Today’s Cruel World

MARÍA was 64 years of age and lived on her own. She was found dead in her home, beaten and strangled with a wire cable.

An angry mob beat three policemen, accusing them of kidnapping two minors. The mob poured gasoline over two of the policemen and set them on fire, the flames consuming them. The third managed to get away.

An anonymous phone call led to a shocking discovery. The remains of four vacationing men were unearthed in a garden. They had been blindfolded, and their hands had been bound. An autopsy revealed that they had been buried alive.

These atrocities are not scenes from cruel and violent horror movies. These reports are all true stories that not long ago made headlines in one Latin-American country. Yet, that country is by no means an exception in today’s world.

Cruel acts have become daily occurrences. Bombings, terrorist attacks, murders, assaults, shootings, and rapes make up but a fraction of such incidents. Over and over, the news media present graphic reports of atrocities, and many people are no longer shocked to see or hear of such cruelty.

You may well wonder: ‘What is happening to the world today? Has all consideration for the feelings of others and respect for life been lost?’ Why must we live in a world like this?

Now consider Harry, a 69-year-old man who has had cancer. His wife suffers from multiple sclerosis, but his neighbors and friends pitch in to help. “I do not know what we would do without all these people helping us out,” says Harry. In Canada, where he lives, a study reveals that more than 50 percent of senior caregivers are helping someone who is not related to them. No doubt, you know of ordinary people who from day to day show kindness and neighborliness. Yes, humans have the potential for being compassionate and kind instead of being cruel.

Then why the atrocities? What makes people act cruelly? Can those who treat others with cruelty change? Will cruelty ever end? And if so, how and when?

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Train: CORDON PRESS