|photo from strangechemistrybooks.com|
I recently began reading The Hunger Games against my better judgement. I say against my better judgement because frankly, the whole concept of the story scares the hell out of me. And after posting my doubts on Facebook, I learned that it scares the hell out of most people.
It's not just the killing of kids by other kids that disturbs me. Let's be real here: that happens on a daily basis in our society. Between gang violence, disturbed teenagers with a vendetta against the world, and misguided gradeschoolers playing out something they have seen on television, children die daily at the hands of other children. It's just that it's not "government enforced."
But who's to say that it couldn't be someday?
I have to admit that since college, I have had frightening thoughts about what would happen if there were a nuclear war or any kind of war fought on American soil. The widespread panic, the desperation, the 'looking-out-for-number-one' mentality are more than I can bear to think about.
And especially now, as talk of U.S. oil supply reserves peaking, terrorists becoming ever more brazen, and supposed rapture coming by the end of the calendar year, I can honestly see a world developing like the one Collins describes in her book. People starving and desperate, willing to do anything for their family's or their own survival. A government so panicked and out of ideas and resources that they use the only power at their disposal to control rebelling masses: fear and intimidation.
More than the thought that this could happen in our country, is the thought that it is happening in other countries. Minute-by-minute, women and children in developing countries are starving, beaten, killed, raped, tortured, and forced into slavery, war, and sexual trafficking - by their own governments.
I tend not to watch movies or read books about the Holocaust, 9/11, war, or even the passion of Christ because these things are so horribly, unspeakably real. Now that I am a mother, I fear so many scenarios, but I force them out of my mind to avoid having to take an entire bottle of Xanax every day. I'm not sure that continuing to read The Hunger Games is such a great idea for me. But I am on the third chapter, and it's kind of like a bad car accident: even though I'm afraid I might see something horrible, I can't look away.
When I was about 10 or so, the original Jaws was on television. My parents wouldn't let me watch it because they knew I would have nightmares. And rightly so, because I went to the basement, watched it anyway, and had a nightmare that 32 years later is still vivid in my mind. I'm wondering if The Hunger Games will give me nightmares.
I'm wondering if I could live in a world where I would have to fight for my survival and that of my family. If feeding my children would trump my fear of torture or death. If I possess the strength and the innate common sense and smarts to do what I deem necessary to secure our most basic needs. To ensure our very survival.
Or worse yet, could I watch my sons fight for survival?
I pray every day in thanksgiving that I live in America. I also pray for the common sense and decency of my fellow human beings and for the care and concern of our beautiful earth.
Now I think I will add a new prayer: that the odds will always be in our favor.
Have you read The Hunger Games series? Does it scare the crap out of you, too?