The Shadows of Murderous Youth
by Martin Siegel
© by Martin Siegel, 1999

OVER TWENTY YEARS AGO, shortly before my wife gave birth to our first child, I found myself alone one night, vacantly staring at the television. How, I wondered, could an innocent child be raised with decency while this inescapable, evil cube of sin was in the house at every moment? The premonitions ebbed, for what of life’s joys can surpass that of becoming a parent! But tragically, the ensuing years have shown America festering, and very rapidly at that. The damage we inflict on the tyrants of the world as the protector of democracy and freedom pales next to the explosions we suffer within, catastrophes that are destroying the precious threads of belief in the hopes and dreams we have for our young. They link us to the future, but what kind of future?

For the little good that comes out of the media, most of us know the drill. Collectively wearing a false, empathetic face, and intruding always for the twins of greed and sensation, they prey on incidents of horror and social disorder to boost ratings and sell newspapers. We put up with it. Most also know that ours is a government of and for the oligarchy, and at all levels. The decreasing voter turn-out—especially locally, where a genuine impact can be made—coupled with the stories of political corruption in every newspaper every day show proof. We put up with this, too. The list goes on, and we plod along as with yokes. But people as parents will allow themselves to be cornered and dumped-upon for just so long. Speaking as one parent among millions, it is my belief that the helplessness we show elsewhere will not long continue when it comes to the slaughter of our children, even if it be by other children.

To blame everyone is to blame no one. The so-called social experts now being quoted by the press verbalize the obvious; proffering pabulum about good will and greater understanding that has been heard for decades. The fact is there are simple actions we can all take as parents and individuals that will have immense effect as answers; answers that will feed our souls, if only we allow some—some—of the energies and thoughts used for gain to be channeled to affirmation. The poisonous green snake can be overcome by the smile, but of that later.

WHEN MY CHILDREN were in school, the beginning days were marked by an avalanche of forms, many requesting the signatures of parents and even the children themselves! (By contrast, as a student myself I recall bringing nothing home other than a report card.) I balked at signing, for the burden was clear: we were dealing with Authority, and it was do as you are told. At my wife’s urging I complied since, she argued, not signing would be tantamount to opposing the State. How many who read this have shared my position? The feeling imparted was that we were the servants rather than the reverse.