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This is progress?

Mass murder in our age of "enlightenment"

Issue: "Chaos in Colorado," May 1, 1999

While American forces bomb Yugoslavia with the announced intention of stopping one form of slaughter, gunfire comes to yet another public school in which more than a dozen have been slaughtered and others, critically wounded, remain in peril. After Paducah, Ky., after Jonesboro, Ark., after Springfield, Ore., the pattern is familiar. With chips on their shoulders, grievances in their hearts, and weapons in their hands, students who should be planning for life instead plot death. They wound and kill fellow students for reasons known only to demons. Are these cries for help from the abused, neglected, and abandoned generation, or is this the price we continue to pay for believing we could live as we wish, laugh at morality, and imagine judgment day would never come? Why should young people take life seriously when their overworked, aborting, day-care, euthanasia culture does not? Life is so cheap, relationships are so meaningless-children get the message. We await the psychiatrists' explanation, but don't we secretly know what it is? When you mix the ingredients for a cake, you get a cake. When you mix the volatile ingredients of corrupted culture, vulgar entertainment, and broken, loveless families, you get child killers. Okay, so these are rare, but their rarity is small comfort when you are the victim or the parents of a dead child. The initial profiles of the young people allegedly responsible for the killing fields that have now come to Littleton, Colo., are familiar: They were into Satanism, Nazism, hate, and violence. What is making so many young souls so sick? There will be the predictable explanations from clinicians. And factual reports. But who can adequately explain this? The end of the Cold War was supposed to usher in a new age of world peace and security, but we are less secure than ever. Genocide occurs in our "enlightened" age, and mass murder occurs at home. This is progress? This is peace? This is security? Wasn't the Brady bill supposed to protect us from such things? Or maybe it was those 100,000 police officers. Kurt Thompson, a Washington, D.C.-area psychiatrist whose clients include adolescents, sees today's teens suffering from "a horrid sense of disconnection." They're connected technically through the Internet, but they're disconnected relationally. Too many parents, he says, think by the time their children become teenagers their job is almost done and that other forces will complete the shaping of young minds and spirits. Oh sure, we can put metal detectors at the schoolhouse door, but who makes mental and moral detectors? The pace of life can be just as fast in a big city as in a small town, says Dr. Thompson, and kids who are on the edge, or over it, are hard to spot. It's not all the parents' fault. Teens are free moral agents. But Dr. Thompson says too many don't spend enough quality and quantity time with their children, nor do enough pray with and for them, or tell them how much they are loved and appreciated. Government officials are making predictable statements. Look for some to suggest adding more gun laws to the thousands already on the books that didn't stop this latest shooting. Politicians are powerless; parents are not. Parents have the best chance of curtailing violence in the heart before it reaches the head and the hands.
-© 1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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Cal Thomas
Cal Thomas

Cal, whose syndicated column appears on WORLD's website and in more than 500 newspapers, is a frequent contributor to WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It. Follow Cal on Twitter @CalThomas.

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