It happens on a horribly regular basis. A child is abducted and killed, and often assaulted first. The media transforms the story into headline news, the community activates, the police do all that they can, but the tragedy still occurs and cuts like a razor into the flesh of our being. Such events will occur again and again because there will always be evil people in the world and no amount of legislation or contrived anger and grief will expunge them from society. Aside from the obvious obscenity of it all, however, is the way society, media and even some victims react.
It’s invariably reality television given a coating of genuine life. Just as silly people become so intimately involved in the lives of characters who sing for them on American Idol or parade for them on Survivor, men and women across this country and the United States become passionate about this sickening crime not because they care, but because they want to live vicariously through others and be part of an enormous and grotesque “happening.”
It is Oprah, it is Cops, it is the cult of the celebrity, even if that celebrity is filthy, immoral and base. Generally we had never heard before of the characters involved and not been to their town or know anything about them. But suddenly we take sides. Is it her? Is it him? Are the police doing what they should be doing? Shall I use the vocabulary I heard on CSI so that I sound clever? Bring back the death penalty, join a Facebook group announcing that I’m normal and nice and hate child murder. Call talk radio and pretend to cry, drive to the spot where it happened so as to leave flowers on a secular shrine that commemorates those who visit it rather than to whom it is supposedly been dedicated.
Watch and listen as parasitic journalists ask, “how do you feel,” “what would you say to other parents whose children have been taken?” Cultivate the self-righteous, intensely ethical demeanour that tells everybody that you understand and sympathise more than anybody else and that, if there was any sense in the world, you’d be on the screen mumbling your opinion of the world, politics, children and policing.
Parents giving press conference instead of grieving privately with family and friends who care rather than exploit. Hysterical mothers telling their tiny offspring what happened so that it won’t happen to them, when in fact the best way to protect a child is to collect them yourself from school and show them love and stability. Abductors target lonely and unloved kids.
Dehumanise the whole thing and pretend it’s all about humanity. Cry rather than think, shout rather than help, give interviews instead of spending time with those who need it most. Sickening, sickening, sickening. An abuse not only of children, living and dead, but of compassion itself. Weep long and weep hard. For the taken, for the vulnerable, and for all of us.
Then compare this to the moral abduction and physical killing of children over and over again, every day, every week, every month, every year. Abortion. We try to gently remind people – the same people who become so passionate about the nightmare of abducted children – that this is no different, and in some ways even worse. We show the pictures, we tell the stories, we give the evidence, we explain the facts, we argue the points. Then we are, almost without exception, dismissed as fanatics and told that nobody cares and that the debate is over.
In some ways the very dumbing down of society, and the numbing of its sensibilities and understanding of genuine loss and grief, leads inevitably to such a vile indifference regarding the slaughter of the unborn. Easy and ersatz grief is so much simpler than genuinely thinking about a subject that may cause you and yours to leave the moral comfort zone and embrace greater, deeper truths. Weep for those abducted children indeed, but spare some tears for what we have done to ourselves and how much pain and destruction we have enabled and encouraged. The culture of death did not come about by accident, and the culprits are legion.
Michael Coren’s website is www.michaelcoren.com, where he can be booked for speeches and his books purchased.