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What is the Value?

End of year thinking to move ahead in the right direction

As we hurtle toward a new year, I can’t say I’m sad to see 2012 come to an end. There were so many horrific reports of violence, murder and mayhem, I must wonder if 2013 will be a year to anticipate or to dread.

In a conversation last night a friend made note of the poor, 23 year old Indian woman who was brutally raped and savaged by six men in New Delhi. She died of her injuries and I remarked I thought it a mercy that she died. She had suffered brain damage and many of her internal organs were destroyed by brutalization with an iron rod during the attack. She and her boyfriend were traveling on a bus. After the attackers finished with her, they threw her and her boyfriend, naked, from the moving bus.

I learned that while this crime was particularly violent and gained international attention, it is common practice in India for women to be brutalized, raped and receive no justice. Reports from New Delhi, based on statistics out of 256,329 violent crimes recorded last year, 228,650 cases were related to violence against women. That’s unimaginable in the year 2012…isn’t it?

We have barely begun to recover from the senseless slaughter of 20 children and 6 adults in Newtown, Connecticut, two weeks ago. The very fact that we thought of that tragedy as “another” mass murder is beyond comprehension. Oh, but we did think that! It was obvious from the spate of stories used to fill the gap while waiting on details this was not an isolated incident. It wasn’t even the deadliest incident. Newtown ranked second after Virginia State in number of deaths at a school shooting. Here’s a chart to help us keep up with the numbers!

The very same day the Newtown massacre occurred, a man in China slashed 22 children and one adult with a knife. That didn’t get much as much press time, because none of those children died.  I did note the same line of logic: It wasn’t the first time an event like this had occurred.

In fact, this same article recounted, “There was a particular string of knife attacks against schoolchildren across the country in early 2010 that killed nearly 20 and wounded more than 50. In one incident that year, a man slashed 28 children, two teachers and a security guard in a kindergarten in eastern China.”

While researching for this story, I became completely overwhelmed by the results. When I searched “Violence against children”, Google returned 402,000,000 results. When I searched “Violence against women” I got 386,000,000 results. Everyone in the world is concerned about violent crime. The World Health Organization, the United Nations and numerous other agencies, governments, colleges and organizations, including Rutgers’ Center on Violence against Women and Children all are seeking answers to stem the tide of violence.

So, I must ask you a question: Does a lawsuit for 100 million dollars against the state of Connecticut seem appropriate? Is that the way we deal with our outrage and our anguish? That’s certainly not unprecedented, either. Just search with the term: “Lawsuit 9/11” to be bombarded with 12,200,000 results.

What have we become? Where will this lead us? We spend hours of our lives watching ridiculous television reality shows, engrossed in controversies over the best team, wondering which designer has the most popular line of sportswear. We argue with our friends, our families and our neighbors over inconsequential matters, constantly diluting our potential for good with nonsense.

Teachers and professors, students and doctors, scientists and scholars are all searching for the cause or the cure for violent crime. In New Dehli, citizens are mass protesting and demanding their government create new laws and enforce the laws protecting women. In China, too, they call upon their government to stop this violence against children. I imagine we will not be seeing reports of mass protests in China, considering the political climate in that country, but I am sure we can believe citizens are agonized and angry as they are in New Dehli.

If you are going to make New Year’s resolutions, I ask that you add this to your list:
“I resolve to value human life. I resolve to do something positive to help another human being and I resolve that kindness and generosity will be my watchwords.”

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Nancy Lengyel December 29, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I'm with you. My kids got IJM gift certificates for Christmas - "Aftercare packages" for women rescued from slavery http://www.ijm.org/ Good blog, Connie. Nancy Berlin
Connie Moser December 29, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Thanks, Nancy! You're the inspiration we need!
Janelle A December 29, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Thank you, Connie, for this post.
Connie Moser December 29, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Thanks for reading and commenting, Janelle!
Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt December 29, 2012 at 09:47 PM
We try to convince ourselves that we live in a just society by prosecuting and handing over money, as if that will heal the world. The fact is, we live in a global society that promotes violence and oppression, trickling into our communities and spreading fear, giving people the idea that weapons, gangs, politicians and/or lawyers will protect us. Until we change our local, national and international cultures, atrocities will continue and fear will prosper. The change has to start with each of us, but that takes bravery. It takes courage to look inside and out, challenge our beliefs and assumptions and spread kindness one act at a time. Maybe we could all resolve to be a little braver in 2013? Thanks, Connie.
Connie Moser December 30, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Thanks for your comments and for reading, Katherine. Sometimes I have to wonder if there IS an answer. Certainly there is no single answer, but a multitude of contributing factors that need to be identified and reversed.

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