We live in a very scary world. In fact, we are literally bombarded every day with horrific news stories of terror, murder and unimaginable violence. Popular television shows such as I Survived and Killer Kids have become favorites in almost every home in America -- my own included.
The lines between what is shocking and what is entertaining have become not only blurred but, quite possibly erased. It could easily be argued that we have become a society that finds the strife of others nothing more than distractions and entertainment. But, what should shock us, appall us and disturb us? What would you consider as the most awful and depraved acts one could possibly inflict on another human being? Has our definition changed? Why do we not seem to be as shaken by tragedy as we once were?
In actuality, my own calloused reaction to reports of violence often surprises and even disturbs me. For example, when I heard the news of the horrific tragedy that befell Newtown, Conn. I was a little surprised at myself and how I initially reacted. I listened to the news of children being murdered in their elementary school classrooms as if it was just as mundane as a traffic or weather report. It wasn't until several moments later when I stood to realize that my own mother is the principal of an elementary school that I began to feel real emotion about the tragic situation. My minor emotional reaction saddened me. It wasn't until there was a personal connection to the violence did I even seem to be bothered.
I began to send out heartfelt texts to friends and family urging them to hug their children tighter and to express love and appreciation for one another. I went on to say that life is a precious gift that should never be taken for granted. I asked that we all take a moment to pray for the families and all of those affected by this unspeakable tragedy. I was dismayed to receive only a handful of responses. I began to question why so few had even bothered to respond. I also began to wonder if it was because we have become so accustomed to this type of insanity and violence that we aren't moved by it unless it affects us personally.
Is this type of calloused reaction or lack thereof part of human nature or has our society become so violent that we no longer find such acts of random violence deplorable? Has it simply happened so often that we are weary of hearing about it? Or is it more plausible that our hearts and minds are weary from the heartache of these types of events and we have now gone into survival mode in an attempt to protect ourselves from the pain caused by these vicious attacks?
My hope is, of course, that nothing of this caliber ever happens again. However, if this type of evil should rear its ugly head again, I pray that we will all stand together equally horrified and angered by it. Quite possibly, if we stop being so complacent to these acts of violence, they may once again become a rarity instead of a regular occurrence.
Our complacency is doing nothing more than telling these perpetrators that this type of behavior is acceptable and that killing each other in fits of rage does little more than grab a headline or two. By standing together and expressing our disgust, we may actually have a chance at going to the movies or sending our children to school without fear of a random act of violence. If we don't take a stand, when will the violence end and whose life will end in violence?