The American-News welcomes letters of opinion from our readers.

The American-News welcomes letters of opinion from our readers. Letters regarding current local and national news items are encouraged. All letters are subject to editing for length and style. Letters containing potentially libelous or obscene statements will not be published. Letters must contain name, address and phone number for verification and in case of questions. E-mail letters to: mmilbrandt@montenews.com Letters may also be mailed to:  Editor, Montevideo Publishing, P.O. Box 99, Montevideo, MN 56265

Changing society

Back in the 1960s when wild game was abundant and hunting put food on the table,some of the “city kids” brought their shotguns to school, stored them in their lockers for the day, and took them along on the bus after school when they rode home with the “country kids” to go hunting on their farms. Guns were a common sight in school buildings back then but no one considered them as a threat because no one ever thought they would be used to shoot people. Back then, on every Wednesday morning, students were released from school for a period of time and transported to their family church for “religious instruction.” There we were instructed to “love one another as I first loved you; do unto others as you would have them do unto you; and thou shalt not kill.” These instructions influenced our character and impacted the decisions we made in our lives.

  Over ensuing decades, segments of our society have abandoned a belief in the existence of a loving God and a divine love-based moral code. Other belief-based systems have emerged or immigrated in. The “I” and the “information” and the “technology”-based systems have emerged and are fighting for dominance. Worth and acceptance is now based on how many “likes” we can get on social media or how many people we can get to join us in our attitudes or actions. Social acceptance has become the moral code for many, and technology or social media has become the moral measuring stick. Demonstrations that include destruction of public property and individual bullying are symptomatic of the “I or me” based belief system. If I can get others to join me in community or individual harassment or destruction, my actions or opinions are justified and I am validated.

  In my volunteer work with teenagers, I have discovered that many of these young adults are enraptured with their “smart” phones to an extent that approaches worship. Many of them have been referred to remedial programs because they have ignored school obligations or engaged in threatening or destructive behavior. If you attempt to remove or reduce their media time, their addiction to this influence in their lives becomes very apparent. Many of these young people have been emotionally or physically wounded by peer or family rejection and turn to “black op” killing games for frustration relief. If a child with no moral or religious foundation is playing several hours of killing video games a day, is engaging in emotionally-detached killing role modeling, don’t we realize that they will possibly act out this learned behavior? Who produces these killing games, who promotes these “games,” and who is reaping the rewards (monetary and psychological) of these games? Why do so many of our young people think it is acceptable to bully if they can get others to join them in their actions? Are they striving for I or me emulation? Why are many of our schools allowing bullying behavior in their environments? Should they be surprised when many victims return to the setting in which they were victimized to act out their revenge? Is their primary concern political correctness or fear of being accused of discrimination? Who is protecting the rights of possible future victims?

  Our problem will not be solved by legislation. There are actions we can take in many areas but we will not solve a spiritual collapse with legislation. We only have to look back in history to see the evidence of this-look at the Roman and Hitler societies for example. When we impose an artificial moral code in a collective society, chaos and destruction result. We are living in a political culture that is trying to diversify or remove moral accountability. Why? What is to be gained? Who benefits from the chaos that is being produced? Should unselfish love, not personal justification or reward be our goal? Without a common constructive goal or belief, do the people perish?

—Doug Hodge

Montevideo