What is the value of human life?
This topic has been one that I have strayed away from for many weeks; it is one that I know I have to address but will cause controversy. Differences in opinions may cause a rift in my relationships with some but it has been on my heart to address this notion of the importance of value of human life. Before addressing the MAJOR emphasis and point that must be made, I had to actually research the question, “What is the value of human life?” The various perspectives that I found were quite astonishing.
What makes your life valuable? Is it based on where you come from? Is it encompassed on your purpose in life? Is it labeled and categorized by the socioeconomic background/political class that you are in? Is this something that you may have never considered? You see we are all taught to live life but maybe not with the concluding phrase which is “to the fullest.” The implication here is that everyone does not value life; we do not know when our lives will end. We all know our birthday but we do not know our death day.
Life is valuable because it is implicit, beautiful, compassionate and limited. Implicitly, we are connected to others whether we like it or not. Those people are a part of our genetic make up and what makes us who we are. Life is beautiful! So many things occur in an individual’s life that are momentous! There are celebrations of first words, promotion ceremonies, graduations, birthdays, academic accolades, sports, weddings, etc. These are the moments that commemorate how valuable our lives are. Throughout life there is an empathetic and compassionate side that derives from each of us. This could be familial love, grace that we show for animals, romantic love, or any other form of compassion. Life is limited; it eventually ends. The way our life ends matters; there must be an appreciation of value.
In recent weeks there have been many incidents in which the value of life has been the point of conversation in various contexts. Among many the one that stands out most to me is the recent acceleration of the mass gun shootings. Ask yourself, “Are we doing enough to alleviate gun violence?” ” How is it that young teenagers and mentally unstable people are easily able to gain access to weapons?”
Society as a whole should place a high value on life; however, this is not so. As an educator in one of the roughest high schools in Louisville, KY I can tell you that the students I work with do not have value for their lives. This school year alone we have had 8 guns brought into our building. For the students, this is the norm. Many of them do not expect to live past the age of 18; they are immune to this and members of society have turned a blind eye to this realization. How can they value life and how can I inspire them to value life if political leaders, district leads, and those that can change the policies do not? Are their lives not valuable? Literally, as I sit here typing this blog, a news report just came on the TV about 5 teenagers that were shot at the Waterfront park. I was just there tonight with my husband and son. Kids were enjoying the water park, playing, families were celebrating graduations and reunions. My husband, son and myself rented bikes and rode throughout the park. We left at 7:00 p.m. This incident occurred at 9:00 p.m. This incident resonates with me personally. Not only could my family’s lives been affected but those that were at the park; one of the first things I think about when I hear about one of these many shootings is, ” Is that one of my students?” Again, where is the importance of the value of life? I guess my point is that all lives are not measured with the same value; this is unfair. How are we all equal but not equal? What is the answer to ensuring that all lives are valued?
Right after the Uvalde TX shooting and the shooting in Buffalo New York, one of my friends on Facebook posted a relevant picture that led me to write about this post. It was a group of people standing at a gravesite. The meme read, ” Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today because your thoughts and prayers didn’t do anything from keeping innocent people from being killed.” The harsh reality is for all of these violent occurrences, thoughts and prayers are not the answer. As a Christian, I pray. As a Christian I understand that God made us all in his image with no differences in how he loves us; as a Christian I also recognize that prayers are not enough. Time and time again we have been challenged with news of gun violence, and mass shootings. Time and time again, there are flowers and teddy bears placed in memory of those that have been killed. But other than that, what are we doing to ensure that LIFE is VALUED?
It is time to stop passing the blame and actually do something. I could go on and on with regards to this topic, but this blog would turn into a book if I did. So many thoughts run through my mind as over the years I have encountered many deaths due to gun violence. Also, the issue of gun safety is prevalent as there have been so many mass shootings over the years; I do agree that prayer is not the answer.
Based on research that I conducted, we have the answers but it does not seem that our politicians and leaders are enacting the policies that would regulate guns. Is that because they do not value ALL lives? One set of policies is not enough to reduce this violence; however, as a community and strategic development and implementation of a plan of action, we can begin to take back control our communities. Policy Leaders, District Heads, and Government officials must do more to show that the value of ALL human life is well regarded!
What can we do? As our families and communities continue to live in fear, we have to force our leaders to make change! We should be able to send our kids to school without fear, vacation without fear, go to the grocery store without fear, shop in the mall without fear, attend church without fear, and walk through our community without the fear of being shot. As leaders, they must know that the value of life applies to all and not some.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this!