Is Our Society Sick or What?

Written: 1 March, 2000

At work, during lunch, I read today's Detroit Free Press, which had a few articles about the recent shooting in the first grade classroom. I have to admit that when I first heard the news on TV, I had trouble holding back tears when I thought about those kids, and also found myself trying to hold back tears as I read some of the accounts in the paper, particularly when they had quotes from some of these small children about what had happened. And as I was reading the articles, I thought, "Gee, when I go home, I ought to post something on the Cafe board titled 'Our society is sick,' or something like that." I also had the creepy feeling that these kinds of tragedies get twisted into some kind of sick entertainment in the way that the media handles it -- almost like the bigger the story, the bloodier the story, the more interested we are and the happier the media is to report the story.

But maybe that's just my fear talking... fear that there will be lots of coverage and no real action or change to prevent things like this tragedy happening in the future. And I don't necessarily mean more gun laws (although I favor that) but also a real change in how people behave. I wish people started focusing on Right and Wrong more, and standing up for what's Right. For example, recently we saw a lot of coverage about the "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-millionaire?" fiasco, but most of the coverage seemed to be focusing on the "looney" factor of it, and not pointing out strongly enough on the ethical questions involved in that incident. Instead of just sitting back and going "whooaaaaa...what will people do next?", like a bunch of passive couch-potatoes observing real-life tragedies like they are carnival acts performed for our entertainment, we ought to demand that people start acting morally.

When I was growing up, I read superhero comics, and admired superheroes like Superman and Captain America. Although I recall that I deliberately never became a boy scout, I tried to live up to a moral standard that I could be proud of (not that I always succeeded... many of those times where I failed are still burned into my mind). When I was a teenager I briefly took up shoplifting, and managed to steal quite a few records, and LP records were larger than today's CDs, ya know. I remember that I stopped after a month or so because I didn't want to be "in the wrong" and a "bad guy." I knew that I was doing something wrong and that I didn't want to be a person who does wrong. I wanted to be a good person. I think I'm lucky that I was such an ardent fan of superheroes, because I might not have thought about "right vs. wrong" otherwise, growing up.

A relative of mine is going into kindergarten later this year. I want to tell her to ignore peer pressure and stand up for what she believes is the good, the right, the moral. Not to be swayed into doing something just because the other kids are doing it. Not to make fun of another kid -- the unpopular kid -- just because the other kids might be treating someone that way, and it feels better when you know that someone else is less liked than you. Not to disregard the things that your parents have taught you just because your "friends" want you to think like they do. But nobody's perfect, and she's bound to screw up like I did somewhere along the way, giving in to fear and peer pressure, and it's sad.

Anyway, I was reading what the dead girl's uncle told a reporter in the paper today:

Greg Grenay, an uncle, said Kayla attended the Calvary Assembly of God church in Flint, where she was involved in Sunday school. Her family turned to their faith for strength.

"The Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who is going to get us through this," Grenay said. "He is the only one who can heal this city with the violence and these guns. They need to get prayer back in school, they need to get Jesus back into the heart of these kids or they're going to keep killing one another for no reason."

Grenay broke down before he could say more.

(The full article is at )