Many of us will remember when on August 10, 2018 Richard Russell, a Horizon ground-crew worker, stole an airplane from Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle and took it for a wild 75-minute flight before crashing into the woods on sparsely populated Ketron Island.
‘A few screws loose’ Seattle pilot radios to the control tower, “I’ve got a lot of people that care about me. It’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this. I would like to apologize to each and every one of them, just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess. Never realized it until just now.”
Who was Richard Russell? We are told he was known as “Beebo” by family and friends. In his youth he seemed to be a normal individual. He was a ‘star athlete’ running track and wrestling at Wasilla High School in Alaska. Russell was active in his local community, serving as a leader at Young Life, a Christian youth ministry. “He was very, very friendly, automatically willing to bring everyone in,” Hannah Holmes, who also participates in Young Life, told The Seattle Times. “A lot of the people he was helping were troubled kids.” Family friend Mike Matthews read a statement from Russell’s family stating that said the incident was “a complete shock” to them. “He was a faithful husband, a loving son and a good friend, he was loved by everyone, he was kind and gentle”.
Let’s take a moment and ask ourselves, what is going wrong in our society today? Outwardly, Richard seemed to be a normal person, yet something deep inside was troubling him, right to the day he chose to take his life. This is not an isolated situation,
here are other examples: We don’t want to simply discuss today’s issues, we want to understand and get to the heart of what we are facing. Could this mean we have yet to learn how understand each other on a deeper level?
Family’s Breaking up: Every 13 seconds, a divorce takes place in America. Fifty percent of children born to married parents will experience the breakup of their parents marriage before their 18th birthday. Sixty percent will see the breakup of a second marriage and 73% with the third marriage. Children are growing up in America living with an unmarried parent has more than doubled since 1968, jumping from 13% to 32% in 2017.
Suicide: We find more people committing suicide at an alarming rate. Our Young University students are committing suicide. The UK Office of National Statistics figures report 95 recorded university student suicides for the 12 month period up to July 2017. Our Veterans and Active Duty Service Members are ending their lives at an alarming rate of 20.6 suicides every day.
Bullying: Bullying can take on many forms, generally they include physical, verbal, social and cyber bullying. All are emotionally and psychologically damaging. Bullying is on the rise In America. thirty-three percent of students, or one in three, reported being bullied in the 2017-18 school year — up from just over one in four two years ago. Maybe it’s time to stop and listen.
Mass Shooting: From 1916 – 1966 there were 25 mass shootings reported. From 1966-2016 there were 159 mass shootings taking the lives of 1,107 people. The places are different, the numbers keep changing, and yet there seems to be no answer to the question. What is it that motivates us to want to keep killing innocent people?
These are only a few of the major cracks in today’s society. We have often asked ourselves, “How can this be? We live in America, a prosperous democratic nation, yet we are faced with this social upheaval”. We all share in part with the challenges we face today. Some of us may have been victims, some of us bystanders, others of us neighbors or even educators. We all have something to contribute. “Why is this happening, what lies at the heart of our changing society?”