Among the articles in my newspaper recently were two separate items about couples enslaving others? In one, an Indian couple purchased a 12 year old girl from her parents then moved her here to the US and kept her a prisoner in their home for 6 years, working her to near exhaustion with only a mattress on the floor in a small unheated room above the garage to call her own. In the other a mildly retarded couple was virtually enslaved by another couple they thought were good friends they could trust. After enticing the couple to follow them to another state where the disadvantaged couple had no extended family or other resources, the predatory couple provided them with a bare subsistence while stealing their disability payments for over 20 years. The couple were regularly threatened at gunpoint and subjected to beatings and verbal abuse. The disabled man’s brother spent two decades looking for the couple and finally found them through a misdirected social security check.
Once found out and arrested, the Indian couple received 8 years in prison to be follow by deportation. The American couple received 6 months in jail (male) and 3 months house arrest (female) followed by three years probation. Why did the American couple get off with such a light sentence? Weren’t their crimes as bad or worse then that of the Indian couple? What is wrong with the judicial system in this country? Worse yet, what was wrong with all the neighbors (in both cases) that knew something was very wrong in both households and did nothing?
Another news item told of the death of a 13 yr. old boy that had been tied to a tree all night by his parents for disobedience. In another item two teenage boys were fighting in the yard of one’s adult sister. She provided them with guns and told them to duel it out while video taping the entire scene. In yet another article a father pulled his two year old son out of his car on a major highway and proceeded to beat him to death before police shot him. In all these cases there were many who could have intervened and did nothing.
I wish I could just dump all the people in these stories and all the others in my daily news along with all those who could do something to help others and don’t into some giant container (a cement mixer comes to mind) and shake them vigorously for some time then toss them out like dice on a monopoly board. Hoping that in the process they would get their rightful senses restored. By the way, what has happened to common sense? I sure do not see much evidence that it still exists in today’s world.
I have always been a fretter and a worrier whose head is controlled by the visual and verbal stimuli that gets placed there. In fact, at one point in my life I was having so many nightmares that I had to seriously restrict what I allowed to enter my skull unsolicited. I was once a voracious reader who would digest anything that came across my path and I had to stop reading sci-fi and thrillers altogether and leave some books unfinished when the subject matter took a dangerous turn. I stopped watching television news and limited my viewing to situation comedies and home decorating shows. I stopped reading the newspapers and did not go to the movie theater for ages.
Sure I new that lots of bad stuff was happening in the world to a lot of decent people, and I prayed for all of them everyday. But, I had to stop filling my brain with graphic images that would return to be twisted ridiculously in my sleep. Fortunately, at the time, I was so busy working and caring for sick family members that I did not miss the books or the TV.
Apparently my efforts worked, because I stopped dreaming altogether, or at least stopped remembering my dreams if I had any. Recently, I have once again started having very vivid and very strange dreams that will sometimes wake me up several times a night. The only thing I can attribute it too is since my marriage last year I have returned to viewing both television and movies and my husband and I share the newspaper over breakfast and often have lengthy discussions on current events.
Now, I am angered more by the lack of respect and caring that people show to each other, than upset by the images of murder and mayhem. However both still manage to cross over into my dreams. If world events affect me in these ways then what are they doing to everyone else? If all the media exposure is causing me to have nightmares, is it causing other people to exhibit temper outbursts, commit murder or have other types of deviant behavior? Is the local news broadcast, viewing movies or reading the newspaper going to become the next source of post traumatic stress syndrome? Could the level of violence in society be reduced by outlawing all violent video and electronic stimuli?
Obviously there are no answers to any of this or even why my dreams have returned so I will just go back to avoiding what I think causes them. Once again, there will be no more newspapers or nightly news for me. Plus, my dear Frank may find me rejecting some of his movie selections or suddenly needing a potty break during very graphic scenes.