Where Is The Love?
From Jugraj Singh, CA
“Compassion, love, and forgiveness, however, are not luxuries. They are fundamental for our survival.” – Dalai Lama
In less than a week, four incidents of murder and attempted murder have taken place in the US. What is particularly disturbing are the reasons: ringing the doorbell of the wrong house, driving into the wrong driveway, entering the wrong car, and retrieving a basketball from a neighbor’s front yard. Innocent children and young women have been shot for making these honest mistakes. It is with dismay that we see how much human relationships have deteriorated due to America’s model of development and to face this new American reality.
On April 13, in Missouri, Ralph Yarl (16) was asked to pick up his younger brothers from their friend’s house. Ralph came to the wrong house by mistake and was shot twice by the homeowner, Andrew Lester (84). He was shot in the arm and above the left eye. It is a miracle that Ralph survived: according to his mother, who is a nurse, the bullet remained inside his head for almost 12 hours.
On April 15, in New York, Kaylin Gillis (20) was shot and killed by Kevin Monahan (65) for mistakenly pulling into his driveway. Kaylin, an animal lover, was in the process of moving to Florida with her family and studying at university to pursue her dream of becoming a marine biologist.
On April 18, in Texas, two cheerleaders, Heather Roth (21) and Payton Washington (18), were shot by Pedro Tello Rodriguez Jr, (25) for approaching the wrong car by mistake. Heather was fortunate to have been grazed by a bullet, but unfortunately Payton suffered serious injuries as her spleen ruptured (and had to be removed surgically) and her pancreas and diaphragm were damaged. Payton is a remarkable athlete, who, according to her father, was born with one lung and is so accomplished that she has been awarded a tumbling scholarship to attend Baylor University.
Also on April 18, in North Carolina, a six-year-old girl and her parents were shot by Robert Louis Singletary (24) after a basketball rolled into his yard and some children went to retrieve it. The little girl was shot in the cheek, her mother in the arm, and her father was shot in the back, suffering liver damage and a punctured lung.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” – Jesus Christ
Christianity formed the basis of Western civilization. The second great commandment of Jesus states to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In 1993, “The Global Ethic” became the official document of the Parliament of World Religions. Two ethical concepts form its foundation: the first is the Golden Rule, to treat others the way you would want to be treated; and the second: every human being must be treated humanely. These shocking incidents show how far society is moving in the wrong direction because of western capitalism and democracy: Hating and harming your neighbor, and treating human beings inhumanely are becoming the new normal.
The western capitalist system and democracy are the cause of human suffering; the capitalist system makes people sick because it is exploitative, dehumanizing, racist, unjust, unequal, opposes nature and worst of all, insults human dignity. Western democracy concentrates power in a corrupt class of elite who maintain their power by dividing and ruling the majority.
An American friend asked me if I knew what the Golden Rule was. When I answered, he politely informed me that what I knew is the international definition. He explained the American Golden Rule: the man with all the gold makes all the rules. The American Establishment has all the gold; therefore, it makes all of the rules.
America is a superpower and currently has a GDP of $23 trillion (World Bank, 2023). Despite all this power and all of this gold, there are nearly 600,000 Americans who are unhoused on any night (Annual Homelessness Assessment Report, 2023); 33.8 million Americans live in food-insecure households (U.S. Department of Agriculture); and 28.1 million Americans of all ages are uninsured (National Health Interview Survey, 2021). Add to these problems the epidemics of overweight and obesity, opioids, and violence, and it becomes glaringly obvious just how out of touch America’s ruling capitalist elite are with the cruel reality facing ordinary Americans.
A Professor in medical school shared an allegory of two friends (Friend 1 and Friend 2) walking by a river. Suddenly, they heard cries for help and saw people being swept by the current and drowning. As both friends were excellent swimmers, they swam and rescued the victims. They continued walking and a few minutes later, they again heard cries for help and saw people drowning. Friend 1 ran into the river and started swimming towards the victims only to see Friend 2 running upstream. Friend 1 yelled to ask why Friend 2 was running upstream. Friend 2 replied that he was running upstream because he wanted to see what was causing people to fall into the river and to stop the cause.
The debate around banning guns vs the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States is fundamentally flawed by design, thanks to the Establishment. There is political mileage to be gained from both sides of the debate, but there is no solution simply because solving the problem of societal violence is neither politically nor financially lucrative. Guns are a means to an end, violence. Banning guns will stop the means but will do absolutely nothing to stop violent people. In the absence of guns, violent people will only become more imaginative and creative when planning to harm other people. The factors which are making people violent must be identified and addressed: Stop the cause.
“Today we are afraid of simple words like goodness and mercy and kindness. We don’t believe in good old words because we don’t believe in good old values anymore. And that’s why the world is sick.” – Lin Yutang
While writing this article, it has been very difficult to read about the victims and look at their photographs, to watch interviews with their families and neighbors. Countless times, my friends and family have made such honest and innocent mistakes. It is shameful and sorrowful to think what kind of a world we are leaving for younger generations: a world devoid of compassion, forgiveness, and mercy. I conclude with Albert Einstein’s thoughts on compassion. Will we ever learn to love our neighbors?
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ― Albert Einstein