Nobody fears going to hell anymore.When I came along, (and the older I get, the more I see why people call the past ‘the good old days’) we were taught right from wrong. At home. At school. At Sunday school. And not only right from wrong, but the fear of Hell. Hellfire and brimstone. “Boy, you keep that up and yer going to Hell for sure!”
Good over Evil was a very real fight. Law and order. Nice or nasty. It was cut and dried. No excuses. Morality was black and white. Sadly, now days, even that has become politically incorrect. Morality is now a long gray curve. Open to individual interpretation. Even the golden rule has lost its luster.
Sometime between my elementary school years and now we slowly decided that we had no right to enforce long held beliefs on our fellow man. We took prayer out of our schools. We took paddles out of our teachers hands. We saddled our police with so many different constraints that its now hands off, or arrest. A stern warning from a cop used to set a situation straight. Now it might just get the policeman sued. Ask a teacher to discipline a student? They’ll be dealing with an irate parent and their lawyer! We built this country spreading law and order and the “fear of God” from coast to coast. We tamed the wild west with Churches and school marms. Didn’t spare the rod, or leather strap. Right was demonstrated, wrong punished. And good triumphed over evil. Now, its don’t ask don’t tell. If it doesn’t effect me, or, I’m not responsible for what others do. It’s none of my concern. It’s a personal choice, and they’re the ones that’ll have to live with it. We didn’t want to get involved. So involved we weren’t.
Drugs have spread through this country like wildfire. We all know someone who does them. Or sells them. But do we do anything about it? No, none of our business. How many of us turn our backs when we see someone else doing something illegal, like shoplifting for instance. How many of us have no qualms about driving over the speed limit? Or running that yellow light, maybe even a little into the red. Little things add up. We are undergoing constant inoculation to being able to separate what’s right and what’s not. We can’t see a clear line anymore. And for some reason, we no longer think we have the right.
Heinous crimes have always been committed. But, we accepted as fact that there were good people and bad people. We could better understand back then why someone would or could commit such crimes. It was there upbringing, or family life, or lack of. They were the ones that weren’t taught any better. Or they were clearly mentally ill. You could pin a cause on it. Now we seem to see more and more of the “heinous” types of crime. And we just can’t understand why? “Oh, but he was such a nice man.” or “he was quite and kept to himself. I’d never expected…” But there is an explanation, bad as we hate to admit it. Evil exists. And there is a lack of fear of consequences.
But you shouldn’t talk about evil. Society tell us now that there is no such thing, only personal levels of right and wrong and a collective judgment of legalities. If it causes harm or oppression, that is wrong. If it harms no one, or at least no one other than whoever is doing whatever, it’s a personal choice. If it make you feel good, or empowers you as a group, or just becomes popular, its right. Morals have nothing to do with society now, for who can be the judge of right and wrong. There is no accepted ‘higher power’ now. An no consequence of an individuals actions if it is deemed harmless. Don’t offend. Don’t step on anyone’s toes. Don’t judge my actions or question my beliefs. And if it feels good, do it. All things are either ‘personal choice’ or a reaction to ‘oppressions’ or things that ‘happened’ in the past. The first is none of your business. The second, ‘they’ are the real reason for it, not ‘me’. Either way, I’m not really to blame.
A man walked into a school. He allowed himself to be a victim of his life experience and empowered himself to act out a fantasy. He allowed evil to win out in his life. Evil took control. He didn’t want anything other than to destroy good and innocence. It wasn’t glory or sex or control over another. He knew he wouldn’t even survive the day. Somehow he had no concern for the aftermath of his action. Certainly no concern for an afterlife. No fear of Hell. He had a grand plan to commit a heinous act, the rape or molestation and murder of a bunch of little girls. Something almost unspeakable. But in his mind it all ended with a bullet in his brain. His biggest fear wasn’t death, but not being allowed to die. The acts he planned became secondary to death when the police arrived. He was more scared of being caught and what would happen to him here on earth than anything that might come after death. Evil, pure evil. Perhaps that’s why he chose his victims as he did. Young Amish girls. Symbolic of pure innocence.
It’s been called the victimization of America. The grand excuse. We are all victims of something so the responsibility of our acts can’t entirely rest on our own shoulders. Nope, we’ve got to have an excuse. Someone else to share the blame. Alcoholism, child abuse, being molested as a youth. All real good excuses. Rarely the reason, for everyone has a past chock full of experiences. In my own mind I can assign my being sick in the forth grade, or not making the team, or just not being any good playing the piano as an excuse for my actions. But excuses are all they are. We’ve all experienced tragedy of some form or fashion. The death of a parent, or puppy. We’ve had best friends move away, or failed a test, or took the blame for something we didn’t do. We are all victims. Yes, we’re the victim generation. You’d think the right to an excuse was in the Bill of Rights. And if we keep on as we are, it just might get there.
When I was young and did wrong, say at school, I may have gotten paddled by the teacher that caught me doing whatever it was I did. I’d get sent on to the principal. After sitting and sweating for a while outside his office I’d get called in and “take my licks” literally. When I got home mom would surly have heard. I’d have to walk that walk out to the hedge around the backyard and get mom a switch. And it had better be a good switch, heaven forbid the walk back if not. And if I tried to blame what I did on another, I’d just be tattling and trying to put my responsibility off on someone else. If they did wrong, I’d be told, they would get their own punishment. As guess what? I wouldn’t do whatever it was I did again. I learned right from wrong. I learned that there were consequences to my actions. I learned that what I did was my responsibility and not someone else’s.
I had another huge benefit when I grew up. I went to Church. Not only Church, but Sunday school. Church was more, I’d say, expected, back then. Almost everyone went to one church or another. It was the rare exception that didn’t. And there we were taught the meaning behind good and evil. We were taught about Heaven and Hell. And yes we had the fear of God put in us. We were taught the Lord’s prayer and the Ten commandments and about the Golden Rule. But that’s not politically correct now. It infringes on others rights. Fewer and fewer attend Church now. But there IS something to be said for learning the Lords Prayer and forgiving trespasses against us. There’s something to be said for learning the Ten Commandments and how it’s wrong to kill, steal, and lust, and that its right to respect our parents. And that if we would only remember to do unto others as we’d have them do unto us, the world would be such a better place. And that Hell is a very real place, and you don’t want to go there.