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What is missing?

December 23, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

To the Editor,

Across the pages of his book "Killing Kennedy," Bill O'Reilly presents a psychological profile of Lee Harvey Oswald as a socially maladjusted narcissist. Oswald did not hate JFK. He had no reason to want the president dead. But he longed to be a significant man, a great man. A man whose name would never be forgotten. That was his motivation.

These same narcissistic tendencies have been diagnosed in the Colorado theater shooter and the shooter at Virginia Tech. The desire to attract attention to themselves, to do something renowned that would never be forgotten. I think time will show the same narcissism in the shooter at the school in Connecticut and other mass murders we've seen in recent history.

What has changed in our society that it now seems saturated with Lee Harvey Oswalds instead of that type of person being the rarity? I think it's the breakdown of the fundamental establishment principles that once made our society great: respect for authority and respect for the rights, property and privacy of others.

When I grew up in the 50s and early 60s, these principles were emphasized everywhere. But most importantly they were taught in the home. My grandfather taught them to my dad, and he taught them to me and my siblings. TV shows like "Leave it to Beaver" and "Andy Griffith" are laughed at and ridiculed today, but these shows reinforced those principles we were taught in the home.

These are the principles that give a person the capacity to enjoy life. To enjoy the things they have. To be a success in life. It also gives them the ability to function normally in a society. To work alongside and be civil toward other people whether you like them or not, whether you agree with them or not. I think civility has disappeared from our society as was demonstrated at the highest levels in the presidential debates this year.

I believe the root cause of this is the breakdown of the very moral fiber of our society. This started in the 60s with the "love the one you're with" attitude. This led to the breakdown of the institutions of marriage and the family. In each generation afterwards, the problem has only gotten worse. The family was always the main training grounds for these principles that made our society great. But too often they are no longer taught or emphasized today.

Our society is sick as is demonstrated by the bullying, the child abuse, spousal abuse, animal abuse, runaway crime and violence. And sadly, demonstrated by these mass murders perpetrated for no other reason than narcissism.

America has been a great nation. We've had bad leaders and good leaders but they were not the reason for our greatness. The greatness of our society was based on the people. Until we turn things around and return to the moral and establishment values of the past, we will remain sick and these mass murders will continue.

Raymond Cowan


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