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Our Nerves are Shot

Jordyn Hronec, Editor-in-Chief

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2016 was a year of one atrocity after another, and so far, 2017 hasn’t been much different. You turn on your TV or open Twitter, and there’s constantly a barrage of hashtag after hashtag, honoring the victims of some tragedy, somewhere, whether it be the result of domestic gun violence, terror attacks, or war activity. But the problem lies in the fact that, in the midst of an age where news is instantly shared world-wide, we, as a race, are becoming numb to tragedy.

When you tweet a hashtag, as in #prayfor______, why do you do it? You may genuinely say that it’s because you care, and I’m not so much of a pessimist as to say that these hashtags didn’t begin as a result of genuine caring. But I feel as though there’s a sense of unnecessary moral responsibility when it comes to our response to these events. It’s like, you get on Twitter, look around, see everyone else declaring their support, and suddenly you feel obligated to as well, whether you even know what’s going on or not. And suddenly, you’re lost in a sea of voices shouting out their thoughts and prayers without actually doing anything or maybe, without even caring.

Also, have you noticed that some tragedies get more attention than others? The attacks that have taken place in Europe or America are televised everywhere. Everyone knows about them. But day after day, massive tragedies are taking place in the Middle East, where war activities continue to take place. And almost no one knows about them. Now, this could be due to the fact that these events aren’t as close to us, so we feel distanced from them. And they may not have a direct impact on our lives. But then I ask you to think of Flint, Michigan. They STILL don’t have clean water. And nobody is talking about it. In fact, I think it was barely talked about when it first happened. And it all is because, as people, our attention span for tragedy is minimal. Though it also has an emotional factor.

It’s been proven scientifically that humans are more capable of caring about the life of one person rather than the lives of many. Some tragedies are simply too awful for us to be able to fully comprehend their depth. Thinking about body counts quantitatively though, can lead to jaw-dropping statistics that do make an impact. But for how long?

It seems to me that any time mass amounts of people lose their lives to gun violence in this country, which on a worldwide scale is horrendously often, the dialogue of “what do?” opens up all over again. But just like everything else, our attention gets drawn elsewhere, and people simply stop caring. Our call to action lasts about a week at most, and then we forget. And this is a problem. How are we supposed to solve the problem, if we can’t even remember these tragedies? How are we supposed to move forward and recover from these events, when we so passively turn our heads away from the problem? The bottom line is, if we don’t hold ourselves accountable for advocating for change, then it will never happen. Your thoughts and prayers, which most often have good intentions, are never going to be enough if we can’t remember the constant loss of life that these tragedies bring and stop having the attention span of a goldfish.

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