In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 12, 2011 / 7 Shevat, 5771

Victim of her ‘culture’?

By Marybeth Hicks

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If a picture is worth a thousand words, the photographs of 9-year-old Christina Taylor-Green and her alleged killer, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, may speak volumes about American youth culture.

Christina was the third grade victim of the shooting that took place at the Congress on Your Corner event sponsored by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday in Tucson. The image of Christina released to the media is the picture of innocence and wholesomeness - her sweet smile and wide eyes conveying the kind and capable spirit for which she was known.

Christina's friends point to her fun sense of humor and willingness to talk with anyone as traits they will miss at Mesa Verde Elementary School. Recently elected to the student council, she had started to develop an interest in government, which prompted her neighbor and friend Susan Hileman to take Christina to Mrs. Giffords' event.

Born amid fear and foreboding on September 11, 2001, Christina was the picture of possibility and promise. A baseball player who also took ballet lessons, Christina was being raised in a faithful home and recently received her First Communion. By all accounts she exhibited a zest for life that was fed by the love and encouragement of her family and friends.

The portrait of her alleged killer is a stark and scary contrast, indeed.

Mr. Loughner is variously described by friends and acquaintances as a loner, a nihilist and a "pothead." His anti-social behavior, revealing a fairly obvious case of mental illness, is well documented, though he appears not to have been treated.

And while political pundits on the left eagerly attempt to attach Mr. Loughner's motives to right-wing causes and conservative beliefs in a grotesque effort to exploit the Tuscon tragedy for their own purposes, there's virtually no evidence thus far to connect Mr. Loughner to any belief system except "crazy." That is, unless you consider the satanic alter that was found on the patio behind his house.

It's interesting to note that the mainstream media is quick to promote a political explanation for Mr. Loughner's actions, but doesn't seem even remotely curious about other influences that might have inspired his rambling, irrational thoughts and threatening behavior.

So far, only the Rev. Franklin Graham's statement about the Arizona shootings suggests the cultural connection to the dark and disturbing persona that has emerged in Mr. Loughner's profile: "What frightens me is that our country has accepted murder, violence and rape as entertainment which we see portrayed every day on TV, movies and video games [...] If we as a nation are not careful we could see the destruction of the foundation this nation was built upon."

I can't help but wonder if Jared Loughner may have grown into a deranged killer thanks, in part, to a popular culture that feeds not on vitriolic political speech but on a fascination with death, violence and evil. High school friends say Mr. Loughner seemed relatively normal until his teen years, when one friend says he started to obsessively play video games, listen to music on his headphones and generally isolate himself. Others also recount that his headphones were fixtures in his ears.

Studies indicate that constant exposure to violent media desensitizes teens as well as causes increased levels of aggression. While I'm not suggesting a direct causal relationship between Mr. Loughner's media consumption and his actions on Saturday, we can't pretend as a society that it's OK for young people to engage in violent fantasies through video games, Internet pornography and graphic films and music without any consequences to their hearts and souls and ultimately to their mental health.

As long as we're trying to understand the motivation of a twisted 22-year-old, I suggest someone check the playlists on his iPod and take a look at the games in his video collection.

No, violent music and games didn't "cause" his descent into violent and disturbing behavior. But they sure couldn't help.

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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of more than 20 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


© 2009, Marybeth Hicks