The Age of Sensationalism: Uncomfortably Numb

A Letter From The Editor in Chief

Drew C Miller


 

 

Another day, another shooting. The only words that can illustrate the current state of events are tragic, devastating, and most importantly: intolerable. As of Dec. 2, 2015 there have been more mass shootings than the amount of days in the calendar year. Mass media is fixated on finding the motives of the murderers, their alleged full intentions, who they are/were, and what religious and political affiliations propelled them into carrying out such heinous acts against humanity. In regard to the perpetrators killed in their own acts of brutal defiance; the dead can’t speak. In regard to those that were caught and live behind bars, they typically remain silent. As frustrating as it is, we will never fully understand why anyone does anything, ever. They may not even know why they committed such actions themselves. 

The media does not focus on the victims or the families of the victims. Victims including casualties and wounded merely become a statistic in the eye of the media, while the killers become immortalized by a fundamentally negative and overreaching press. Murderers find their mugshots and Facebook profile pics plastered on the pages of major magazine and newspaper outlets, festooning social media newsfeeds and becoming engraved in our collective conscience.  

Upon viewing a population density map of the United States and juxtaposing that to the constantly updated map of shootings provided by shootingtracker.com, a Reddit group, it becomes visually obvious high population density locales are where the vast majority of the incidents occur (see above images). Beyond that, there’s no true connection between the murderous actions.

But that hasn’t stopped the media (and anyone with a Facebook account) from placing the blame on whomever they want to vilify this week. The reality is that any target demographic perceived to be responsible for these shootings is subject to a litany of hastily drawn conclusions. Any argument against a certain alleged ethnicity, religious or political affiliation in holding responsibility for these mass murders becomes fair game. Instead of waiting for the fact to emerge, people are too quick to place the blame on anyone or anything else – liberals, conservatives, ISIS, extremists, mental illness, and access to firearms.

The fact is, as long as there is a densely populated region within the United States, a spike in probability emerges with the dismal outcome of a mass shooting taking place; something the FBI loosely interprets as a shooting where 4 or more are injured, maimed, or killed. However, the shooting death of 1 person is enough to question. The murder of anyone is fundamentally illegitimate.

Beyond the victims, next the most tragic outcome is the numbing of our American collective conscience; we have become desensitized to the constant slaughter of innocent people and the way the media portrays and covers massacres. We have grown to hesitantly accept this mentality; one where we are saddened, sickened, paranoid of, and horrified by such actions being carried out – but don’t have the gumption to do anything about it.

So what solutions are being offered? Politicians, news anchors, political pundits, activists, etcetera, all have varied opinions echoing into the ether from their soapboxes. If guns are then the problem, should there be more or less gun control? We can’t seem to agree on this issue. Do we need a police state? No. Do petty Internet arguments – like this – help anything? Hello, and welcome to the age of sensationalism.  Should we blame cultural differences? Well, if it becomes part of our culture to bash other cultures that we perceive as one that is bashing us for not being their own (culture), do we not become the same thing? Should we as society and the government elect monitor certain ethnic enclaves and races? Race is nothing but a social construct. Ethnicities exist, but the truth is that people carry out these intolerable acts, not one entire ethnicity. In this modern era, I would hope that we live in a society under a government that both refuse to agree with the views and policies of 1940’s; policies that put hundreds of thousands of legal American citizens into internment camps solely based on their heritage.

Should we debate classism? Always. Should we prove guilt? Yes, but we are all guilty of being a part of this machine to some degree. If you turn a blind eye to injustice you become the embodiment of injustice. Is it true that all you need is love? Yes, but explain this concept to those that just had their loved ones ripped from their lives. So should we turn to hate and retaliation? Hate only breeds more hate and more pain. Against whom do we retaliate? Everyone? No. We must look towards ourselves.

This piece isn’t here to offer any personally objective ideas or solutions spewing from my brain at this hour. This is not a call to mobilize. I will not offer any further personal thoughts nor ideas, this is not the time nor the place.

The only thing that I can rationally determine is that the blame and the reasons for the current state of events are as vast as the night sky. The only way to illuminate an impending darkness is through the understanding of one another. The world may be chaos, and the free radicals of evil and misunderstanding are one in the same. A balance must be struck; light and dark should live in balance with one another. All we can do is bolster up one another, understand, and listen to what the world is saying. Most importantly, listen to what each other is saying even in their moments of silence. As cliché and trite as this sounds: live, love, learn, and move onward.

The negative has already happened and to relive these experiences as a victim, relative, or outsider gives power to the act. Bad things will happen again. Good things will too. We need not hate. We need a solution. We need to bind together as a global community in order to find a cure for this cancerous cyst of evil. 

Any thoughts, comments, questions, or concerns can be directed to Twitter at #ccgacrowsnest, our Facebook page, or simply dropping by and talking to us. Thank you for your time. 

Peace be with you, One Love, all that good stuff,