Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kudos to law enforcement

This morning, as I was preparing for another day of work, I was delighted to receive breaking news that law-enforcement succeeded in rescuing a 5-year old boy who had been taken hostage by an armed man in Midland city, Alabama. As news reports had it, about a week ago, the armed man stormed a public bus with school kids on board, killed the brave and selfless driver who attempted to protect his young passengers, removed the boy from the bus and retreated with the hapless child into what was described as a bunker. Happening, as it did, at a time that the country--nay the world--was still traumatized by the December 14, 2012 massacres of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut, this armed kidnapping and murder in Alabama state were just like adding salt to injury.  I monitored news stories about the hostage situation.

When law-enforcement performs a good job, such as this successful liberation of the kidnapped child in Midland city, Alabama, the public should be just as generous with expressions of gratitude as it does with expressions of condemnation when the reverse is the case. Some would argue that “Oh yah, they were doing their job!” No doubt, the officers who took part in the delicate and dangerous operation that liberated the little boy were doing their job. But doing one’s job could lead to an undesirable outcome even though we all look forward to a positive and happy outcome.

When a child is placed in danger or threatened anywhere, all of us--as members of a common human family—should empathize with the victim and feel that we have been collectively endangered or threatened, for children are not just precious gifts and means by which society reproduces and guarantees a future for itself, they are that dimension of the human entity that represents the divine stage of human development and maturation.  Some may call it the priceless and transient stage of innocence in human life. In children, we see those unadulterated and divine stages of human metamorphosis that occur before society and its cultural value system eventually transform us into the adult stage of the human lifespan. 

This adult stage is characterized by a mixture of challenges, glories/successes, failures, disappointments, and temptations. It’s during this adult stage that human beings swing and dangle along the pendulum that separates good from evil. A huge irony of human life is that today's mass murderer or monster, such as the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook massacre, was once a child. It would appear that in general, the balance between the divine and the human aspects of the human entity tilts towards the latter as the adult stage sets-in though we do have the will power to make the kinds of choices--subject to the laws and mores of our societies--that can weaken or strengthen our spiritual growth or lack thereof. A journey that started out on a divine note for everyone veers off towards different paths as adult maturation occurs. Some become wolves in human clothing; yet, some become shepherds or even the shepherd of shepherds. Such are the variegated trajectories of human social development!

Let’s not forget though that the good news from Alabama comes against the backdrop of the bloodletting that’s sweeping the city of Chicago where gun violence claimed 506 lives in 2012, a figure said to represent an increase of 17 percent over that of the previous year.  According to a news report (http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/03/16825317-chicago-marchers-ask-obama-for-help-over-gun-violence?lite), this New Year alone, the city has witnessed 42 killings and 157 shootings. Chicago is of course not alone in this experience of urban gun violence. Something needs to be done to curb this violence! Fed’s efforts, such as Obama’s new gun control initiative, are encouraging, but local and state containment plans and actions must be stepped up.