Are We A Community Of Strangers?
Photo by the Associated Press
“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.”
David Foster Wallace
“This Is Water”
The following is an Editorial (in its entirety) that appeared in the The Dallas Morning News, originally published: 08 May 2013 08:00 PM, and updated: 09 May 2013 11:46 AM. Now you know that I seldom share something like this, unless it is an original piece I have submitted that was printed in the editorial section of my local newspaper. However, today I am making an exception because of the message this speaks, LOUD and PROUD, of what must be the personal responsibility of everyone, not only here in the United States, but throughout the world. You see, as far as I am concerned, the message is one that we of faith should know well! And for the most part, we do. The question is, do we act upon those convictions we hold to be self evident? What are they?
- LOVE THY NEIGHBOR! From Leviticus 19:18 ESV, “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”
- BE GENEROUS! From 1 Timothy 6:18 ESV, “They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share..”
- WE ALL MUST LIVE A FAITH AND SPIRIT FILLED LIFE! From Galatians 5:22-23 ESV, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
The Dallas Morning News
Published: 08 May 2013 08:00 PM
Updated: 09 May 2013 11:46 AM
The story out of Cleveland about three young women kidnapped and held captive for a decade is a horrific tale that is only likely to get worse as the details emerge.
Kind of like the recent tragedies in Boston and West.
These three big, striking stories of the past month might seem, at first glance, dissimilar. One was an act of terrorism, another an industrial tragedy, and the third a kidnapping and imprisonment. All have one thing in common: They are dramatic reminders that one of the biggest challenges in this overstimulated, tuned-out world is the need to simply be aware.
Public awareness helped law enforcement catch the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. In Cleveland, several alert neighbors helped Amanda Berry escape her captors and bring two more women to safety. Lack of awareness helped fuel the deadly fertilizer plant blast in West, where details of lax planning and ignorance by design have emerged.
Increasingly, we live cocooned lives, each new technological marvel becoming another thread spun onto our ever-thickening shells. We’ve got GPS in our cars, MP3 buds in our ears, text messages on our minds. A lack of awareness shows up in small ways every day. People suddenly braking, others cutting in front of others. Oblivious to even the existence of others.
Luckily for the three young women in Cleveland — Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight — and a 6-year-old reported to have been born to Berry during the imprisonment, folks in the neighborhood were aware. One neighbor heard pounding on doors. Another saw a figure in an upstairs window of a house that otherwise seemed abandoned. And finally, two men took action when a young woman yelled for help.
Yet why did it take as long as it did to figure out what was going on in that house? Cleveland columnist Connie Schultz put it this way earlier this week, “We all know that no one person is to blame, but everyone is at fault when we are a community of strangers.”
In addition to Monday’s heroism, neighbors say police were called to the Ariel Castro house, where the women were held, at least twice in recent years because of suspicious activities. Cleveland police, in the early stages of their investigation, have not confirmed those reports, but authorities are rightly investigating the claims of police inaction.
Perhaps it’s fitting that the hero of the Cleveland story, along with the women themselves, is Charles Ramsey, who seemed alert to most everything happening around him. Ramsey’s folksy, straight-talk interview with a television reporter has become a viral sensation on the internet. Ramsey subsequently trumped that interview when he spoke with CNN’s Anderson Cooper and told him that any reward money should go to the kidnapping victims.
That is awareness at its finest.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV
(My copyright attaches only to the words contained herein that are original to me. I do not own rights to the content of the editorial written by the Dallas Morning News, but affirm that they have been shared and reprinted freely in other news publications world-wide.)
Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry