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With far too many of our Black children not making it out of their teens because of being gunned downed throughout our fair City, the above title makes for an interesting enigma. So, what do I mean by “Elderly Children”? In a seemingly otherworldly twist of irony, these same children who have been and are being slaughtered in the streets of the City of Angels (or, is it Demons?) may yet live again. (See my previous four-part series, “What Happens When We Die?”) And, in living again, they may gain the ability to actually defy the aging process itself. More about that in a moment.
Dishearteningly, our children are “elderly” too in that because they’re seeing their friends and relatives murdered in cold blood in local neighborhoods, they’ve become jaded; and that at a young, tender age. They’re in fact, already, “old souls.” In some extreme cases, they’re like zombies with that spine-chilling faraway look in their eyes. This is one aspect of crime’s impact on our surviving youth that is often overlooked. Death has ravaged us. (One international magazine quotes The New York Times as saying that in just the past six years “nearly 100,000 people...have been murdered in the United States”!)
Now, as far as young people defying the aging process is concerned, let it be known that this notion is not the stuff of science fiction. In fact, science is seduced by prospect. Many are fascinated to learn that the process of aging is a disease unto itself; and that the potential of coming up with a cure for what are called “Accelerated Aging Diseases” is ripe with possibilities. Perhaps the best-known of these little-known diseases is progeria (Greek, “old age”). Have you ever seen or heard of nine-, ten-, or eleven-year-old children looking like elderly people? They probably had progeria.
“As newborns,” says the National Institutes of Health, “children with progeria usually appear normal. However, within a year, their growth rate slows and they soon are much shorter and weigh much less than others their age. While possessing normal intelligence, affected children develop a distinctive appearance characterized by baldness, aged-looking skin, a pinched nose, and a small face and jaw relative to head size. They also often suffer from symptoms typically seen in much older people: stiffness of joints, hip dislocations and severe, progressive cardiovascular disease.”
Then there’s Cockayne Syndrome. This disease is “characterized by growth failure, impaired development of the nervous system, abnormal sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity), and premature aging.” Sadly, that’s not all. “Hearing loss and eye abnormalities (pigmentary retinopathy) are other common features, but problems with any or all of the internal organs are possible.” Finally, there’s Werner Syndrome. “Its most recognizable characteristic is premature aging.”
The chance of the Sacred Cow of Science curing these elderly children by reversing the aging process is about as likely as the Long Arm of the Law putting a complete stop to gang violence. But just as honest, hardworking police officials endeavor to come up with new ways to fight crime, science constantly explores new ways to extend human life, or even resuscitate it. Cryonics is one remarkable effort to that end. This field of science has been explained as “the low temperature preservation of humans and animals in a damaged state with the intention of future revival.” If only they could put a freeze on crime. Though the genre sounds promising, the discipline is not without its detractors:
“Cryonics uses information from many fields, including cryobiology, to reduce damage during preservation and measure what preservation is achieved. However no human has ever been revived from cryopreservation by cryonics, and proposed methods for revival are based on speculation concerning capabilities of future technology. Therefore cryonics is viewed with skepticism by most scientists and medical doctors today, although there are some scientists involved in cryonics.” Yes, certain scientists pooh-pooh on the Sacred Cow’s attempt to tamper with immortality. Churchgoers feel that such is the purview of God exclusively.
Interestingly, thousands of years ago, the Bible predicted what the average life expectancy would be despite advances made in modern medicine. “We live to be about 70,” says Bible writer Moses. “Or we may live to be 80, if we stay healthy. But all that time is filled with trouble and sorrow. The years quickly pass, and we are gone.” (Ps. 90:10; New International Reader’s Version) But, as if written specifically as a direct affront to progeria, Cockayne and Werner’s Syndromes, prophet Isaiah predicted that “A person who lives a hundred years will be called young” (Isaiah 65:20; NCV) “His flesh,” Moses continues, “shall be fresher than a child’s; he shall return to the days of his youth.” (Job 33:25; 21st Century King James Version)
This concept should not be beyond comprehension. The Latin word juvenis, from which we get the English word “juvenile,” simply means “young.” Excitingly, to “rejuvenate” actually means to “make young or youthful again” according to Webster’s. Disconcertingly, we all too often associate juvenis with “juvenile delinquency,” defined as “conduct by a juvenile characterized by antisocial behavior that is beyond parental control and therefore subject to legal action.” Sounds familiar?
Actually juvenile delinquency in the gang culture is as old as the Bible itself. Forty-two gang members, “maturing and accountable boys” as one translation puts it, “harassed” a servant of God and paid for it with their lives. (2 Kings 2:23-25; Amplified Bible; Holman Christian Standard Bible) “God is not to be mocked!” modern-day Christian parents will tell you. “You reap what you sow!” (Galatians 6:7) Whatever the case, it would appear that divine intervention is needed on some level to stop the slaughter of our youth.
There are so many young African American males being murdered that their families jockey for funeral date-slot positions. The mortuary business is an increasingly lucrative one. Not a criticism. Just a statement of fact. A buddy of mine lost his second son-in-law to gun violence. Sean Marquand Jones was shot in the back as he pumped gas. I went to his funeral last Friday. I’m told he was number three in line for funeral preparation until Jamiel Shaw was murdered, after which Sean was allegedly bumped to number 13. After some discussion the situation was rectified, and the matter was worked out to the satisfaction of all parties involved.
Happily, all parties will be satisfied if what prophet Micah says comes true. He writes: “They’ll trade in their swords for shovels, their spears for rakes and hoes. Nations will quit fighting each other; quit learning how to kill one another. Each man will sit under his own shade tree; each woman in safety will tend her own garden. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so, and he means what he says.” (Micah 4:3, 4; The Message Bible) It really will be a beautiful day in the neighborhood, Mr. Rogers. A lovely day in our neighborhood, Senor Rodriquez. A wonderful day indeed Brother Roscoe. Amen.
Dr. Firpo Carr n can be reached at 800.501.2713 or