There was a time when I was young and idealistic that I thought one
could live and let live. Do your own thing, live the way you wanted to
live and let the world go by on the sidelines. Unfortunately I learned
it can’t be done.
John Donne had it right, “No man is an island,
entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a
promontory were, as well as if a manner of thine own or of thine
friend’s were. Every man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in
mankind. And therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, It
tolls for thee.”
What my neighbor does, what a stranger does when
near me, what a government decides to make a law, those things all
affect me. I can’t ignore the influence on my life that others cause.
I think of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and think of the
consequences that decision has made. Deaths and poisonings of young
children from marijuana candy, more traffic arrests due to those under
the influence of a drug, more resources on water and land to grow a crop
that has adverse affects on people and the possibility of loss of life
or property damage from those under the influence. I would not want to
meet someone on the road whose judgment is impaired by a drug. But that
decision by lawmakers surely put the lives of Coloradoans under greater
The decision by someone here in our state to drive while
under the influence of alcohol, or someone not paying attention to the
road while texting or talking on the phone puts others lives at risk. We
see it all too often. Drunk drivers who are second offenders should be
treated more harshly than they are and it should be more consistent.
garden may be organic but neighbors who spray when it is too windy or
are careless when applying chemicals can have an affect on my plants as
well. I find it very discouraging to see trees I have planted show signs
of chemical damage knowing that the stress, plus other stresses that
occur naturally, such as a dry year, may kill the tree.
damage it causes to beneficial insects and birds has not been completely
documented. All one has to read is Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” to
know the problem is ongoing and has not changed much since Carson wrote
We agonize over the shootings in schools overcome by
grief that such things happen. Are we forgetting that people are
influenced by what they see. Both video games and television shows show
graphic images that give youth an unreal picture of our world.
Gerbner, (1919-2005) former dean of the Annenberg School of
Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, has estimated that the
average American child will have watched 8,000 murders on television by
the age of twelve. I don’t know about you, but this is certainly not
Leonard Eron, a professor of psychology at the University
of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, did a study of some
third-graders in a semi-rural area of New York. Those who watched
violent television programming were more aggressive and that tendency
stayed with them as they became older They were more likely to get in
trouble with the law and were convicted of serious crimes at later ages.
He has estimated that 10 percent of violence in the United States can
be credited to television.
Watch any cartoon and there is violence
there as well. We may think these cartoons are funny but it can
influence a young child’s behavior. In 1965 a study of cartoons compared
the behaviors of four-year-olds who watched a Woody Woodpecker cartoon
containing violent incidents with that of others who watched “The Little
Red Hen,” a cartoon that was nonviolent in nature. The children who
watched the Woody Woodpecker cartoon were more likely to hit other
children or break up toys and be more destructive during playtime. Can
the effects of violent television not be seen?
How about our
privacy? Now one’s activities are tracked by computers, cell phones and
cameras or drones. If I search for some place or thing on the internet,
chances are when I go to a website advertisements of those same things
are seen. If you have satellite television I am sure they know what
programming you regularly watch. Profiles are made of you and your
activities over the internet. A bit scary it seems to me.
when Donne wrote those words he was thinking more along humanitarian
lines, our interaction with others rather than a wider picture, it all
fits together. And to stay sane I have to think along those lines as
well. I can only control my activities and make good decisions that
benefit my family and my community.
Hopefully, if we all try to
make good decisions, that benefit will grow and make our nation a better
place to live. One must not think that what we do really doesn’t matter
in the whole of things, for it does. Every clod makes a difference,
every grain of sand is important, every person and the good decision he
or she makes is significant.
Being proactive praying for our
churches, our community and nation, living a God-focused life, all make
us part of the whole, a better whole. As Donne said, “Send not to know
for whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.”
Roediger has lived on a family farm all her life, first as a farmer’s
daughter and now as a farmer’s wife. She writes weekly for the Times
Bulletin and enjoys gardening, quilting, cooking, bird watching and