I’ve told my kids to say no to a lot of things that might hurt them. I never thought about this.
Yesterday, as soon as I saw my 14-year-old, he immediately tells me about a video one of his teammates at school played for him and a friend. Kids see a lot of sh*t on-line and on their smart phones (though mine still does not have a smart phone), so you know they get exposed to a wider range of things at an earlier age than we did.
This video was different. It was a snuff video, and I honestly didn’t know a video of this sort could be accessed on-line. Naive, I guess. I thought they were illegal. I’m writing this now so you can forewarn your children, if you don’t know, and save them the horror of seeing man at his most evil. The kids call it “three men and a hammer,” but the killers are also referred to as the Dnepropetrovsk maniacs. Tell your kids if someone wants them to watch, say no thanks. Or, if your kid is like mine, you ask, “Do you want those images forever stuck in your memory? What do you think you should say?”
My son was disturbed by it. Throughout the rest of the day, he kept returning to the same questions: Why would “those guys” do something like that? Why do people murder? He said he couldn’t get the awful images out of his head. “It’s not like when you watch a movie. This was real. This guy was really being killed.” He told me it was the worst thing he’d ever seen. His friend, who my son had never seen get upset, was troubled by it, too. This was a good thing: the more kids disturbed by evil, the better.
How do you explain wickedness when you have no devil to pin the blame on? I remember asking a college professor about the problem of evil, and he told me that evil was a necessary contrast to know good. This might be true, but it still is not an answer to the fundamental question of why evil exists. If you’re Christian, how do explain that those three guys, given the chance to repent and accept Jesus as their savior, will be saved by God? Just like that. Or, if man is created in God’s image, what does that say about man’s creator? I know, some will say that’s a simplistic way of looking at God, but it seems to me, if it’s a simple question, there must be a simple answer. (Mine would be, it’s yet another nail in God’s coffin.)
As in an earlier post, when bad things happen, you have to tell kids that bad occurrences are few and far between, that most people do not harm others. It’s important for kids to know that evil is a choice. They can always choose to do the right thing. A campaign at Northern Illinois University showed that college students who thought their peers drank in moderation, drank less, too. Rather than tell kids that binge drinking is the norm and that they should avoid it, researchers presented students with evidence (and made it known on campus through a campaign) that most of the students drank 5 drinks or fewer at parties. (Still seems like a lot of drinks to me—I’d be hugging the porcelain goddess at that point.) This idea has other applications. If we tell our children most people do the right thing, perhaps we can raise the next generation to believe that they live in a world where most people choose good, and maybe the world will become that. Wishful thinking? Perhaps. (I say this as Kim Jong Un is throwing a hissy.) But if you have a better suggestion, I will follow.
And so, on Good Friday, we are reminded that people, for thousands of years, have ganged up on and killed a lone man or woman. Where someone had the power to step in and stay, stop, no one did.
As much as things change, they stay the same.