A few ideas had been rattling around in my head for some time, in fact I’ve written a little about them but clearly not enough. You see, sometimes writing about what is bothering me is therapeutic, it gets those thoughts that are chasing each other around in circles in my head to stand still on the computer screen. Once there, fixed in place, they’re easier to deal with.
I’ll admit that I don’t often read the newspaper or watch the news on TV. I get soundbites of current events on the local news radio station, or the equivalent from the mini-newspapers like Metro or 24, left in the lunchroom at work. But it seems like every time I really listen or read lately there’s some horrific thing about a child, or children.
For instance, there was the 12 year old girl in Alberta who had her boyfriend murder her parents while she killed her 8 year old brother herself. A little girl tortured and killed by her mother and stepfather. Not long ago a friend posted to her blog a memorial to a little baby girl horribly raped and tortured by her own family.
Today my aunt Mimi forwarded an email to me. I adore Mimi; love her beyond imagination. I can’t ask her to stop forwarding these emails to me as I think she truly believes she is doing good. They rarely are anything but the standard scare-mails and hoaxes easily identified even without snopes.com. But today’s pulled at my heartstrings. It was outdated – about the release of the boys who had, at ten years old, brutally tortured and maimed and killed a 3 year old boy they abducted from a mall in England. They were released, early, in 2001 and given new identities that allow them to live their lives disconnected from their ‘childhood’ crime. The email itself was a ‘petition’ concerning this, though now it’s certainly far too late to have any effect whatsoever on their release.
The email worked. I got scared. I identified too closely with the little boy’s mother, and envisioned the horrible things the email described as happening to my Cameron. I’m not saying that my aunt sent it to me deliberately to scare me, far from that. But the whole reason these virus-emails keep going is that they catch us at our weak moments. Heck, I almost forwarded it before I really thought about it, and I NEVER forward the “send this to ten friends or horrible things will happen,” urban myth, and petition emails. But it made me feel afraid, for a while feel like it was likely that some horrendous thing would happen to Cameron.
The reality is that in our society we are very, very lucky. There are parts of the world where such things are so commonplace that we rarely hear of it. On one of my perusals of a newspaper recently there was a short blurb about a meeting between a former child soldier and a woman who, at the age of 12, was held captive by child soldiers and eventually released. After having both of her hands chopped off. This was not an isolated incident in that region of the world. There are people every day being forced out of their homes, their children killed before their eyes.
It may seem to me like it’s common here in Canada, simply because now and then there is a headline. Yes, it is far too common. But compared with large parts of the world? This is a wonderfully safe place to live. It is the media, and my own perception, that makes it seem like danger lurks around every corner. In reality, this is one of few places in the world where I can reasonably expect my son to grow up and lead a rich and full life.