?

Log in

No account? Create an account
A person's a person no matter how small - as long as he comes from around here - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

A person's a person no matter how small - as long as he comes from around here [Apr. 18th, 2007|10:07 am]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |cynicalcynical]

Monday: Nutjob guns down 32 people at Virginia Tech.

LJ: Oh, the humanity!!!!

Wednesday: Nutjobs set off four bombs in Baghdad, killing 127 people

LJ: Yawn!

Not a single mention in my friends page.

Because, honestly, people don't really care about other people. If someone was actually concerned about the families now bereft with grief, 127 deaths in Baghdad would cause the same emotional upheaval.

But it doesn't. Virginia Tech actually shocked and appalled us because we can interpose our lives on those people. We can feel empathy. They tread college campuses, just like us. They sat in classrooms, just like us. They speak English, just like us.

They are more valuable human beings to us.

It's a natural impulse - we like what we know. But when I hear about people who cannot function because of this horrible tragedy of complete strangers, I find it wryly amusing that a horrible tragedy of complete strangers in another country has no effect on them whatsoever.
LinkReply

Comments:
Page 1 of 4
<<[1] [2] [3] [4] >>
From: indigolands
2007-04-18 02:22 pm (UTC)
I am with you completely on this.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: corwinok
2007-04-18 02:22 pm (UTC)
You certainly hit the nail on the head with that one.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: bart_calendar
2007-04-18 02:24 pm (UTC)
It also gets more of a reaction because it's more unusual. I think the general zeitgeist is that Iraq is completely screwed up and that people are getting blown up/shot/killed every day out there, so one more set of bombs doesn't surprise us or peak our interest. We've become numb to it and it's not really "news" anymore.

Yet, we see our universities as safe and while school shootings have happened before they are few and far between - and usually happen at high schools, not colleges, so it's far more shocking to our senses.

It's not that we don't care about other people, it's that we are more interested in the unexpected than the expected.

(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-04-18 02:34 pm (UTC)
Nope. Dozens of people died in a tsunami in the Solomon Islands just a month ago, and it didn't even register. It took hundreds of thousands dying in the Indonesia region for people to notice. But if it had happened in Florida, you can bet there would be posts.

Part of it is the shock factor, but that's not all of it.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
[User Picture]From: trinity3x
2007-04-18 02:26 pm (UTC)
This has been my stance since the tragedy, but I'm biased. Thank you for bringing it to light so eloquently.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lyssabard
2007-04-18 02:26 pm (UTC)
With you.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: caudelac
2007-04-18 02:31 pm (UTC)
oooooooooh... Utena!

/inappropriate fangirlism.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: caudelac
2007-04-18 02:30 pm (UTC)
Yep.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kibbles
2007-04-18 02:33 pm (UTC)
I will say that the hand wringing and wailing that people did after 9/11, people with NO CONNECTION TO IT, drove me nuts. It actually angered me. It was as if they enjoyed the attention, the mourning. It was so PUBLIC, and it in a way made it harder to cope with.

You know I still get questions from strangers about where did I live, was I there, etc. And I don't know to give them the simple 'no I wasn't" and leave it at that, or tell them the connections I did have -- my fears are that I will be more fodder for their public mourning -- oh I met this person and she was ok but she lost x, y, z and this that and the other thing happened to her. And I don't want to feed that.

And I am sure this will now happen to any future VT grad -- did you, did you know, did you see, did you hear...
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-04-18 02:38 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the impulse to make oneself part of it really bugs me. Be grateful that you aren't!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: fey_touched
2007-04-18 02:34 pm (UTC)
I don't know. I had a conversation with two of my co-workers yesterday about how we felt sad, but not totally grief-stricken by the VT shootings. We each reflected that perhaps it is because we have become inured to these types of events because we hear about them so often on the news, especially in news about Iraq. Thirty-two people shot is a tragedy. But it is a tragedy we've heard about in a daily basis, reported to us in almost a passing way. "In other news, 37 people were killed in a roadside bombing of a bus in a Baghdad market. Now let's give you an update on Britney Spears."

Of course, this points to something even more unfortunate: my coworkers and I are becoming blase about human tragedy no matter how close or removed it is from us. This is going to keep me up tonight.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-04-18 03:20 pm (UTC)
It's not so much whether you feel or don't feel the depth of the tragedy - certainly we all have a higher level of shock from that which is unexpected. It's the artifice of some people who want to clutch the tragedy to their hearts as their own, like they somehow are personally wounded by these deaths, but don't care at all about other tragedies.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kyburg
2007-04-18 02:35 pm (UTC)
Saw that myself - and considering doing the post myself. Take something totally pedestrian in nature - how many people are killed today on the freeways, for example? Would you even know about it?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-04-18 03:24 pm (UTC)
Bread and circuses....
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: greybeta
2007-04-18 02:36 pm (UTC)
Well, to be slightly contrarian I would say there is a slight difference. We've come to rationalize the killings in Iraq as part of a rebellion or religious movement. We can admit it serves some purpose.

The Vtech incident, on the other hand, has no rational explanation other than some dude became irrational, which is a terrifying thing to realize.

Also, color me cynical, but if we were to truly care about each and every death in the world, would we not go insane?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: shawnj
2007-04-18 02:38 pm (UTC)
I was going to make the exact same post today.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kmg_365
2007-04-18 02:38 pm (UTC)
But it doesn't. Virginia Tech actually shocked and appalled us because we can interpose our lives on those people.

Or because it is completely unexpected. At least it is when it happens here.

At Tech (lived there 5 years), any shooting is unexpected...33 deaths + how many wounded? Completely unheard of.

I can understand why people would react differently to a bomb going off in a nation at war. I suppose one could argue that if you're going to shed a tear for one senseless death, you must shed an equal tear for all senseless deaths, but I don't think that is realistic to expect anyone to do that.

I haven't heard about people who can't function because of the tragedy. I've heard people empathise with the parents, families, and friends (I am one of them)...but unable to function? If you didn't personally know one of the victims, that's a bit odd.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-04-18 06:27 pm (UTC)
Where is the sympathy for the families in Iraq?

And yeah, while it is more of a shock, the overreaction is what gets me.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: tevriel
2007-04-18 02:39 pm (UTC)
I guess so. My friendslist didn't really make mention of either event, but most of my friendslist isn't American. It's probably a bad sign that school shootings in America are kind of on a scale for us with bombings in the Middle East - it's happened enough that we think it's sad, and that the relevant country is messed up, but there's not really a lot to say about it.

I don't think we don't care because it's a different country - the first times it happened this country freaked out too, it's just... there's nothing left to say.

But I would generally assume that someone who "cannot function" because of something that happened to a bunch of people they don't know at all is being a bit of a drama queen anyway.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-04-18 06:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks for an "out of country" perspective - it does emphasize that we tend to favor our own, no matter who we are.

(And, yeah, drama queen is definitely the right call.)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: miintikwa
2007-04-18 02:41 pm (UTC)
Having grown up less than an hour from VA Tech, my shock and grief are at the shattering of my home. Where I grew up was a sleepy, idyllic setting. A place where nothing ever happens.

Certainly not a place where some random guy grabs a gun and ruthlessly murders 32 people.

I had this conversation with my best friend, who actually attended VA Tech. It's not about the murders, for us. It's about the fact that we were there. It's supposed to be safe. Baghdad, Iraq is not a place that is safe, to us.

It's like hearing about muggings or gang activity in New York City- ok, yeah. That stuff happens. It doesn't happen in Blacksburg/Roanoke/Salem that often- it would be news, and surprising, in a similar fashion.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-04-18 06:37 pm (UTC)
It's not that you reacted - of course you reacted - it's that people who are a long way from it act like it's a huge impact on them personally, and that they don't care at all when it's not new drama. That's the part that bugs me.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: norda
2007-04-18 02:46 pm (UTC)
Your position and mine are similar, which is why I listed what was weighing on my mind yesterday in the order of world, national, and personal.

I'm peculiar, anyway, since I don't watch or listen to any news programs other than the BBC. It's not perfect, but it's far closer to balanced news than anything broadcast in America.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-04-18 06:39 pm (UTC)
I appreciate the BBC coverage that we do get, though it seems to be polluted with Americanism more and more these days....
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
Page 1 of 4
<<[1] [2] [3] [4] >>