Thursday, April 16, 2009


"If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream. "
Dr. Martin Luther King The Trumpet of Conscience
Hope is more than emotion. In many ways hope is the life blood we need to survive. Without hope, we lose all perspective. Everything becomes dark and dismal. People lose their perspective. Little things add up to mountainous things, culminating in a mountain of despair.
"Mario" lost his hope today. With an ailing father, and the anticipation of being laid off at work, Mario lost his perspective. At the hospital he worked at about 20 to 30 people had already been laid off in the last few weeks, and some of the gunman's co-workers said there was a rumor he had been laid off that morning or was going to be among a number of people laid off in the next few weeks.
Mario lost all hope. So today, the hospital pharmacy technician went into work and shot his boss, a co-worker, and then put the gun to his temple and killed himself. "We do not know the reason," the Long Beach police chief said. "However, I think this is part of a trend ... probably because of the tension felt in our society." A "trend" puts it mildly.
Within the last week, a man in Washington state killed his five children, in Pennsylvania, a man killed three police officers who came to investigate a supposed "domestic disturbance" he reported, a man opened fire in a nursing home in California killing seven elderly patients, another in New York killed 13 people in an immigrant center, and a California man killed five relatives and himself at a housewarming party.
Murder is not a new concept. This isn't to rationalize murder in any capacity, but these people had no reason to murder the people they did. Finding a reason behind the senseless violence is difficult to do, but a major influence behind the recent fatal activity could be directly related to the state of the economy. It isn't any question that we are dealing with economic turmoil. With companies falling over like dominoes, massive quantities of people are losing their jobs, and with no money to line anyone's pockets, finding ways to feed, clothe and house one's family can become near impossibilities.
Watching CEOs become richer, getting the bailouts they've requested while the everyday working American has been begging for help for decades fosters frustration. It's no wonder that people have gone insane, killing random strangers, the ones they love and themselves. Maybe it's an escape; maybe they think this is the only way out.
Or, maybe they just lost hope.

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