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.”