame". We are taught from an early age that the celebrated are the down-trodden. You are only "someone" if you are pulled out of the muck and mire of tragedy; that only the "starving" artist gets funding and a showing. Our children are being taught that the only way to get ahead is to be inextricably behind. Once you have reached downtrodden status, all kinds of great things begin to happen.
America is no longer the society that has pulled itself up by its boot-straps. We have become a nation that depresses and oppresses itself and sits in sackcloath and ashes waiting for someone to rescue us. Meanwhile, the rescuers become the eliminators.
Eliminators of the perceived societal dregs. Those who can never be rescued from their condition. They *must* be better off dead, is the thinking. The imperfect fetus, aborted. The aged who can't care for themselves, euthanized. The impefect person, assisted suicide. The depressed, self-eliminated.
On occasion, as we saw in Colorado, those who have deemed themselves an "execution squad" find it necessary to take others with them. They appear to have found their own lives useless and at the same time determined that while they are useless, they have more value than other categories (ethnic groups or cliqueish groups). Therefore, to call attention to their own perceived value over a few others, they perform in an arena most likely to call attention to their angst.
We, as a culture are teaching our children, and their children that death has a twofold result. Physical death has become a release or relief from percieved poor conditions. The result is children who become angst-ridden in their outlook for the future and commit an execution. Death then becomes a vehicle for a legacy and way to point out the conditions that prompted the death(s). Yes, it says. "Look at me, I am violently famous!" then it says, "Its too late to rescue me."
Our children are begging for rescue from a society that glorifies and celebrates death. Society sits back, throws up its hands and says, "It's inevitable. Accept it, Get over it. I'm not dead, you're not dead. Life goes on." Or is it more accurately, "Death marches on"?