Some of you will respond that we are carnivores...we've always been killers. Well, that is outside my area of expertise, so I won't respond. Besides, that isn't what I am talking about. I am talking about the casualness with which we destroy those around us, both friends and enemies, with no guilt, no thought, no emotion and often with no thought or active decision to do so.
I grew up before social media. You could get bullied in school. And you could be whispered about in school. But it was limited to your class or your building and if adults heard any of it, they dismissed it as immature "stuff"...and it was. It was discarded when you moved on.
A kid getting caught doing something wrong was punished. Often the police turned him or her over to the parents, 'cause they did a more intense job than the police did...and it didn't leave a permanent record. Besides...the parents took the responsibility seriously.
And that, too, was left behind even as the lessons learned stayed with us as we moved toward adulthood. Almost all went on to productive lives, applying for and getting jobs that allowed us to finance and fulfill our families and our lives.
Even in adulthood, if you broke the law in some way, we all knew that was what the Justice system was for and we didn't take punishment into our own hands. And the few times that that happened, those that gave into "mob" rule, were in turn punished...that was not justice, that was mob rule, feeding a blood-lust that didn't fit our view of what a civilized society should be about.
Law breakers had to word harder at it, but they could rejoin society if the proved that their transgression was a one time thing. Yes, suspicion remained if something untoward happened, but that was the price...the consequences, if you will...of having broken the law in the first place.
That is not today's world.
Today, children and adults destroy others' lives without even a thought. No guilt! No shame! Often not even a thought for either emotion! And there is a lack of inherent self-control on the part of all that often invites destruction. When I was growing up, it was drummed into me not to do anything that we were not prepared to have appear as a headline, with pictures, in the local paper. Where and when did that admonition go...'cause it sure doesn't seem to be either known or acknowledged today by children or adults. And the concept of consequences for both stupidity and purposeful wrongdoing has also disappeared...unless it captures the attention of the media or special interest groups. No longer can any transgression be left to the courts; there must now be attendant consequences: loss of job, public ridicule, public denigration...often before a legal verdict is rendered.
There are those that will claim that all this is either appropriate or that it is life as it exists today and no thought need be given to it. Well, time will tell whether that is or is not so. But I leave you with this thought: If you did something that was either wrong, or might be wrong, and it was taken up by the legal system, would you accept non-legal punishment dealt out by nameless individuals or groups that destroyed your ability to make a living or walk the streets in safety...all before a Justice system had ruled on you actions and, if appropriate, declared you legal punishment?
Have we reverted so far back to the days of each man for himself that we endorse mob rule based often on rumor as much as fact and taking upon ourselves the right to rule on life, death and pursuit of happiness of others without formal assignment of that task? I find that a fearful thing from any standpoint: accused, accuser, observer, or judge.
Of course, I also find it abhorrent that so many around me are so uncertain in their place in life that they would make it legally required that I approve of them, their actions, or their beliefs. I would not want to interfere with what others lives are, provided they do not actively interfere with mine; I see no reason why I should be required to take any notice whatever of their lives...I do not require their acquiescence to my beliefs, actions or way of living. I neither need nor want their involvement; why would they required...and that by act of law...mine? But that is for another discussion.