Archives for posts with tag: road rage

He was sitting in his car outside a CVS waiting for his wife who was inside shopping. He was a successful and generous businessman. He was not in a “bad” neighborhood. He was not involved in any questionable activity. Just waiting for his wife to finish shopping. Then someone shot him and killed him.

A 7 year-old girl was riding in a car driven by her mother. She was still in her pajamas along with her three sisters on a quick run to get coffee on Sunday morning. They were stopped at a red light near a Walmart and someone pulled up next to their car, started shooting and Jazmine Barnes was killed. Just days before the second grader was in the holiday program at her school. Officials say it was a case of mistaken identity.

Several young adults sat around a bonfire together on a cool fall evening. Later that night two of them came back and killed four of the people in the house. They had done nothing to provoke or anger anyone. It seems that the two just came back “to rob and kill.”

After a house fire, a 67 year-old man and a 65 year-old woman were found dead in their home. Fire officials said that the fire was intentionally set. It was later determinded that the married couple had been strangled. Their son has been arrested and charged with murdering his parents.

It’s a normal day at school and then a nightmare. A crowd is enjoying a night of musical entertainment and then shots from a hotel room high above the venue and dozens die. A young man is on his way home from a Braves game when someone cuts him off on the freeway. The two drivers argue as they continue to drive. This encounter ends when one of the men shoots and kills the other. A young girl is in her bed at night when someone kills her parents and kidnaps her.

These are just a few examples of daily occurrences in communities and neighborhoods all across America. What has happened to the value of a human life?

Former President Bill Clinton said, “…each bloodletting hastens the next, and as the value of human life is degraded and violence becomes tolerated, the unimaginable becomes more conceivable.” Have we come to the place in our society where we have come to expect that which was once unimaginable? Has the worth of a person become so small that we see others as dispensable?

Abhijit Naskar is one of the world’s celebrated neuroscientists, an international bestselling author and untiring advocate of mental wellness and global harmony. He suggests that “Human progress isn’t measured by industry, it’s measured by the value you put on a life.” If that is the case, we have not progressed very far.

Rabbi Yanki Tauber says that unless this “trend is halted and reversed…before long, we will be deep in the barbaric woods where everything is relative, where the right to life is entirely relative to power, wealth and physical strength. For unless life has absolute value, it ultimately has no value. And unless we accord absolute moral significance to our actions, they are ultimately of no moral significance, and before long, we’re deep in the jungle.”

The Apostle Paul affirms that God “gives to all life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). It is thus clear that Scripture regards life as a gift from Heaven. If human life is a gift from God, then it is a sacred essence, and no person has the arbitrary right to take it from another or to destroy it within himself.

God help us to value life as a divine gift and end this move toward absolute destruction.

Jamie Jenkins

 

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My twelve year-old granddaughter is a very positive and happy person. She wants to talk and hear about positive things. At times I understand that she is simply naïve but I appreciate the fact that she has a positive outlook and wants to see the best in everything and everyone. And she tries very hard to be the best person she can be.

Recently I heard a response to the question of why the news media seem to always report only “bad” things. The reason given was because “bad news” is not the norm. There are far more stories of “good news.” The exception to the rule makes something newsworthy. Therefore tragedy, hostility, and other unseemly attitudes, words, and acts are reported because they are the exceptions.

I am not sure that is actually the reality but it is one perspective and possibility.

One of my teachers had a saying that bad news goes around the world twice before good news gets its shoes on. It certainly does seem that bad news travels faster than good news. Word of a robbery seems to spread much farther and faster than a report of a random act of kindness. Road rage makes the headlines but the many motorists who are patient and tolerant are seemingly absent.

I am often reminded that we see and hear what we are looking and listening for. Our ears perk up at juicy gossip and our eyes widen when we see something unseemly.

Today as I was driving I saw blue lights flashing in the distance. Instinctively I slowed down and expected to see an accident or someone receiving a ticket for violating the traffic laws. Maybe even a person being arrested for some criminal act.

But I saw something very different. Two police vehicles were diverting traffic around a stalled minivan and two officers were changing a flat tire for the driver of the stranded automobile. That was a surprise but a welcome sight. The officers were white and the motorist was black. The officers were male and the driver was female.

There are so many reports these days about white law enforcement officers inflicting violence on black citizens and headlines about men exploiting women. Nothing that I say here is intended to make light of these incidents. Violence against any human being is never justified and is even more detestable when it comes from persons in authority or from racist and/or sexist attitudes.

The experience I am reporting is meant simply to remind us that acts of kindness, generosity, gentleness, mercy, and respect occur all the time. We must not allow the “exceptions,” as horrible as they are, to lead us to believe that civility and human dignity have disappeared from our society. That charity and hospitality are things of the past.

What I saw today also sensitizes me to situations where I can be helpful. It reminds me to pay attention to those around me who might need assistance or support. It helps me to remember that no good deed is small. It aids me in focusing on others and not to be so self-centered. It reminds me to look for opportunities to “live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward (me)” (Matthew 5:48, The Message).

Jamie Jenkins