[EDITORIALS]How many more must die?The frozen remains of two children thrown into the icy water of the Han river by their father is a sad reflection on our modern society. The crime should not be seen merely as a desperate act of a depressed father in his early 20s, suffering under the burden of his heavy debts. We have in fact witnessed a horrific slice of how we live. The words of repentance spoken by the father and his wish for the children’s happiness in heaven were utterances from the shadows of an empty life.
This father’s act reflects the reality of the domestic economy for working-class people, which can be condensed into a youth unemployment rate of around 10 percent, household debt of above 400 trillion won ($336 billion) and the 3.6 million delinquent debtors on the blacklist of the Korea Federation of Banks.
In the second half of this year, there have been 12 cases of parents pressed by economic difficulties into murdering their children or committing murder-suicide. In these cases, 39 persons, including 23 children, have died. These terrible crimes are often rooted in the distorted perception of some adults that do not recognize their children as independent personalities but regard them instead as their possessions. However, in a way, all of us are responsible for these deaths, because we are a community. The nation’s welfare measures should protect such families.
But where is our nation headed? The government, which should support the people, has long since lost its way. Another problem is the increasing number of young people having babies though ignorance of the role of parents and family. In this case, a thoughtless “child” allowed two children to be born. Also, the nation’s education of children at home is failing to develop them as responsible members of society. Schools and civic and religious groups should actively offer guidance to our youth.
The importance of providing families in temporary difficulties because of job loss with a social safety net cannot be overstated. The government should expand provision for families with a basic livelihood and make the welfare system more efficient.