What have we done?


To the Editor:

What are we doing to our children?

Children learn from their parents … how can we be teaching our kids to kill other children?
I have a sweet young granddaughter in sixth grade … her primary concerns are her hockey game, her music, and her friends, and maybe a couple of cookies after school. Two other sixth grade kids were planning to shoot up their school and kill themselves. What are we doing to have a world where children are planning mass executions? Why aren’t we more concerned about this? What in the world makes us accept this horror, and think this is just the way things are? It just cannot be that way.

What can we do? Or how do we change whatever we are doing that has created this situation?

Then we have the parents who are protecting their children by prohibiting lifesaving vaccinations? Are we humans condemned to do nothing but repeat history’s failures?

As a woman, I am fully prepared to declare the whole mess has been created by men who thought they knew what they were doing and, above all else, are resistant to any sort of change. That is not quite as true as it used to be, but certainly the changes we are seeing are abhorrent and frightening. I am not talking about international war and battles. I am talking about how we as human beings cannot comprehend the terrifying future our children and grandchildren are facing.

Maybe part of the problem is our instant communication and fascination with horror, along with a strange sense of the world. I agree that people everywhere should be concerned about hungry kids thousands of miles away. Although when I was young, I could not understand why my mother thought children in China would go hungry if I didn’t eat my spinach. We are suffering under that same sort of delusion in our world as adults. We can’t possibly cure everything, feed everyone, and survive ourselves. But is this compassion also fueling the alternate feeling that hatred is an ordinary part of human life?

I can be shocked at hearing about some disaster in Seattle or Germany without feeling that I was lucky it did not happen here — because it never occurred to me that these things could happen in “my world.”

I admit that I have led a protected life, as an American, as a woman, in my world. I am often surprised by how many of those I know have been seriously affected by crime or violence or hatred. I have been complacent. But I have always believed that those were shocking or unusual circumstances, that even tolerating the idea was simply unheard-of. I could not accept that most people could even be forced to violent and vicious behavior.

And now I am forced to realize that not only does it happen to “us,” but the nasty and vicious ideas are coming from people I would have thought too young — they should not even know about such things, let alone plan wholesale murder.

What have we been doing to create these young monsters? To create a world where we simply say, Oh, there was another school shooting — or God forbid, terror in a place of worship. What have we done? How can we tolerate these repeated acts of violence against what we should be protecting from evil?

What have we done?


Kay Mayhew