Preface: This Blog was written days before the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival massacre. While a motive is yet to be determined, at this juncture the incident appears devoid of what many times is foretelling ideology or a religious component. Was there some underlying organic mental disorder or perhaps some financial nexus given Paddock was allegedly a heavy gambler, not unlike Mark Barton another spree killer some 18 years earlier? Certainly, the absence of or faulty stabilizers in Paddocks life were drivers and contributing factor(s). Stephen Paddock 64 YOA had shallow emotional bonds. It appears Paddock of late, methodically planned and lived for this very occasion. And, as with the most recent tragedy this blog rings with limiting relevancy.
Although the title is a play on words and core ingredients of what may be an appealing cocktail, a jigger of humanity is way too insufficient to perpetuate a family’s wholesomeness and sustainability. “Risky, Sour, on the Rocks” is symbolic with present day family perils. Catastrophic events and other social calamities can bring out the very best and worst of mankind. During Hurricane Katrina, I was there and experienced the chaos firsthand. Most recently during Hurricane Irma, there were many acts of heroic and exemplary conduct. But, conversely, and often to our chagrin the easiest and most visually prominent remembrance of an event is the repugnant behavior of others who willingly opt to prey upon those who have already been victimized. Robberies, burglaries and assaults are reprehensible enough but, to inflict further damage to the displaced defenseless people, abandoned store fronts and homes during hurricane Irma is unconscionable. People not even momentarily pausing to wrestle with what at the very least, should be the emotional turmoil of engaging in wrong doing just before breaking into stores, begin stealing Air Jordan shoes, or beer and cigarettes, while seemingly devoid of remorse. Without being a doomsayer or alarmist, it’s disconcerting times such as these one must wonder what has become of humanity? Where is civility? We now have thousands of legions of people who are largely devoid of significant moral values, something most assuredly taught and learned principally in familial settings. And, now as if in some exponential way it’s conspicuously absent. I don’t want my weighted comments to overshadow the notion that thankfully there are far more good people in this world than there are people who do bad things. But, if good is to be mirrored it is best taught and modeled in an appropriate fashion.
In an unrelated case, during the same time frame, we see more anecdotal evidence of failing families.
Two teen brothers, infamous for their repeated arrest and releases have been sentenced in a 2016 shooting that claimed the life of a Southwest Atlanta man. Charlie and Issac McDaniel will serve 18 years of a 45-year sentence after pleading guilty to murder, weapons, theft and gang charges. They were 15 and 16 years old when they shot and killed Anthony Brooks. It happened in front of a Campbelton Road gas station. The 51-year-old Brooks had confronted the teen for repeatedly carjacking neighbors.
Before Brooks murder, the brothers had been arrested and released 14 times. Loathful! But, conversely, when families fail, there are not enough religious, educational institutions or even law enforcement personnel that can redirect this misdirection and cause mankind to turn the corner. It seems from the onset but, most assuredly more so now, any resurrection in benevolence resides with the family. It’s unarguably the most important institution and it is utterly failing, in the most obvious and dramatic of ways. Religious institutions are in trouble too. In fact, all the institutions except for the government are having a diminished amount of influence on our lives. I’m reminded of a prominent biblical verse which comes to mind…” train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”. Regrettably, many families are broken, frag-mentally frustrated and have become solely dysfunctional. There are no longer enough significant others who are positive role models, training and nurturing yet another generation to stand in the societal gap and carry on with integrity and solidarity. People are largely becoming more and more desensitized to repugnant behavior to include violence and other aberrant behavior. If you think this may be hyperbolic just check out social media’s, “You Tube” or your daily news cycle. The shock value is no longer there. The sanctity of life is waning in value and to that end it’s we who have become the unwitting benefactors of the burgeoning, horrific crime rates. Sadly, I predict this social malaise will get far worse before getting better. Our collective ire must be shown and wholeheartedly demonstrated now, we must not wait until it affects us individually.