Are you tuned in with the rest of the world, or tuned out?
This is a very important question. Let us take a look at something that happened less than 25 miles from where I live: 17 individuals were killed Wednesday in yet another school shooting. However, did you also know that two weeks prior to that, a firefighter in Dallas, Texas saved a bus from careening off of a bridge while commuting 31 children? Now, how can you know one without the other? When did the question move from “Why is this country so violent?” to “Who is this man who saved 31 children’s lives?”
More importantly, why are we aware of the one based on a hot-button issue (gun control), yet when almost double the amount of those killed were equally saved by a man whose name I cannot even say because the only source of his actions is reported in a webcast? The fact that we know everything about the individual who entered the school with a loaded gun yet do not even know the name of a man who is an acclaimed hero in my eyes, shows all of us – yes, including you – that we are being lied to?
The fact of the matter is, we are violent creatures by nature, and we love to hear about everything going wrong with the world in comparison to the good. This is because the human experience is based around ratings, and I do not just mean that of news channels but also, our own lives. We live by a code of importance and priority, and unfortunately many choose to place importance on the “bad” over the “good.” Every day, something bad happens. I am 99.9 percent sure that between the shooting and today, hundreds (perhaps thousands) died by the hand of murder or homicide…but yet we place such a profound importance on a single school shooting that we forget to look around us.
We forget to realize that there is good, too, but because 78 percent of Americans use the daily news to hear about the latest “happenings” in society or the last thing said by President Trump (probably on Twitter, of which is days away from crashing because of people like him, but moving on), we are forced to abide by what they want us to see. And you guessed it: the more you report bad, the higher your ratings; the more you report the good, the lower the ratings, and I do not know why this is. I just know that human nature has always been fixated on violence, and we seem to love hearing about the worst case scenario because, in theory, it reminds us that our own lives could be going worse.
When you hear of a tragedy, you are adhering to an animalistic need for violence. We, as humans, are no different than the wolf who hunts and kills for food in order to survive. The only difference is, human nature kills not just for survival but often for reasons of an unknown nature. A generation of research on survival instinct and the need for negativity have been in the works, and yet no one can formally assess why the human genome centralizes violence as more important than a good-natured individual who saves a girl from drowning, or a man who lifts a car over his head to save someone stuck beneath it (that one is a true story, by the way – Google it).
In essence, we like to distract ourselves from our own lives, and that is possibly because the average human experience is not exciting…but hearing of a school shooting, in every gory detail – that is exciting. I agree with that: it is exciting, but there is no reason why we assume this as true, except for the fact that survival depends on violent action. When an animal needs food, it often kills; when a shark’s territory is entered by another, it will attack and it will kill in the name of protecting its home. The human is nothing but an anthropological phenomenon fixated on violence.
My advice? Want to live a happy life? Then realize something: you hear about the bad all day long, so why not try something new and instead of watching CNN, flip the channel over to TBS and watch reruns of “Modern Family”? Why not turn the TV off and have a nice breakfast with yourself or your family? Why not decide to change the routine and see if you can ween yourself off of the violence you are so accustomed to?
I am not here to preach indifference, but we must change. The reason (speculated, mind you) behind every terrorist attack (including a school shooting) is psychology: they know it will be reported, leading to fear, of which leads to those among us who want chaos to victory. Think about it. They can claim as many motives behind the school shooting as they want: psychosis, too many video games, too much TV (that one, actually, may be true, as you have seen throughout this post), too much freedom or access to guns…but the real reason is because the shooter knew he would be immortalized. The human wants two things on a level beyond our control: violence and immortality.
Break the cycle and watch a sitcom. And impeach the news.