Just some observations that probably don’t need to be made


I want to preface this by saying I am of course sickened and horrified by the shooting in Arizona yesterday, as are most people in this country. But I have to say it gave rise to some curious ponderings.

I first heard the news on Twitter yesterday, a cryptic tweet from someone who said his prayers were with the victims in Arizona. So naturally I checked my e-mail for news alerts from CNN and started getting details on the story. Huge news. Huge story. It nearly brought Twitter down, the constant retweeting of updates, bits of news (both valid and later found to be invalid), info about the suspected shooter, and on and on. As more trickled out and word came of the death of the nine-year-old girl, the person whose tweet had first told me something bad had happened made another comment. The girl who died was the same age as one of his own children. And then I did something I probably shouldn’t have. I responded and said children die violently all around the world every day. We just usually don’t have to see it.

And that’s the crux of it. We are so intensely horrified by what happened in our country yesterday because it happened to one of us. Because it was a random, unexpected event in a place where people normally consider themselves ‘safe.’ But it is not an anomalous incident in the broader world. People, young and old, die violently even here in this country every single day. And when those things do happen to make the news, as they seldom seem to anymore, we either don’t even register it, or we somehow make excuses for it happening in ‘that part of the world.’ We are not sickened. We are not horrified. We shrug (if we even bother to do that) and go on with our lives. We expect it there, not here.

But it is happening here, too. Here’s one example: A fourteen-year-old boy in Los Angeles was gunned down while riding his bicycle. Oh, we think, but it was probably gang-related. Why is that any less deserving of our anger and sorrow and sympathy? To an extent it’s a survival mechanism for us, we can’t be overwhelmed with every tragedy or we wouldn’t be able to function. I don’t know, it’s just all very strange how we seem to have reached a place where some people matter, and some people don’t.

Advertisements

21 thoughts on “Just some observations that probably don’t need to be made

  1. My husband just mention this same thing about the Arizona event a few hours ago. He like to keep up with worldly events. It is always sad when someone die at any age especially when it is cruel, unnecessary, and not a form of nature.

    Why do you think you should not said this. “I responded and said children die violently all around the world every day. We just usually don’t have to see it.” DD this is the truth!

    Like

  2. I know, but after I said it I felt like it came across wrong, like I was minimizing what had happened, and giving the person a cyber-slap to say ‘get over yourself.’ It just seemed kind of mean at the time.

    Like

    1. Ah okay I see what you mean but if it count it did not came across like that to me. It was pure honesty. In my opinion you was only relating another incident to show that this is not new. I am sure the guy felt sad but understood what you were trying to say.
      I am going to open my hug piggy bank and give you and the guy a virtual hug. I wish I had more and I could give it to others too.

      Like

    1. Before I click the link I said to myself yeah and look like him too. You could rub my belly and make a wish, lol. When I read the link my heat melted. Thank you so much. This is a great compliment for the new year. Believe me I am no angel it is just my nature to care and sometime over concern, but thank you so much!

      Like

  3. Fang and I were glued to the TV news after we heard about it, and the thready coverage confirmed my belief that one of the biggest probs with the way news is disseminated in these times is that there’s so much band width, and so few people actually thinking critically and providing useful information (imo that’s probably why FOX news had more to say than anybody – over there they have raised the failure to think critically to the level of a sacrament: some kind of proof that one is a “straight shooter” and not a pencil-necked elitist who insists on pesky things like fact-checking.) As a result, when people get wind of something as upsetting as the assassination attempt on Rep.Giffords and the murder/assault on all those other poor folks, they tend to grasp at straws – repeating half truths, twittering whatever comes into their heads, trying to link incomplete information (“geez, some poor little 9-y.o. kid died and I don’t know anything about her”) with some scrap of info that is, in fact complete (“I have a kid that age”) but not exactly relevant (” I wonder if they would have been friends. I wonder if I can protect my child from sh!t like this”)

    None of us have much control over which of the ongoing, numerous tragedies covered by various news outlets gains traction, and it’s hard to explain why some hit you harder than others. I know how goodhearted and compassionate you are, DD,
    and your response to that Twitter associate was as valid as his response to the news. I’m going to join startingover in opening up my hug bank and shooting out white light to anybody who needs it right now, in view of these disturbing events.

    Like

  4. I totally understand where he was coming from with his comment. When I was in CA during the SF quake of ’89 (the so-called World Series Quake) when the bridges collapsed and reports came out of a child stranded in a car on the Nimitz Freeway, trapped for days with his dead mother, stroking her cheek to try to wake her up… well, you can tell all these years later it made a monumental impact on me. My own kids were quite young at the time, and of course it flashed in my mind that could have been my own family. My office manager at the time was kind of baffled by my reaction, and I thought maybe it hit me harder because I had children, and she didn’t (she was about 25 or so). Maybe it was just poor timing on my part with my comment, or maybe I’ve just seen too much to get that swept up in any one tragedy anymore.

    Like

    1. Oh I dunno about that – remember how rattled you were when poor Heath Ledger died? Don’t tell me that was’t a little bit tinged with the fact that he was a handsome young man, more or less a contemporary of your sons, Digital Mom.

      Like

  5. Busted! Yeah, I forgot about that. My heart broke when Leslie Nielsen died, too. I guess you pwn’d me on that one 😉

    I’m still kind of trying to sort out this whole phenomenon of why certain deaths bother us and others don’t. I hope I haven’t given the impression that I think it’s wrong in any way to be moved by someone’s death. For some reason this incident just got me thinking about why we are touched by some and not others. I guess it’s a personal thing.

    Like

    1. The human heart is a mysterious thing. The closest guess I can make is that we are most touched by events that remind of of something we were trying NOT to think about, OR that we didn’t realize we were worried about.

      Like

  6. DD and MaryJ,

    I think your last two comments are right-on. I also wonder why sometimes I am damn near crying by what I see on the news, and other times, I just sigh about how horrible and evil people can be and flick the channel.

    But I do think it comes down to a few different things: some tragedies you relate to more because you really feel it could have been you or someone you love. And others just seem more distant. It’s not that you (speaking generally) don’t care, but if you fell to pieces every time, you would lose all sense of hope for the world and just totally lose it.

    Like

  7. I made the same observation after 9/11 and yes, it caused some “waves” 🙂 It’s not to make any _less_ of the awful event in question, just to draw attention to the fact that eg. hundreds of people – including children – die on the streets of the very city “you” live in every year, and yet that doesn’t warrant even an ounce of concern on “your” part. It’s easy to be horrified and act like you care when there’s no expectation for “you” to do anything to improve the situation.

    It’s partly because we’re all a) so completely saturated by media every day that it takes something really shocking to get through all the layers of cynicism and protection-from-the-horror we’ve built up, and b) human nature. Those outside our “monkeysphere” are automatically not as important.

    I cope by simply not exposing myself to news media of any sort. The little bit that filters through courtesy of FB statuses and the gossips at work fills me with enough to fill rage and despair, thanks. My compassion is finite, and then I shut down completel. A buddha I am not. Sigh.

    Like

    1. None of us are Buddha 🙂 I tend to tune most of it out, too, or I’d never get out of bed in the morning. My world has become smaller and smaller over the years, I venture out less and less, and watch almost no tv even. I get most of my news on the interwebs, and select the things I like to take part in.

      Like

  8. Also, I grew up in an environment where brutal, violent murders, rapes, home invasions, car-kackings etc. were a daily occurrence, so I learned to build a pretty high wall to protect myself from the reality of how shitty human beings can be to each other.

    Like

Comments are closed.