There was a recent article on Yahoo about the best places for children to live in the USA based on things like recreation, schools and safety. If the country of Finland was a part of the USA, it would have rated very high in that article. My kids go to a good school , and there is a good sports club here. They can go around town on their bikes, on the bus or on foot unmolested most times of day.
When it comes to safety, the USA can’t hold a candle to Finland. (One of my American friends said to me, if I put one of my kids on a bus late at night alone where he lived I’d be arrested.) So when I am confronted with stories like that of Jaycee Lee Dugard, any consideration of moving back to my home country is given pause. Ms. Dugard was abducted at age 11 by a man who kept her in his back yard for the next 18 years and fathered two children with her, all with the complicity of his wife. The police finally uncovered the situation this week and the woman and her kids were rescued. Phillip and Nancy Garrido are in jail.
While I am still recovering from that story, I read this morning about a mother in a Starbucks coffee shop in the USA who left her children in a boiling hot car while she stood in line for her drink. Blogger John Shore reported how a woman walked in and threatened to call police and the mother sloughed her off.
But in reality, cruel actions toward children are not a special reserve of the United States. Finland in comparison may be safer, but according to the US State Department children are still abused and trafficked here and some crimes against them may go unreported. I am sure a Google search would uncover child abuse and similar stories like that of Ms. Dugard just about anywhere.
But her story makes you wonder what can make a human being sink so low as the Garridos did. What is it in some people that make them do such evil? I am reminded of the story I once heard of a witness at the trial of Adolph Eichmann, the Nazi murderer of Jews. This witness collapsed on the stand while being questioned. People assumed it was because of his appalling experiences. But he was quoted as saying that after he looked at Eichmann, who was considered a monster, and saw he was a regular man he couldn’t take the idea that an Eichmann could be inside any one of us.
I think those who believe man is basically good in nature should reconsider.