Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: Our Violent Society - Why and What Can We Do

Category: Child Care


In last week's article the focus was on gun related deaths in children. Why have we become so violent in America over the past

generation? Is there anything we can do about it? I would like to share my own personal thoughts on this subject in this article and make it clear that this is not a statement representing the American Academy of Pediatrics but strictly my own feelings.

I believe that at the heart of violence in America today is a general lack of respect for human life. With introduction of the birth control pill in the "60's" sexual promiscuity led to less and less respect for chastity, fidelity, and marriage with a lifetime commitment. With 25 million abortions (since Roe vs. Wade passed in 1973) we have grown to think of conception in an abstract way and forget that a human life is involved. With thoughts of materialism, convenience, and self-centeredness we have glamorized people like Dr. Kevorkian and almost legalized euthanasia in certain places in America. It is legal in Holland.

Drugs have become not something to talk about under your breath but almost a way of life in much of our society with an ever increasing exposure to street drugs at younger and younger ages for our children.

Our legal system is frustrated by overcrowded prisons and a recycling system which seems to send out potentially violent criminals because there is no place to keep them.

Our large cities tend to ignore the poor and try to isolate the rich. We have the richest and the poorest barely blocks apart but the lifestyles are worlds apart. Is it any surprise that theft and related violent crime has increased in these inner cities over the past decades.

Finally, an overall attitude of self-centeredness has occurred in America in which we forget that we are all interdependent. We try to isolate ourselves in society and do not truly live the words of Jesus when he said "Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me".

Now that I have listed several causes for our increasing violence, let me make some suggestions as to possible solutions. First, I would hope and pray that all of us in society would accept our interdependence and try to live the "Golden Rule". I would really love to see us go even further and help the needy whenever we can.

Second, I would like to see a rebirth of old fashioned family values in which two parent families are respected and supported through changes in our laws and taxes. We need a general attitude of respect for people who save themselves for marriage and then devote themselves to their marriage as a sacrament. These types of committed parents raise their children with love and discipline. That type of family attitude would certainly go a long way toward decreasing the youth crime that we see on our streets today. Most of these youth have no parent models to guide and discipline them. Perhaps some of us could serve as surrogate fathers and mothers, aunts and uncles and give these young people the positive models they need and deserve.

After we rebuild a respect for the traditional family, we need to reinstill a respect for all human life and end legal abortions and thoughts of euthanasia. If we have to take a cut in our standard of living to take care of the living, then so be it. I say we promote adoption and love and support each other from the "womb to the tomb". Certainly, that is what the Bible teaches us and I think in our hearts we know it is the right way we should live.

Next, we need to attack drugs wholeheartedly, at every level of society, and most especially through education. If we all stand strong against things like abortion and drugs and for chastity and good parenting we can make a difference but only if we are united. Finally, I think we need to support changes in our legal system and keep violent criminals locked up, no matter what the cost.

When I think about all these massive social problems and their complexity, I know that only through God's grace can we really turn them around. Let's all start 1994 with a prayer for that grace and a personal effort toward that end. Our future depends on it.