Doing the Right Thing?

May 26, 2012

I started this post on May 26 with the above title, the two tags “Brian Banks” and “Etan Patz,” and an empty box where the text should be. Today, on June 4, I return to actually write. Unfortunately I just don’t have the ammunition I expected to have when I first put digital pen to virtual paper.

Brian Banks is a young man in Los Angeles who had his life ruined because a female acquaintance of his falsely accused him of rape. He was only vindicated (after five years in prison and five years as a registered sex offender) when the woman friended him on Facebook and admitted that she was ill-at-ease over the whole situation. But not to the point where she was willing to go public and give back her 7-figure civil settlement.

Meanwhile, in New York City, a man has finally been arrested for the killing of Etan Patz, the first child to be featured on a milk container. Whether this person is actually the perpetrator may never truly be known, but what is undisputed is that this deranged person confessed to a non-specific murder with his prayer group. And that nobody in the prayer group did anything about it.

I had set out to write this post intending to rant about crimes that go unreported and sins that go unconfessed. How we all have a role in our moral community regardless of what church we attend or what book we believe to be God’s law. But since then I’ve lost the thread and, in the past week, seen the news dominated by 3 different stories of psychotic and/or drug-abusing people who committed cannibalistic crimes. People half-jokingly talk about the zombie apocalypse, as prophesied by a tabloid-tinged news cycle. Then flip the channel to see the final score of the basketball game.

I can’t help but see something bigger here, something more significant than sensational, animalistic murder. I can’t help wonder if we’re missing the big picture. If we haven’t traded our collective souls for shocking blood sport and titillating pedophilia, where toddlers are beauty queens, teenagers are porn stars, and body parts are collector’s items to be sold on eBay.

Or maybe I’m just bummed out in general.