Thursday, October 19, 2006

What if....

I caught a chilling bit of an interview on educational TV last night. The interviewee worked for the Secret Service at the time of President Kennedy’s assassination. He recently wrote a book weighing in on what actually happened on that day in Texas. He was involved in the governments original investigation of the event. Not only that, but he was in charge of guarding Lee Harvey Oswald’s Russian-born wife, Marina, when she testified before the Warren Commission.

This secret service agent stated that Oswald’s wife was kind to him and that he liked her “well enough.” But, he said that he never cared to be around Oswald’s mother. He described her as being “cold”.

Looking back on it, this agent believes that Oswald’s early home life set him up to have violent tendencies. He equates many of Oswald’s personality traits with the patterns seen today in children who commit school shootings. He also compared Oswald’s profile to that of John Hinckley, Jr.., who attempted to assassinate President Regan in 1980.

This is the part that chilled me: The agent said he came to know Oswald’s brother well. Oswald’s brother was a successful and likeable husband, father, and businessman in Texas. Oswald’s brother was well-adjusted and showed none of the violent or unstable traits that Oswald did.

So, why the difference between the two brothers? In this secret servant agent’s mind, it was because Oswald’s brother was put up for adoption as an infant. He received more affection and attention from his adoptive parents than Oswald did from the brothers’ birth parents.

I share this not to place blame on Oswald’s mother for the fact that her son shot President Kennedy. Obviously, I have never met her and it is not my intention to judge her or to criticize her. I don’t know what challenges she faced in her own life. Besides, Oswald was an adult at the time of the assassination and was responsible for his own actions.

But, I was saddened by the thought that many children don’t get the attention from their parents that they need. And, this secret servant agent sees this as a factor that tips many children toward the horrific acts of violence that tear at our society.

If Oswald's problems did arise because he was starved for attention and affection, it is possible that he might have taken another path in life if another adult had shown an interest in him? Perhaps, God, in his love and providence, has worked through willing hearts to avert other, similar tragedies. I have heard many people say that when their own immediate family was having a hard time, an aunt or a neighbor or a Sunday school teacher provided them with needed love and guidance. Some people are Christians today because a kind neighbor once took them to Bible classes.

What if we all reached out to children in our communities who could be starving for parental attention? What if we invited a lonely child to eat a meal with us now and again (with permission from that child's parents, of course). What if we included a neighborhood child in a family devotional or a family game night? What if we took a plate of hot cookies out to preteens who are hanging around the yard of a home where the mother is absent? Who knows how invaluable such small acts of kindness might be to the world.


Mississippi Girl said...

WOW! Never knew that. So sad... does make one wonder doesn't it?
Great post.
Jennifer R.

Elizabeth said...

Yes, it does make you think. It is sad. But, I like ot think we can make a difference.

Thanks for posting!