Is it just me, or do the lives of children not mean as much as they used to? Kids, born and unborn, are dropping like flies for a variety of horrifying reasons. You can’t view any major news outlet without seeing crimes committed against children, sometimes by other children.
Whether it’s kids settling their differences with weapons instead of their fists, some creep kidnapping a child for sexual abuse, or a mass shooting at a school or elsewhere, or any of countless other circumstances our nation’s children are dying.
- Late term abortions
- Deaths from “faith healing”
- Deaths from parental neglect and violence
- Deaths from gang / school violence
- Bullying online and at school
- Suicide for various reasons
- Child Trafficking
Late Term Abortions
First, some clarification on New York’s new abortion law. I’m seeing a lot memes on Facebook claiming that doctors can leave a viable child to die after an abortion, or that late term abortions up to the day before birth are available on demand. These are false claims. Click here for an explanation.
All that said, there are so many people who seem to believe that an abortion is a viable alternative to responsible contraception. Regardless of the circumstances, an abortion ends a human life. It matters not if it’s months or mere hours after conception. That little glob of cells growing inside the mother is a child. If the pregnancy presents a valid clinical threat to the mother’s health or life, certainly she has the right to save herself. But should we not try to save the life of the child as well? Too many people regard the life growing inside the mother as no more than a tumor or a nuisance. And that’s sad.
Deaths From “Faith Healing”
“We trust in God for everything. We trusted him to take care of our illnesses and heal”
Shawn Sprout, after his 6 year-old nephew Austin died from a burst appendix
This is especially problematic in the American northwest. There are parents who choose prayer instead of real medical care for their children. Hundreds (that we know of) of children just in Idaho have died from treatable ailments because parents believe it’s a sin to visit a doctor. They apparently think that seeing a doctor means they don’t have faith in God to look after them. Some are prosecuted, but “religious exemptions” often get them out of trouble, even though they allowed their child to die.
Deaths From Parental Neglect And Violence
Almost every day you’ll see in the news where a child is dead either from starvation or violence. This crisis reaches across racial and economic boundaries to affect people of all walks of life. We see stories of children locked up in closets, wallowing in their own feces and too weak from hunger to help themselves. And then there’s always an angry boyfriend who punches a pregnant woman in the stomach, killing the child. Or a woman who drowns her children or a guy who grabs a knife or a gun and wipes out his whole family. And then the neighbors are clucking their tongues and saying, “yeah, we knew he was trouble.” Really? Then why the hell didn’t you speak up about it?
Deaths From Gang / School Violence
How is it that a gang can exist in a school? Why are police not there busting these snotty-nosed little bastards and putting them in juvenile detention? How is it that parents are not stepping in when they realize their children are hanging with a gang? I’ve seen good neighborhoods go to hell in a handbag almost overnight due to gang activity. Part of the problem is that cops have their hands tied by politically correct bureaucracies that prevent them from taking a tough stance. Yes, there are abusive cops – too many of them. But handicapping an entire police force is not the answer to bad cops.
And for as long as America has had schools, American schools have a had a problem with bullies. It’s becoming more and more of an issue as bullying has expanded from the schoolyard to social media. I can remember when giving a bully a bloody nose caused him to cease his bullying or at least seek an easier target. But now? Kids who defend themselves often end up in trouble for doing so. It’s ass-backwards for the bully to get off while the victim is punished.
And school shootings? Oh dear me, how does this happen? What drove the boys at Columbine and other schools to kill their classmates? Some of these kids were bullied and alienated. Kids can be cruel. But they don’t deserve to die for youthful ignorance. And making schools “gun free zones” hasn’t helped one bit. Arming faculty or providing armed security on the other hand should provide a deterrent. The vast majority of mass shootings occur in “gun-free zones.”
Suicide For Various Reasons
All of the above can lead to children taking their own lives when they feel they have no one to turn to. In addition, many gay kids end up committing suicide because they’re bullied just for being who they are. How sad is it when a youngster feels he / she has nothing left to live for when their whole lives are in front of them? And how sad and sick is it that some ignorant child bully derives entertainment from causing misery in others?
Missing and Abducted children is a global crisis. But in the USA it’s even worse. Consider this information:
Average Missing Children Per Year (2015 numbers)…
- Australia: 20,000 per year.
- Canada: 45,288 per year.
- Germany: 100,000 per year.
- India: 96,000 per year.
- Jamaica: 1,984 per year
- Russia: 45,000 per year
- Spain: 20,000 per year.
- United Kingdom: 112,853 per year.
- United States: 460,000 per year.
Obviously not all of these are abductions. Some are runaways. Some are missing due to an as yet undiscovered mishap. Others are missing because a violent family member killed them and hid the body. Some are kidnapped by a local child rapist, misused, killed, and tossed away. Horrible endings of life, one and all. And the runaways? What or whom were they running from? Some are just brats who get angry at Mom and Dad and eventually come back home. Others end up dragged into the underworld of drugs and prostitution and are never seen again.
No easy ones to be sure. Everything above speaks of a devaluing of human life. It speaks of selfishness and hate, anger and despair. I’ve seen many people speak from many perspectives on all of these topics and none seem to have an answer. How do we teach compassion? Empathy? Gentleness? Honesty? Self-discipline? Respect? How do parents compete with the violence and vulgarity in movies, music and video games?
And don’t hand me that bullshit about video games not influencing youngsters. I have witnessed games like “Grand Theft Auto” and others in which you can’t win without engaging in graphic violence against innocents. What kind of message does that send? There is a heck of a difference between Grand Theft Auto and occasionally shooting the hound in “Duck Hunt.” Go ahead, tell me I’m wrong. I grew up watching Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam trying to kill that rascally rabbit (let’s face it, Bugs was just smarter than Sam and Elmer). Guess what? I’ve not shot a single soul in my 60+ years. But the stuff kids are exposed to nowadays is a whole ‘nuther ballgame. Video games where players get points for rape and murder don’t exactly instill empathy in young minds. And those kids eventually grow up to become adults – assuming they don’t killed themselves.
Some will say that it’s all about morality. That’s partly true, but morality is a choice. So we must consider what leads one to choose moral behavior over immoral behavior. And don’t talk to me about “we need God back in our schools” or society or whatever. You don’t need a cosmic dictator looking over your shoulder to be a good person. Or if you do, please seek professional help.
Morals come from empathy and a desire not to be harmed. Think about what most of us call “The Golden Rule.” Virtually every religion and culture recognizes this principle in one manner or another. The Christian version is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The earliest known codification of it is found on the “Code of Hammurabi,” a large (about 7 ft tall) stone stele dated to around 1754 BCE. The concept is simple. Don’t do stuff to me that you would not want me doing to you. In a perfect world, that might be the only rule we needed. Sadly, we ain’t perfect. Far from it.
Secularists (atheists, agnostics, “nones” etc) generally follow the principle of “well-being” to attain the goal of moral behavior within a society. For example, you and I (whoever you are) can likely agree that getting our heads chopped off is not conducive to our well-being. So assuming that we’re amicable folks, we can also agree that neither of us will chop off the other’s head. I realize I’m being simplistic here but the principle truly is rather simple. You don’t need a list of commandments or a book of scripture to recognize the validity of such a principle.
But here again, we come back to empathy. Without it, I might chop off your head anyway just to take your cell phone. A lot of students get assaulted or even murdered just for their school lunch money. Few people are born with empathy. It’s something we have to learn. With it, one can also learn to respect our fellow humans. I personally believe that it’s something every parent should teach as the foundation of moral behavior. Kids should be taught that to be hurtful to someone is no different than being hurtful to themselves, because in the long run they make the world a worse place by doing so. Our current state of affairs is indicative of such.
Anyway I’ve rambled on long enough. All I can say is that if our culture does not regain its respect for life, America and other western nations will be reduced to a smoking ruin. If you can’t see that’s where we’re headed, then you’re blind as a bat.
Sources and Related Reading