As a child in the sixties, my innocence and the innocence of the nation, was shattered by three assassinations, one, years before the others, the others, just several months apart.
My generation could no longer hope for the clichéd, happy resolution at the end of a story. Our world, once a pocket of predictability, had changed. It was no longer a blasé place with innocuous consequences. The evil characters and scary plot twists in films had migrated from the movie screens to our backyards.
Fantasy and reality had synthesized into one glaring truth. Society was damaged. Evil had infiltrated our communities; our futures determined by uncontrollable forces, our lives affected by unnecessary wars that benefited corporations and by violent sociopaths with their fingers on the triggers.
The blood that had spilled from our larger than life heroes, and lesser unknown heroes of the Vietnam War, spilled into our national consciousness and created a generation of lost innocents, once content with the bland, black and white stories of suburbia portrayed in the TV show, Leave it to Beaver, and the Cleaver family, the perfect American family with uncomplicated lives.
The colorless, black and white images of the fifties gave way to blood-stained Technicolor images of the sixties and seventies, of students murdered on college campuses and soldiers killed in the Vietnam War.
From Vietnam to Kent State to Jackson State, my generation was traumatized by indiscriminate shootings of, and by, our protectors, and the victims who fell from the force of their guns. On the ground, spurting blood, a generation of innocent lost to senseless violence.
For my generation, many of the tragedies we witnessed on TV were a result of social change in society, with the exception of the deaths of our three larger than life heroes, whose murders we watched on TV sets in our living rooms, footage replayed night-after-night in prime-time.
This generation of children today, unlike my generation, never had the luxury of black and white simplicity. They never had the peaceful pause of silence before the next raging storm. Their innocence was taken from them soon after they were born by the violent images they see on TV, perpetuated by sociopaths who emerge from the shadows with their fingers on the triggers.
The murderers of innocence should heed the words projected on the wall of the Brooklyn Academy of Music.