Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Breakdown of Society

I wrote this in a pocket notebook late at night on Friday, but since I didn't have access to my computer, I am just now posting it. I also have added a couple things to what I wrote Friday at the end:

Friday 4/3/09: Today was a very tragic day. As I am sure you are aware, a gunman killed 13 and himself in Binghamton, NY. This hit close to home for me. I have been in Binghamton numerous times since it is only about a 40 minute drive from my home. I have numerous friends living in and going to school in Binghamton. When I found out about the shooting, I was waiting to talk to my professor about my resume...for an internship in Binghamton. So has been a tragedy that has struck a chord within me.

This afternoon, I was listening to the radio so I could hear the initial press conference. Its start was delayed over 30 minutes. While we all waited, the radio station took calls from people around the area. There were many speculations on how such a horror could happen and what to do to prevent future events. One caller, and the comments of the host that followed, really hit the nail on the head though.

Look at our society. This, according to a news source, is the FIFTH mass-murder in a MONTH. I admittedly was only aware of two others (the nursing home murders in North Carolina and the police killings in Oakland(?)) since I have scaled back the amount I read the news. But, regardless, this is becoming way too common of an event.

My peers and I have grown up in a different time...we are the product of the Columbine Era. I was in 4th grade when that atrocity occurred, and it has never left my mind. It, along with other school shootings since, affects me even still, dictating where I like to sit in a class room and making me nervous of lecture halls.

Why are these things happening? What is the cause? It is as if American society itself is breaking down. Well, perhaps it is. And, as I heard on the radio earlier, our attitude towards human life may very well be at the center of that. As a society, the only human life we care about is our own.

As I watched the news early in the afternoon, the analysts and talking heads could predict the situation with frightening accuracy. They suspected the killer had probably lost his job, or was upset with something to do with a person at the Civil Center or the Civil Center itself. Though not confirmed to my knowledge as I write this (again..this was Friday...), it is reported that the killer had worked for IBM and recently lost his job. The thing with these mass-murders is that the killers jump right to the extreme and start shooting. If there is no respect for human life, why not?

When a society loses respect for life, these are the kind of things that happen...what else should we expect? Life is the most precious gift a person has. I mean...come on...with out it, nothing else material matters! So if society doesn't respect that most basic of building blocks, what will they respect? Nothing, not even themselves. It is, in the truest senses, a break down of society.

Could I be going too far in saying our culture does not respect life? I don't think so!! Abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, cloning, human-animal hybrids, contraception...all of these things that are becoming or already have been embraced by western culture. This is especially true of the Obama administration, which has nominated one radically pro-abortion candidate for his Cabinet after another. Not even three months in, and Obama has certainly lived up to his feared reputation as a strong support of the culture of death. And I really fear that unless something changes, things will only get worse.

What can we do? Before anything, we need to help those already hurt by the horrors. Pray fo the victims...pray for their families...and the killer's family and friends, a group that I think often gets overlooked, but likely needs the most prayers. Can you imagine being in their shoes? Pray pray pray for them, and I pray you never have to go through something that horrid. After that though, we as a society need to rethink our values and what is REALLY important. We need to stand up for Life! For some of us, that simply means leading by example. For others though, we are called to battle, especially on behalf of those who cannot fight for themselves: the unborn and comatose that are murdered for whatever reason, be it money, convenience, or simply being a burden.

Especially of Obama keeps up with his first months in office, this is a war that MUST be fought. Get on an action alert email list,which notifies you of petitions to sign and makes sending your representatives your thoughts as easy as a couple of clicks. Find a pro-life group and get involved. If you can't find one, start one. I am doing that here at college, and it really is not that hard. There are websites available to help with that. Be a witness to others. Speak up to those who are unsure of their position on these topics...educate them! It is amazing how a few small words can impact someone. And if you don't think you can, remember Mark 13:11 (" not worry beforehand about what you are to say. But say whatever will be given to you at that hour. For it will not be you who are speaking but the holy Spirit.") and take courage. And most of all, pray!

Additions made Sunday 4/5/09: At Mass this morning, our priest started his homily by telling us that he was in Binghamton Friday. When he heard of the shootings just a few blocks from where he was, he went to one of the hospitals, where he spent many years as a chaplain. He told us there was a victim there who had been shot in the leg, and who had no religion (coming from a communist country, that is no surprise.) However, when they told him that they were praying to Jesus for him, he cried. Later, he was sent to the place where the families and friends of the possible victims were gathered. He had a Buddhist woman come up to him and ask him to pray "the Mother of God" prayer...better known as the Hail Mary. He basically said that, even though he had never been in such a place with such shock and grief...that he could feel grace at work there. He then went onto say that, even though this is a tragedy and a manifestation of evil, it is not cause to despair. Next week, we celebrate Easter, the Resurrection of Christ...the triumph over sin and death!

Yes....we have a battle to fight...and it very badly needs to be fought, that is clear. And it will be a tough battle, but we can not give up and can not despair. Remember, this battle has already been won for us, when Jesus died on the cross and rose triumphantly three days later. And as we enter into Holy Week, what better of a thing to keep in mind than that!

Links of Interest:
Students for Life: creating a group:
National Right to Life:
Susan B. Anthony List:
National Committee for a Human Life Amendment:

Please let me know of other links I should add here by posting a comment! Please forward this along to your friends and is a great first step is getting involved.