You know something? It doesn’t take much anymore to set someone off and go down some dangerous path of destruction. You simply never know who you’ve got in front of you and how desensitized they are to violence. I don’t honestly know how long I’ve been penning this column, but it has got to be coming up on 20 years. For 20 years I would write about how we’re raising a generation of people that won’t have a concept of violence and how it would be deemed acceptable to just go crazy when you felt like going crazy, be it a road rage incident or burning down three generations of livelihood.
By now most of you have heard, Rod’s Towing & Repairs in Putney, Vermont burned. It was burned by an arson’s match. The Winchesters have been a hard-working family in the Putney area, great community partners, and one of those businesses that always bustled. So, it begs the question, who would do such an awful thing to the family and all they employed? I will admit that I don’t know the details other than it burned and it was confirmed that the fire was set. I could also live to be 200 years old, and I will never understand things like vandalism, arson and any other destructive acts against innocent people. I would only hope and pray that those who did it are caught and brought to justice. Make no bones about it, however, justice won’t get those doors reopened any faster, justice won’t ease the hurt already felt. All justice will do is get the heartless soul that did this off the streets. But that doesn’t mean that justice shouldn’t be served! If you know anything, you should call the police.
I feel as though the same person that could do this disgusting act has been completely desensitized by and is no longer able to think beyond their own self-interest. The most violent acts are portrayed on TV and film. They’re programmed into the video games our children play and we allow them to play. Games that give you points for killing innocent people and blowing up buildings. I don’t get it, I’ll never get it, and frankly, I don’t want to get it. I grew up with Pong and simple paddle games and a square dot you couldn’t let get past you. But games like “Grand Theft Auto” allow you to accrue points for the rape and killing of prostitutes; I’m sorry, it creates a disconnect. I can remember, it had to be 10 years ago, reading an article in the New York Times about this very thing and a person interviewed had the defense that was something to the effect of, “You can kill anyone with a bat, not just hookers.” It was at that moment I knew we were spawning a generation of humans that would no longer have that same sense of right and wrong.
Am I blaming video games, TV, music, and movies for everything? No, far from it. Parenting is where it starts and ends. But we need to give those parents a fighting chance. I grew up partially in Queens Village. My block was a melting pot of Jewish, Italian, Irish, German, Puerto Rican, African American and so on. But everyone had everyone’s back. If I was acting the fool, my mom’s kitchen phone would ring and by the time I got home, I’d get an earful. Needless to say, when I hear the phrase “it takes a village,” it truly has a deeper meaning. Was I upset that Mrs. Colonie told my mother I was swearing in front of the Ross’ house? Sure. Did I get over it? Absolutely! Because I knew that if I got into a jam, Mrs. Colonie would be the first one there.
I get that I’m the old white guy spewing another 700 words of how out of touch I am. But on the off chance I’m not, I think we really need to consider turning the clocks back a little bit and caring a little more about the actions people take and letting them know that it is wholeheartedly unacceptable. And, when we see something unacceptable happening, we need to make someone’s kitchen phone ring.