Will there ever come a day when we turn on the television or open a newspaper without seeing horrific headlines?
This morning’s news brought tears to my eyes: Gunman kills 12 in Colorado movie theater: http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/20/us/colorado-theater-shooting/index.html
The story is everywhere, as well it should be. People need to hear about such tragedies. They need to know the world isn’t always a beautiful place. They need to be aware. And they need an opportunity to pray for their fellow man.
But are we getting bombarded with tragic news too often? Is it warping our minds, warping our children? Is a constant diet of death and destruction eroding our faith and creating sadistic killers?
Are they Mayan’s right? Are we headed for the inevitable destruction of mankind? Is the Mayan calendar accurate?
Inarguably, there seems to be an increase in violence throughout the world. Murder and mayhem are everywhere. So much death and tragedy.
Is it any wonder some believe the world is coming to an end on December 12, 2012?
Or is it just the numbers that make it seem as if the world is a more violent place?
In 1350, the world population was only 370 million. By the early 1900’s it had exploded to 2 billion people. Today, there are over 7 billion people living on our planet from 196 different countries.
With more people, comes a greater need for news. Countries are divided and subdivided into smaller cities, towns, and provinces. Each of those smaller divisions has news outlets in the form of television, newspapers, radio and the internet. And each of those outlets is competing for its share of the public audience.
So, is there more violence in the world? Inarguably. But is that violence disproportionately greater than in the past when compared to the current population?
News-grabbing headlines are nothing new. More people will pick up a paper to read about a tragic event than about a man saving a child from drowning. It’s like a train wreck. We don’t want to know, but we can’t look away. It’s been that way since cavemen painted the news.
Crimes against humanity have been occurring since those caveman days. Per capita, there may not be more crimes, but there are faster and better outlets for spreading tragic news.
In 1807, a London headline read: Murder and Indecent Mutilation of Young Harlot.
Ann Webb had moved to London from the country and found “the streets of Convent Garden are paved with bawds waiting to entice woud-be servants into a life of shame.”
It enticed Ann. She changed her name to Elizabeth Winterflood and accepted “protection” from a carpenter named Thomas Greenway. a cruel, abusive man. When Miss Winterflood attempted to leave him, he tracked her down to her favorite street corner where the two got into a heated argument. Around 2:00 a.m. Miss Winterflood was found raped and beaten on the sidewalk. Her breasts had been cut off and tossed under a cart.
Mr. Greenway was charged but later acquitted of the crime because the jury was more appalled by Miss Winterflood’s occupation than by the untimely death she’d met.
On December 7, 1811 around midnight, Timothy Marr sent his maid to buy oysters. When she returned home, she found the door bolted. No one answered her knock. When a watchman helped her break in, they found Mr. Marr beatened to death by a seaman’s maul left on the counter. His throat had also been cut. His wife, apprentice, and infant child were killed in a similar manner as they slept. A week later, a landlord and his wife were also viciously attacked and killed.
In 1812, a British Prime Minister was assassinated in the lobby of the House of Commons. And an 1820’s headline read: Conspirators Kill Constable after Bombing Plot.
A headline story from an 1828 Edinburgh paper read: “The hanging of William Burke in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket two days ago made Christmas merry for the citizenry. When his body was taken to Surgeons’ Square for dissection, there was almost a riot as it seemed the multitudes who wished to see him served like his victims would be unable to gain access.”
For more than a year, William Burke and William Hare had killed 16 people and sold the bodies to the local surgeon’s porter. Hare ran a boarding house and when one of his tenants died of natural causes, he sold her body to the local surgeon for dissection practice. He made so much money that he and Mr. Burke devised a plan where they enticed the poor into Hare’s Inn for food and libations. When the victim was too drunk to stand, Burke suffocated the unsuspecting victim with a pillow. Hare then sold the body to the surgeon’s porter who in turn, delivered the body to the surgeon who believed the victims died after an evening of imbibing too freely of intoxicating spirits.
Despite such a gruesome crime, I doubt anyone in this day and age would recommend hanging and subsequently dissecting the body as appropriate punishment. Then again, we’re more civilized now. That’s one less strike against humanity.
In 1879, a London maid murdered her mistress and put the body in boiling water. After stuffing the boiled corpse into a trunk, she tossed it in the river. She sold the fat as drippings.
The crazed housekeeper was caught after she moved into her mistress’s home and attempted to take over her life.
The past is filled with gruesome tales and horrific crimes. Besides Jack the Ripper and Lizzy Borden, there were the notorious Gangs of New York and Wild West Crimes committed by Billy the Kid and The James and Younger Gangs. Not to mention the atrocities committed in Kansas in the years leading up to the Civil War.
War is hell and there have been wars since there has been man. But now people are committing crimes against strangers and their own children without remorse. Is this the end?
Matthew 24:6- “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
The end is not yet. Maybe there’s still hope for humanity. I like to think so. I’d like to think there’s still beauty and goodness in the world. I firmly believe there is. I take joy in a baby’s cry and a breath-taking sunset. I wish the media felt the way I do.
I’d love to see more positive, heartwarming stories in the news. I think humanity needs affirmation that all is not lost—that there is still goodness in the world.
If violence begets violence, then why can’t goodness beget goodness? Why must the media concentrate on news of the worst tragedies man can inflict?
Wouldn’t it be nice if Good news was on the front page and every news cast ended with something uplifting or positive?
Would that make a difference? Would it give us hope?
My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, families, police, and hospital workers dealing with the tragedy that occurred in Colorado last night. May they find peace, comfort, and the faith to hold on.
Thank you Lilly for giving us a different prospective on the evils of today and for your wonderful view of life. It is so good to be reminded of the good in the world and how important faith is. God Bless.
Lilly Gayle said:
Thanks for stopping by. Some days, faith is all we have. 🙂
I'm with you on the front page Good News, but meanwhile, it makes me reflective about how lucky we are, the need to celebrate the lives we have while we have them.
LaVerne Clark said:
What a wonderfully thoughtful post Lilly. I'm with you all the way on having more good news on the news. One of the news stories from recent days that has stayed with me is the one of the man who caught the three-year-old who fell from the third-storey of a house. What a hero. THAT is what the world needs to see more of.
Calisa Rhose said:
One other 'end sign' is that brothers would turn against brothers and mothers turn against daughters. I don't think we've gotten that far as yet. Thank you Lilly for a less depressing way to view it all.
Lilly Gayle said:
Lilly Gayle said:
And yet, I never saw or heard anything about that. Or, it was overshadowed by our local news of the father who shot his 6 month old son and the 16 year old son who shot his father and stepmother and then calmly dialed 911 to report a loud gunshot. I would rather have seen the story of the hero who saved the child.
Lilly Gayle said:
Fathers are killing sons and sons are killing fathers as I mentioned to LaVerne. But that started long ago…with Cain and Able.
Lynne Marshall said:
Thank you for putting this most recent tragedy into perspective. I suspect writing this excellent blog was also cathartic?Well done. The nature of man isn't automatically good. We have to choose good and work hard to be good every day of our lives.
Lilly Gayle said:
You're so right, Lynne. About the blog being cathartic and about choosing goodness. Not caring has become too easy for so many.
I believe all the violent movies and TV and violent video games could be partly responsible for the tragedy in Colorado! Bring back programs that the family can watch that show morals like the Waltons! Bring on the good programs and think about each other because we are losing too many good people to tragedy! Love each other and care for each other as our parents taught us!
LaVerne Clark said:
I've been feeling that way for a while too rbooth (Rebecca is it?)I do think here in NZ, because we are a small country, it still feels a little like a community, so therefore we still get some good news stories in our daily news. We also have a current affairs show afterwards that I watch which regularly shows the lovely things strangers do for others. It never fails to put a tear in my eye 🙂 It makes me want to do more for my fellow man myself and I believe seeing things like this prompt us all to try to be better than we are.
I think a lot of thre blame can be placed on television and even the news. We're bombarded by death and destruction – everthing that "sells" – that we've become desensitized to it. I rarely watch the news now because of it. I also avoid most television programs for the same reason. If I want to see violence, I'll watch the news. :-(Hatred and violence begets more hatred and violence. What we see becomes our reality. It's time for a reality check.
I should have added that I really enjoyed your blog post, Lilly Gayle! Keep that great attitude going!
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I agree with you holdheartly! Neighbors don't see each other as they use to. I remember Mom and my Aunt used to help each other pick and can foods, and Daddy and my Uncle helped each other farm! Now we only see each other at weddings and funerals! I agree spend more time loving each other and our children! For God's sake, and our own! And remember family and friends! We have lost so many in the family and neighbors.I just saw a great family movie named Duke that I taped on Hallmark. Marine Sergeant Terry Pulaski, a once proud man, is now a broken shell of himself having returned from Iraq with both PTSD and a disabling injury. Terry struggles to be a good father and husband, but his challenges leave him feeling like a burden to his wife and daughter. With his dog, Duke, in tow, he decides to leave his family behind. Years later, a homeless Terry needs help for an aging and ill Duke, so he reaches out for help at a nearby veterinary clinic. Will Duke be able to help Terry reach out again to try and reconcile with his estranged daughter?This is well worth the time to watch when it comes on Hallmark again.Hugs!Rebecca
By the way I live in the country near a beautiful small town and have lived in the same house all of my 68 years. My mother and father died when I was a teenager and my brothers and sister have passed away. I am the only sibling left, but I have a wounderful son and grandson who is seven years old. Also I have wonderful family and friends including Lilly!Hugs!Rebecca
Thanks for the post cuz and thanks to all the commenters!
Lilly Gayle said:
Wow! Came back home from a weekend at the beach with my family and found all kinds of lovely comments and great additions to this conversation. Thanks, ladies. As for violent movies, I love a good action flick as well as the next person. But my children didn't watch R rated movies until they were older. The first one they ever saw was Speed with Kianu (sp?) Reeves. The "F" word was in it. And it was violent, but IMHO, the movie didn't glorify the violence and we watched the movie together. My kids grew up on shows like Cosby, Family Matters, Full House, Saved by The Bell, Even Stevens, and the like. And we watched TV together and discussed the shows we watched. For the most part, before age 10, the only shows my children watched alone were on PBS or their Saturday morning cartoons.
Same here! Except daddy's favorite was Gunsmoke or any western! But they weren't so bad! Glad you're home safe and sound!Hugs!Becky