In a column yesterday, pro-life attorney, Ken Connor, commented on the recent trampling death of a WalMart employee the day after Thanksgiving, relating it to the story of the teenager who committed suicide in front of a live web audience and the 1964 stabbing death of Catherine Genovese in front of witnesses who refused to help because they were “too tired” among other things:
There is a common thread that runs through this 1964 case of willful abandonment, the sordid online suicide, and the Walmart trampling: these tragedies occurred because individuals were looking out for their own interests rather than that of their fellow man. Their actions led to the deaths of their neighbors, and for what? A couple of hours of “fun” online voyeurism? A little extra sleep? $50 off of a TV?
How did we get to this point in “the home of the brave”? Why do so many Americans exhibit so little concern for their neighbor?
Doubtless, there are many causes, but prominent among them is our willingness to sacrifice core principles of human dignity on the altar of convenience.
We live in a culture that is so self-centered that we are no longer expected to deal with the “inconvenience” of an unwanted baby.
Nor can we be bothered to care for our aging parents. Just stick them in a nursing home at government expense and forget about them—or better yet, encourage them to take the “dignified” way out.
We selfishly maintain that our “progress” must continue through “scientific research” free of ethical restraints, notwithstanding that such “progress” kills or debases nascent human life. Our convenience, our comfort, our self-centeredness trumps the value of someone else’s life.
Mother Teresa well understood the destructive impact of radical selfishness.
Regarding abortion she declared, “[I]f we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? … Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of peace and love is abortion.”
Mother Teresa rightly understood that when one form of killing is accepted on the basis of personal convenience, other forms of violence will inevitably follow.
An underlying cause of the culture of death is a selfish unwillingness to suffer, to the extent that we literally accept killing – either of ourselves or others – as an alternative. That is why I have said a number of times on this blog that a culture of life must have a joyful acceptance of human suffering. Not just physical suffering due to illness or injury, but suffering other inconveniences as well – the surprise of an unplanned pregnancy, caring for a sick family member, putting up with an obnoxious co-worker, etc… Let us learn how to daily die to ourselves, trust in the Lord and become true gifts of self to one another.