I was still shaking from the horrific terrorist attack on the Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, murdered by a suicide bomber who set off bombs on the buses --when I awakened this morning to the double whammy of the news of the Century 16 theatre murders in Aurora, in which 71 people were shot, twelve of them fatally, in a theatre which my D. H. and I have been to many times.
I don't know where to begin, my feelings are all jumbled up and raging, but I will try. I think Glenn Beck expressed it best, when he made this statement, in his morning show video,
"Let me be the first to say there’s a hole in the soul of America. What is it we’re filling that hole with?”
He nailed it. There is a hole in America, and we are filling that hole with promoting, for all to see, horrible things that we fear--displaying disgusting human behavior. We have, for decades, been in a culture where violence, hatred, criminal activities and psychopathic behavior are big box-office tickets.
I'm not blaming Hollywood alone; I am blaming our entire culture of "me, me, me," our culture of celebrating evil, and titilating sex, and horror. "Family values" are not cool anymore, nor have they been for decades.
What are those elusive "family values," anyway? They are, adhering to a set of morals and ethics which support the whole, rather than the individual parts. Family values include a respect and reverence for others, instilling in children from a very young age, respect for their elders and adults in general. This is enabled by believing in a Higher Power. Human beings, left to their own devices, will mostly revert to animalistic behavior. Remember the book Lord of the Flies? Children are not merely miniature grown-ups, rather they are little animals who need to be molded into responsible, mature, socialized adults. With the wrong upbringing, children could go either way. They emulate what they see around them and what is allowed and brought into their own homes, be it the behavior of their significant others, or the culture which those 'others' allow into their children's presence.
The proliferation of murder stories and horror fiction books such as those written by author Stephen King play to the worst of human traits and the worst in the human psyche. They mesmerize and pull you into their horrific world. A stable person, raised in a good home where he or she has internalized positive, life-affirming values such as those mentioned above, would probably know the difference between fiction and reality, evil behavior and good, and would not try to act out the fantasies. An unstable person might have more of a problem. The horrific acts of the terrorist in the Aurora, Colorado theatre might have been linked to his fantasy self-definition as the evil character in the Batman movies, called "The Joker," an evil character who sees life as a joke, finds people's weaknesses and uses them against them. They don't call it deviant for nothing.
A horrific character, The Joker, speaking to the worst characteristics of human behavior. Why do we watch these movies or read these books? Why is deviance so compelling? What redeeming value to they have? In my view, they have NONE. We have let evil take over our lives.
In the case of the massacre of innocent Jews on the buses in Burgas, Bulgaria, terrorists are taught from childhood to hate the Jews, to hate Israel, that Israel is the source of all their problems--they do not take responsibility for their own actions. It's 'blame the other guy.' The truth, that they are at fault, that they are the ones with a backward, barbaric culture and religion, would undermine their raison d'etre.
The so-called "Palestinians" - who are merely Arabs, as there has never been a sovereign state named "Palestine" - raise their children on hatred, with preschool programming praising jihad, growing up to be suicide bombers, and murdering Israelis. Same thing. They should be so proud of themselves--they are contributing to the proliferation of evil in the world, and the eventual downfall of mankind. We pray for the coming of Mashiach*...
What to do? As a Jew, I have my own answer. It is my Torah, the Holy Book we attribute to a Divine Power. It teaches us our values and ethics and how to behave in ou daily lives. In short, it is our blueprint for life. Not Jewish? Here's what you can do: start standing up for good, wholesome values. Keep violence out of your homes and your children's lives. Promote doing chesed--loving-kindness--and acts of selflessness, helping others. Live by "The Golden Rule," which is Jewish in origin--as are the Ten Commandments. It means, 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'
Revere G-d, or a Higher Power, or a broader meaning outside of yourself, or a greater reason for being on this earth--whatever you want to call it. Just revere it, live your life by it, and raise your children by it.
As Glenn Beck said (emphasis mine):
“I don’t even know if we really notice it so much, it’s happened to us so slowly. I say what I mean and mean what I say. I take my own advice. I walk the walk, or try to. I told you last November, if you could, buy farmland. If you could, surround yourself with like‑minded, decent people, people who still understand America, people who still go to church on Sunday. I don’t care what church it is. I don’t care if it’s synagogue on Saturday. God‑fearing people. People that still know their neighbor and still want to help.”
It's time America did an 'about face,' and reversed this selfish, anarchistic, trend begun sometime after the 1950s. Before it's too late...