The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Garbage in



Horrible, unthinkable, unfathomable events are taking place all across our nation. Our hearts are breaking for the families affected. How can these things happen? What could trigger such evil? Some are jumping to the conclusion that we need stricter laws relating to guns, but when are we going to stop blaming the weapon of choice and start looking at the one who is holding the weapon. What would possess any human being to act in such a way?

I think the big question here is, “What are we putting into young people today that might start them on a path to something like this?” The answer is not a simple one and not even one answer by itself. We need to look at what effects the human life.

First of all, physical and mental health play a role here. Fifty years ago, people did not fill their bodies with the amount of unhealthy foods as they do now, on average. Juvenile diabetes, childhood cancer, autism, celiac and so many other diseases were not running rampant through this nation half a century ago. Now so many of our citizens eat processed foods with ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, aspartame (or whatever they call themselves now to try to hide their bad reputation) and MSG that have helped to cause an epidemic in this country where our bodies cannot function the way they were designed to. Pesticides and herbicides are used seven times more often in a year on average than 25 years ago. Additives, preservatives and food coloring help to break down the body’s systems including the immune system. And in a nation that pushes “drug free” in the schools, every time a child gets a cough or has another physical or mental challenge of any kind, no matter how minor, it seems like we are being encouraged to run to a physician who will prescribe medication, drugs, for our children. Anti means against. Antibiotics kill the bad and the good bacteria. Many immunizations include questionable ingredients as well. Garbage in.

We also need to look at what we are feeding our children’s minds through books, games, movies, television and music. If they are entertained by death and evil, what sort of conscience can we expect from them? Children are being encouraged to read books like “The Hunger Games” where young people are killing each other. There are countless video games where a person is aiming a weapon at a human figure on the screen and the ultimate goal is to kill that image. It’s not just that there are no penalties, but the goal of the “game” is to end the life of another. Our young people are becoming numb to the feelings of remorse, responsibility and consequences and do not have a sense of respect for life. What type of values are they forming? Movies, television and music can be just as dangerous as our youth spend on average more time plugged into some form of electronic entertainment a day than an adult spends at the office working. What is the message that they are inundating themselves with? Is it to be kind and respectful of those around them? That message doesn’t seem to be getting through. Garbage in.

As I was in shock and trying to wrap my mind around a recent incident, two of our young children were in the living room with a guest playing a game on their cell phone. I think it is one of the phones they call “smart.” When I approached them, I saw an image of a scantily clad woman lying across the screen! Then it immediately jumped to the screen of a popular gambling/slot machine type game. The photo my children saw was the prize for a good spin. What message are my children receiving here? My three year old daughter sees that being almost naked in front of others you don’t even know must be OK. My six year old son sees that seeing an almost naked woman that you do not even know, have no relationship with and are not committed to is a reward – something to be looked forward to. Neither one is learning the respect for others and I just wonder how many young men will see this type of thing and end up in a struggle with pornography later in life. I don’t know what is more disturbing to me, the fact that my young children have access to things like gambling and borderline/”soft” porn or that the person sitting with them didn’t think it was that big of a deal because “it’s just a game!” Garbage in.

Is it any surprise that the next generation is headed the way they are going? When your mind and your body are being bombarded with unhealthy options day in and day out, what else can we expect? Garbage in, garbage out. We cannot expect a different result until we start putting different fuel into the engines of our youth. Something drastic needs to happen to stop the insanity and turn this nation back to something we can truly be proud of. Make a choice, take a stand, do the right thing. Yes, it will make a difference – no matter how big or small your action is, remember the butterfly effect. The ripples of your words, choices and actions will affect the world around you now and for generations to come. Good or bad. Choose wisely.

Martina Drewes,



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