Just Trying to Make Sense of Yesterdays Tragedy!

I am not one to use this medium for political ramblings or soapbox speeches, however this morning as I sit quietly enjoying my coffee I can't help but be reminded of the sorrow that so many families are facing today in the little village of Sandy Hook Connecticut. And I wonder, what has happened to our society and young people that would allow this type of behavior to grow.

My childhood was remarkably different from what our children today must endure. Family values and core values were an integral part of my growing up. We knew right from wrong and were reminded of it everyday. Our parents instilled these values at every opportunity, along with our church, our teachers, our Scout leaders and our neighbors. Doing something wrong away from home generally resulted in a phone call to my father or mother by a neighbor, teacher or acquaintance. And I had to deal with the consequences when I got home which could be quite severe by today's standards, which is part of the problem.

So what is different today than from when I grew up, where and what caused us to loose those values that defined our society?

1. Parenting - Parenting skills have been lost. Parents so intent on making money and providing all the latest gizmos for their kids have left behind teaching the basic core values of right and wrong, respect for others, trust, integrity, faith and more. There are a zillion sub-headings that could go under this category alone. But today I think I will focus on just the main topic.

2. Corporal Punishment - In the schools, at home, at church, at Scout Camp in your neighborhood. It was all a reality in my childhood. Now parents, teachers, neighbors, Scout leaders everyone are restricted from any kind of punishment of a violent nature.

I remember the snap of my fathers fingers would bring me to a complete stop of whatever I was doing and I knew if I continued there would be hell to pay. Fear breeds respect and it begins as a toddler being taught what "Good Behavior" is and what is acceptable and what type of behavior is not. An out of control child at 3 will be even more out of control at 14 or 17.

I remember distinctly being asked by a friend to get involved in something I knew was wrong, my answer was simple - Not Me, My Dad will KILL me!

I am in no way condoning any form of abuse, it sickens me to even think of that, must be my core values shining through, however a warm ass from a good whipping did me no harm. A paddling at school always brought on another when I got home!

Observation - My parents knew exactly where I was every minute of the day and what I was doing. Of course this was long before computers and the internet, but today you can be assured my folks would have monitored every key stroke, every site visited and there would be restrictions.

Desensitization of Violence - This is rampant now in our society. And I ask how can that be, since we have regulated it to death, seems it hasn't worked. The Road Runner can no longer drop a piano on the poor coyote. Heckle and Jeckle can no longer poke and punch each other. Droopy Dog can no longer punish the cat for tormenting his "Little Buddy". And so on, and on...

BUT - Violent video games are an ever present part of our young peoples lives today and it has removed the value of life to a quick shot on the computer and instant death offering the user no consequences or sense of real death. I think you would find that many of those who go on a rampage such as the one yesterday have ingrained themselves into thinking they are actually part of a game.

I guess it really all boils down to caring. The most basic value we were taught from the age of nothing to adulthood. Our parents, grandparents, preachers, Scout Leaders, neighbors all instilled this most basic value in our lives and somehow our society today has lost that. We took prayer out of schools for fear of offending someone, we stopped the pledge of Allegiance, for fear of offending someone, we have taken away punishment by our schools and parents with fear of lawsuits, our politically correctness has removed our core values and the result is another tragedy perpetrated on innocent children by another child.

I am by no means an expert of raising children, but I know I raised one and led many others as a Scout Leader and I did it the way my parents did it. So far my son has turned out to be a fine adult and I know he knows right from wrong and he is not permanently scarred by an occasional ass whipping and I hope when he has children he is not afraid to watch his children with a close eye, love them, care for them and teach them the difference between right and wrong.

Forgive me for my ramblings, I just needed to try and understand why these type of rampages continue in our society today. And just so you know, more restrictions on guns will have no affect on our lack of parenting and observation of our children. If they have no idea of the difference between right and wrong, they will find a weapon to use to do their damage and drag our society even further down the drain.

I can still recite the Scout Law - A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave Clean and Reverent. If more of our kids had this instilled in their life, maybe they would better understand right from wrong!

As an update - I am currently shoveling snow in Salt Lake City and when the weather cooperates on Tuesday or Wednesday I am heading South to Moab, Utah where I will spend most of the remainder of winter. I will be doing some web design work and helping a tour company - NAVTEC develop some better office procedures and reservation software. And of course I will be taking some pictures of the beautiful country down there and get this blog back to featuring those photographs rather than a vehicle for my ramblings. Stay tuned for next summers Adventure, it looks like I will be heading up to Alaska, more to the North and spending time around Denali. I will more than likely be driving up there with the camper either behind me or shipped up or on the ferry...plans are in the works and I should have my plans finalized by mid-January, so Stay Tuned!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

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