Long overdue

Long overdue
By Ken Waddell

As the good weather continues and the harvest crews have been working hard, it’s obvious that our belated and extended summer is coming to a close. There’s lots of ground to cover so we should all pray for good weather and for our farmers’ safety as they bring in the crops that will feed us all until next year’s food supply comes on stream.
With fall ahead and the inevitable winter coming soon after, it’s perhaps time to reflect on the past summer.
Aside from a difficult and nerve wracking summer for our farmers, there’s been a lot of other stresses that have affected people. It’s very obvious that our society in Manitoba is becoming much more violent. We’ve lost count of how many people have simply disappeared over the past few years. No doubt many have met their death and likely not from natural causes. We obviously have a murderous society here in Manitoba and, as proven last week, not just in Winnipeg. Murder happens in rural Manitoba too and it’s high time we examined why that is so.
Perhaps it’s desperation or passion or outright anger.Much of it is likely gang drug related. And yet we have a government, in some case in all parties who refuse to realize that we have a problem. It’s so much easier to ignore it and hope it will go away. No we have a crime problem in Manitoba and its roots run deep and complicated.
We have had a huge increase in awareness of aboriginal culture over the past decade and rightly so. The heritage is rich and there has been suppression, oppression and abuse. No matter how closely you examine native culture, you can’t you find a place where violence, abuse and murder are condoned in the general aboriginal population. Yet we have people more than willing to excuse violent behavior among aboriginals as somehow acceptable. That’s a cop out and an insult to aboriginal people.
Then there are others willing to blame TV shows or video games or peer pressure or…. Well the list goes on. Violence isn’t acceptable, it should not be condoned and we are reaping the the effects of the societal excusing of unacceptable behavior.
It doesn’t matter what a person’s ethnic background is. Whatever the country of origin, whatever the education level, violence isn’t accepatabe.
So why do we tolerate it?
Is it fear? Is it that we don’t care? Is it that we don’t know what to do? These are partial answers.
The basic anwer lies in the fact that we value life so little. Life is precious. Life is sacred. Everyone knows that deep down in their heart. It’s the original basic instinct. We are wired to survive and we all know that ife is important. It’s hard to tell that by how we behave as a society. As a society we have done many unaccepatable things that downgrade life. We have drifted to the place where adoption is viewed as a poor option to abortion. How stupid is that? We have downgraded care of our elderly to a place where we push mountains of pills at them and just assume they will die soon and the problem will be over. Sound harsh? Just ask some older person in your life how many different pills they take. And just try and get preventative diagnostic testing done at any age in Manitoba. It’s hard enough to get emergency diagnostics done.
On the streets, if a thug doens’t get what he wants he doesn’t just steal Granny’s purse, he kills her. We have car thieves that have stolen dozens of cars, not one or two, but dozens. And they’re still not in jail. We have drug dealers who think nothing of killing to enforce debt collection and make examples of debtors.
God said that we should not murder. Do we really believe that. God’s commandment doesn’t cover war and it can be argued that it doesn’t cover capital punishment but it’s very clear that in day-to-day life we are not to commit murder.
Most often murder and violence come after many other lesser steps down the slippery slope of crime. That means we have to clamp down on crime in every way possible from prevention to punishment. I’m not sure how many wake up calls we need in Manitoba but we should have had enough by now.
We still aren’t really serious about preventing violence and murder or we would have made significant changes.
We get the level of leadership we deserve and the level that we ask for. That applies to government, to church, to business, to everything. Perhaps we should be asking for better. It’s long overdue.

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