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Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:29 PM

Alienation, tragedy, and the canaries in the coal mine

ON DECEMBER 25, 2012

I had originally planned on writing something lighthearted for Christmas. But with the tragic school shooting in Newtown coming right in the middle of the holiday season, it seemed trite to pen a screed offering little more than best wishes and good tidings. Instead, I began to consider how we became a nation where young men feel so alienated that they decide to mass murder children as some deranged cry for attention.

I cant help but wonder how much responsibility modern society has for creating the Adam Lanzas and James Holmeses of the world. Im not excusing them nor am I suggesting that the world is cold is in any way an acceptable defense. But when mass shootings have become almost commonplace, I think its worth asking if something more is breaking down than just the unstable minds of a few angry men.

Several months ago, while visiting Machu Picchu, I was struck by the general happiness of the Peruvian people. I asked my tour guide if there was hunger in Peru, and he said there was hunger in Lima, the comparatively wealthy capital, but not in Cusco where we were staying. He explained that the community and family bonds in the Sacred Valley area kept people from falling through the cracks but that in Lima people were largely on their own.

This made me wonder if there was something about the modern world that is incompatible with compassion. Why are people left to go hungry in Lima but not in Cusco? Similarly, why in America, an extraordinarily wealthy nation, do we still have beggars on the street? It raises the question: Is alienation the price of progress?

much more

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Reply Alienation, tragedy, and the canaries in the coal mine (Original post)
n2doc Dec 2012 OP
n2doc Dec 2012 #1

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 09:11 AM

1. kick n/t

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