[EDITORIALS]A social safety net is vitalWe are overwhelmed by the shocking case of a mother who threw herself and her three children to their death from an apartment building. What made the mother kill the children as they cried and begged for life? The housewife reportedly suffered from extreme financial hardship after her husband lost his job three years ago. With increasing credit card debt, she seems to have chosen the extreme action of taking the lives of her own children in order to escape from the destitution that forced her to borrow tens of thousands of won from friends and neighbors to pay for the children’s medical bills.
The tragic deaths show a vivid picture of the predicament that the extremely poor of our society experience. Our society lacks the social safety net and welfare system for the destitute that would be expected of the world’s 12th largest trading country. If a minimal rescue system existed for those enduring a personal crisis such as job loss, comparable to the food stamp program in the United States, we could have prevented this tragedy. We should lament and be ashamed of our lack of social security.
If there were a system through which the struggling housewife could obtain the necessary help, the three young souls could be riding bicycles in the playground as they did just hours before their deaths. In this tough time, what we need most is care and love for the less privileged. Most of all, the government and politicians need to devise a system in which even the extremely poor who face a life-threatening financial crisis could maintain a minimum standard of living. But we can only see the politicians spending days and nights arguing about starting a new party, neglecting society’s desperate calls.
No parent has the right to determine the fate of his or her children. The mother’s ethics and logic in taking the lives of her children are just wrong. Children are not possessions of their parents, but independent individuals with characters and the right to carve out their own futures. As a society, we must put our efforts together to change the distorted concept of some parents who think they can change the destiny of their children.