The recent tragedy in Newtown, CT, is one of unspeakable horror. The latest in what appears to be an alarming trend of mass murders in American communities is, in my mind, the most gruesome - due not only to the sheer numbers of lives lost but more significantly because of the tender ages of the smallest victims.
Since the Columbine massacre in April of 1999 when Eric Harris and Dylan Kliebold stormed their high school and murdered fifteen students and teachers and wounded twenty-four more, little has been done to secure the safety of our children. Metal detectors, security cameras, SRO's in the hallways of our schools offer little protection against one determined to commit a heinous act. Neither will gun control, tougher sentencing of the accused or even capital punishment serve as a deterrent to those filled with evil intent. We have put a Band Aid on the problem rather than treating the underlying illness behind the carnage of our people.
I was blessed to grow up in the 50's and 60's - a time when a parent's most urgent concern for their children was "Look both ways before crossing the street." Acts of violence in rural America were a rarity, not a common occurrence. But violence is only a symptom of a much deeper rooted problem: for decades our country has been in a state of extreme moral decay.
We have become a nation of self-centered, ego-driven, rude, arrogant, self-righteous people who have lost all regard for our fellow Americans. We care more about getting what we want even at the expense of others. We are a nation where power, greed, and ego take precedent over decency, compassion, and kindness. We have turned away from our religious and spiritual roots and chosen to live life on our own terms. God has become offensive to some and His Commandments obsolete and irrelevant in a modern-day world. "Love your God; love your neighbor as yourself; do not kill." Totally archaic.
We have turned our backs on God and continually violate His Laws. And then we're shocked when horrific events occur. That's akin to exceeding the speed limit and then being surprised when a police officer issues you a citation. Laws are created for a reason and God's Laws are absolute.
We have filled our hearts with hate. We glorify anger and violence, rudeness, and the infliction of pain on others as forms of entertainment then smugly proclaim satisfaction when someone gets what they deserve. We judge and label those who are different, those who are struggling with personal demons, those who do not live up to our personal standard of excellence. We feel justified in seeking revenge on anyone who has offended us and have become oblivious to (and even more shocking) indifferent to the suffering we cause others.
In our arrogance we have sanctimoniously appointed ourselves qualified to assign importance to those we deem worthy and devalue those who do not meet our criteria. A loyal friend is held in higher esteem than one who refuses to repay a loan made to them in good faith. A father who works hard to provide for his family then succumbs to alcohol to cope with stress is lowered on the scale of humanity. An unborn child, unable to sustain themselves independently as of yet, is less significant than the mother carrying her.
Our ego has deceived us into believing that we have a right to live life in whatever manner serves us best. We can do what we want, when we want, however we want. If others don't like it oh well, too bad. That's not our problem. Our rights, feelings, and needs override that of our brothers and sisters. We have a right to be cruel, mean or hateful to those who offend us. People must earn our respect and even then, we choose who we bestow this honor upon. Respect ("to value") is doled out according to our personal evaluation of each individual's merit: some have greater value, some - none at all.
We have devalued human life and therein lies the root of evil in this world. We are all God's sacred children, scarred and struggling, but no less precious in His eyes. Who among us was given authority to redefine anothers worth?
The massacre in Columbine, the slaughter of thirty-two at Virginia Tech, the recent mass murders in a movie theater in Aurora and a mall in Oregon haven't been enough to wake this country up. Will the bloodied bodies of twenty precious babies and the heroes who gave their lives to protect them be the pivotal moment that reminds us of the reverence for all human life?
We don't need to fear the end of the world or the so-called "fiscal cliff". We plunged off the "spiritual cliff" decades ago and now must climb back up. It is not our government's responsibility to fix this problem. They are powerless to repair what is broken within each of us. We, as individuals, must make a commitment to return to a life of high moral integrity.
The keys to preventing more bloodshed in this country are a return to the moral and spiritual dictates of God, to live lives filled with compassion, kindness, acceptance, inclusion, generosity, forgiveness, and love; to be a reflection of God's presence in this world and to treat all of His children with the same dignity and tender care that He does. Only when love for all becomes the standard measure of a life well lived will we defeat hatred, destruction, and evil.
We are here to be healers to one another. With the grace and guidance of God, we can achieve this goal. Let THIS be the new American dream. Go back to your houses of worship. Read and live the words of the Bible. Raise your children in the ways of the Lord. Be the example of kindness and love for others to follow.
Rest assured: our precious little angels are resting safely in the arms of our Heavenly Father while we are left to clean up this mess we have made. God help us. Lord knows, we need it.
God gave His only Son so that we may have life. Let not the loss of these babies be in vain. Let their lives inspire us to truly learn how to love.
Words of Wisdom:
"We cannot be a world at peace until we are first a people of peace." - Janet Pfeiffer, The Secret Side of Anger
1 Corinthians 16:14 "Let all that you do be done in love."
Ghandi: "I must first be the change I want to see in the world."
Prayer of St. Francis: "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love."
"When the power of Love becomes more important than the love of power the world will know peace."
The comic strip character, Pogo, once said "We have met the enemy and his is us."
Abraham Lincoln said, "The best way to defeat your enemy is to make him your friend."
Janet Pfeiffer, international inspirational speaker and award-winning author has appeared on CNN, Lifetime, ABC News, The 700 Club, NBC News, Fox News, The Harvest Show, Celebration, TruTV and many others. She’s been a guest on over 100 top radio shows, is a contributor to Ebru Today TV and hosts her own radio show, Anger 911, on www.Anger911.net.
Janet's spoken at the United Nations, Notre Dame University, was a keynote speaker for the YWCA National Week Without Violence Campaign, and is a past board member for the World Addiction Foundation.
She's a former columnist for the Daily Record and contributing writer to Woman’s World Magazine, Living Solo, Prime Woman Magazine, and N.J. Family. Her name has appeared in print more than 72 million times, including The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Alaska Business Monthly and more than 50 other publications.
A consultant to corporations including AT&T, U.S. Army, U.S. Postal Service, and Hoffman-LaRoche, Janet is N.J. State certified in domestic violence, an instructor at a battered women's shelter, and founder of The Antidote to Anger Group. She specializes in healing anger and conflict and creating inner peace and writes a weekly blog and bi-monthly newsletter.
Janet has authored 8 books, including the highly acclaimed The Secret Side of Anger (endorsed by NY Times bestselling author, Dr. Bernie Siegel).
Read what Marci Shimoff, New York Times bestselling author, says of Janet's latest book, The Great Truth; Shattering Life's Most Insidious Lies That Sabotage Your Happiness Along With the Revelation of Life's Sole Purpose:
"Janet dispels the lies and misconceptions many people have lived by and outlines a practical path to an extraordinary life beyond suffering. Written with honesty, clarity, sincerity, and humor, this book serves as a wonderful guide for anyone seeking a more enriching and fulfilling life.”
Dr. Bernie Siegel says, "All books of wisdom are meant to be read more than once. The Great Truth is one such book."