Like most of you, I've watched the TV coverage with great interest lately. I was interested to see how the media would handle the deaths of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson and even Billy Mays (he's the pitch man who used to scream to you about all the great products on TV). Obviously, there has been report on top of report and news from every possible angle on these individuals. To be sure, their deaths, as all deaths are, were sorrowful. Millions around the world mourned their losses. Each had made wonderful contributions to our culture (though some might be questioned as to their value, they were contributions nonetheless).
So, I was faced with the irony of a much sadder situation that I read about in the news this morning. On Friday, just a day after Fawcett and Jackson had passed, a 12 year old boy in Albany, GA died. That news alone would not be significantly shocking in a world where children die all too often. It's the way he died. According to reports this morning, this young man got into a disagreement with a 14 year old friend who promptly pulled out a knife and stabbed him. In an instant, two lives are destroyed. One will never walk this earth again, the other will forever bear the guilt of murder. Innocence taken, innocence traded.
Where are the mourners now?
I have to ask myself that question. As we continually expose our kids to greater trash, as we watch homes that are shredded by divorce and abandonment, as we continue to lower the standards we have for our culture, who will mourn the loss of innocence when more and more we watch young lives that are shattered. It's happening all across our culture and we miss it...or, worse yet, we wave it off as a horrible event but one that no one could have prevented.
It makes me pray harder for friends like Jessica, who works in a high school filled with gang members in Memphis, or Chris, who for years has lived with his wife and kids in inner city New Orleans so that he could model what it means to be a dad and to love your family. We can't afford not to mourn for Ladrona and Jamal. And the only rightful tribute for them would be this--refuse to let your heart become hard or uncaring. The souls of our children depend on it.