Sunday, January 20, 2008

Shakia West

Note: Post rated PG for mild use of language and strong use of opinion.

I don't know this young lady. More than likely neither do you. But what happened to her should not happen to anyone, anywhere. She is a 15 year old girl from West Philadelphia who was brutally attacked last Monday by 6-10 other girls with a box opener. I heard about Miss West on my drive this morning as I was flipping through the radio stations. A local talk show forum was speaking about her. Now this was the first I heard about this heinous attack because it is not my habit to listen to the news. It severely depresses me to do so. Accuse me of living with my head in the sand, but that is what helps keep me sane. But for some reason I had to hear this. When I did learn about this attack I was horrified! This girl was at the bus stop with a friend when a Dodge charger pulled up and apparently ten girls ages 14-17 attacked Shakia's friend. When Shakia tried to jump in and help she was rewarded with a trip to Children's Hospital and 114 stitches, 60 of which were to sew her nose back on. No one seems to know why the attack occurred, some are saying it was jealousy. The worse part about this was they were driven there by the Mother of one of the attackers! Can you imagine, a mother drove her child and her friends to attack someone else's child?

Is this is what our society is degenerating to?

Don't give me the plethera of supposed excuses as to why this happened. Poverty, music, the media don't help but there just aren't any real excuses. Even animals rarely attack in this way, let alone human beings.

Yes, I know this happens all the time, but for some reason I feel so struck by this young lady. Younger and younger they seem to be getting. Parents really don't seem to care about, let alone love their children. Yes, I blame the parents. What are they doing? Obviously not raising their children! Obviously not giving a crap about what they are doing! Apparently they are just arming them with a variety of weapons.

"Here honey, here's a box opener. Go kick that girl's ass!"

"Here sweetheart, here's a bomb. Go blow up some Jews."

"Here darling, listen to the poison spewing from my heart and mouth and hate that person who happens to be different than you."

Am I exaggerating? I wish I was. I wish I was just ranting right now, but even though I do not habitually read or listen to the news, the fact is this is happening at every moment. Talk about going to hell in a hand basket! What are we supposed to do? What is going to make tomorrow different? How are those of us who truly love our children, who really try to live a mesirat nefesh (self sacrificing) lifestyle, going to do to make the world a better place for them?

I know there has to be hope. I have to. I try hard to hold on tight to Hashem. I try hard to hold tight to His Torah. I try to hold tight to Rebbe Nachman's words, "It is forbidden to give up hope." LM II:78, but it is really dark out there sometimes.

Prayer is obviously the key. Prayer is our strongest weapon. But along with our prayers, we also need to act. Maybe I cannot stage a peaceful demonstration, it probably would not make a difference anyway. But I can live the life I believe in. I can try at least to do so. I can be kind and love my neighbor as myself. I can speak life to my children and to those around me.

I can surely do more than what I am doing and maybe, just maybe that will help. Acting as if, what I do, does matter. That the energy I send, does matter. Keeping my thoughts close to Hashem, the source of all light. Maybe that will shed more light in this dark world and then finally bring the light of Moschiach. Ultimately it really is up to us. See, Moshe Rabbienu could not drag us out of Egypt, we had to get up and leave. And you know what, we still do.

Special prayers and blessings for Miss Shekia West. Your suffering is horrible, but somehow, in some way, good eventually comes from all things. You have reminded me to draw closer to our Creator. May this suffering become a strength to you. May G-d bless you.

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