A guest blog artcle by Kristen Kuzanek (world citizen, student)
As someone who has worked with children for many years, strives to be a future educator and comes from a very close and tight-knit family, I was appalled by some devastating news stories circulating around Chicago as well as the country right now.
In the past few years we have heard too many stories on the news about murders committed by family members. There have been numerous family murders in Illinois as well as other places within the United States; too close for comfort.
I wish there was some way in which we could predict these actions in order to save the innocent lives as well as the lives of the deviants in society.
Are these murders committed out of selfishness? Are they seeking an “ideal” lifestyle? Is it because they do not value their life and the lives of others? Or is it a combination of the three?
To a certain extent I definitely believe there is a degree of selfishness when an individual takes another family members life. It is as though they are doing it for frivolity. There must be some sort of blockage in the mind of the murder in the sense that nothing else is more important than that of their own happiness. I do not think these individuals look at the consequences to their actions before they are performed.
There could be many reasons as to why these family members are murdered but one that really stands out to me is that of the “ideal” lifestyle some of these individuals may be striving for. Many of the murders I have heard on the news lately have to deal with individuals whose lives have been altered due to a child coming into the world (i.e. Casey Anthony) or those who just want to live their own life with no rules or regulations (i.e. John Granat). Both of these individuals have been accused of taking the lives of one of their family members. Consequently, they both strive to live this “ideal” lifestyle, whatever that may be, and will go to any means necessary to achieve it.
The value of life is different for each and every person. Some value life as something extravagant and a once in a lifetime thing, some value life very minimally and then there are those who simply do not value life at all. Behind some of these murders, life obviously was not valued as strongly as one may think. When an individual murders their parents because they tried to change their lifestyle the parent’s life was not valued. The parents valued their child’s life so much that they wanted to prevent them from going down the wrong path in life and in return their life was taken from them with no value.
A baby is something that many people cannot wait to have and many more struggle to have. When a baby comes along to a young mother, their live is tremendously altered; no more going out with friends every day, no more staying out all night and no more weekend get-a-ways. The baby is ultimately the responsibility of the mother and when that individual does not want to accept the responsibility of their child, murder is their only option (in their mind). There are so many options available for mothers who cannot take care of their child; adoption being a major one. However, the selfishness and striving for an “ideal” lifestyle would leave the individual with the quickest fix…murder. Unfortunately for a child who has barely lived their life and experienced what the world has to offer them, they were not cared for and their life was not valued enough to be giving another chance in a different environment.
Mills (1959) says that there are two levels of Social Problems. First, there are troubles; a private matter in which an individual’s values may be threatened. Secondly, there are issues; a public matter in which values of the public may become threatened (Mills, 1959). The environment prior to the murders may have been troubles but when the murders were committed they turned into issues.
Every individual who has murdered a family member, started off at the level of troubles. Their troubles were private matters within their families or themselves whether big or small. Once the murders were committed they then moved to the next level, issues. Their private matters became very public when they were broadcast around the country on the news, internet, in newspapers and magazines. Those who were once just another human living their life are now looked at as deviants in society.
There are many ways in which to deal with annoyances or difficulties in life and death is not one of them. To take the lives of innocent members of society puts society as a whole at a significant lose.
Unfortunately, this has become an epidemic in America among the youth that ultimately puts a huge target or label on their back by society and/or puts an end to their life and freedom.
Mills, C. Wright. 2000 (1959). The Sociological Imagination: Fortieth Anniversary Edition. Oxford University Press.