When newscaster Walter Cronkite brought the sound and fury of the Vietnam War into our living rooms it marked the evolution of the news and mass media, confirmation that we had become, in fact, a global village. Since then we’ve had a ringside seat to events we can never un-see. Events so horrific they are now seared indelibly–branded– into our eyeballs.
I can’t say I ever thought there would come a day when I could go to a website or turn on the television and see evil men behead other men in living color, up close and personal.
No. I can’t say I ever considered that before it happened.
I can’t say I ever considered that evil could appear in my living space. That I could sit in the comfort of my home drinking a cup of dark coffee — or something stronger– and observe it.
Some religious people believe in the devil. Me? I know evil exists. No tail and pitchfork needed. No religion needed, either.
So what if we knew for a fact that these barbarians count on a world stage, medium, outlet for their vile acts and if the media didn’t publicize them, they would stop?
That without a bully pulpit there would be no impact and no reason to slice men’s heads off? What if we knew that for a fact?
Would we forgo our much-vaunted right to know everything? Would the media hold back in recognition that freedom of the press is working in favor of evil?
We have some screwy priorities.
Current events ARE making me tense. Upset and tense.
Evil has always existed, even in modern times. I mean, six million Jews were executed in the 20th century. Genocide runs rampant in Africa. Young female children are raped and killed in India. I could go on. Evil exists.
But when we give political evil a stage, it seems to get worse.
Since the internet and instant video give evil immediate access to an audience, terrorists get a quick payoff. Cut off a head and it’s all over the Web. Serious-toned newscasters and pundits gravely discuss or emotionally debate. The President is criticized. Fox News stamps its feet. Parents cry and plead for the lives of those still breathing. It is a dance and we are all complicit. We have our roles, our steps and we play them like automatons.
Although I don’t take my own ringside seat to the atrocities, I can’t see that our society will give its seats up. Our institutions, like the press, won’t forgo their shocking headlines and selling their shaving cream and potato chips for the possibility of saving lives.
Will not happen.
We must have our electronic colosseum and there must be blood.
As for me, well, I can’t consume this horrific stuff and I don’t. For someone like me who believes there is a plan, a purpose a lesson, well, my beliefs are being tested to their limit. Someone like me, who believes only God has the right to take a life, can be tempted to join in the crowd calling for the death of these savages. It is hard to stand fast for my what I know is right in the face of such depravity.
Like so many others, I can only cry out into the darkness:
Oh, my God, my God, what has the world come to?
Don’t give terrorists a stage.