Saturday, July 21, 2012

News & the Societal Perception

In the wake of the shootings that took place in Aurora, Colorado, I have observed many different views, opinions, ideologies, and news broadcasts that make me question a few things.  I can’t turn on the television without being bombarded with coverage of the event.  I can’t log into a social network (facebook, twitter, and Google +) without seeing every other comment being about the event.  I can’t help but wonder if society as a whole stops to think about what’s going on, or just following the crowd.  I’ll explain.

Let me begin by saying that the Aurora shootings were senseless, psychotic, and terrible.  Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s gander at a few perspectives.  We start with the media.  It’s interesting to see all of the networks frothing at the mouth over a tragic story.  They pretend to care and show sympathy, all the while doing their best to make it as much of a reality show as possible.  It didn’t take long, and the local news here has already given it a dramatic movie title, like “Tragedy in Colorado”.  They even have a graphic for the title, which they air before each mention of the event.  That’s right, you go get those ratings, you heartless douchebags. Ratings…that’s really what it’s all about.  I wouldn’t doubt it if the Lifetime network has a made-for-tv movie already in the works, starring Kirk Cameron and Valerie Bertinelli as scarred survivors, and Skeet Ulrich as the crazed shooter.

Now let’s take a look at some of the ways society has reacted to this.  I go on social networks and see people sounding off left and right.  First, I see the “sympathizers”. They talk about how much of a tragedy it was, and that they’re praying for the families.  They are weeping about the senseless acts that took place.  I see flags at half-staff.  I see Barack Obama and Mitt Romney saying that they’re putting their campaign and attack ads on hold so they can publicly grieve.  I see the Aurora Chief of Police go on tv and sob like John Boehner at a puppy mill.  So here’s my question:  What about the other people killed every single day in this country?  There are, on average, about 45 people murdered every day in the United States.  Other than the victims’ loved ones, I don’t see any of you weeping for them.  I don’t see flags at half-staff every day.  I don’t see the president talking about them.  And most of the time, the local media treats them as an afterthought. I guess sympathy is only warranted for those killed in groups.  If people are killed in singles, society simply has a “sucks to be you” attitude and just goes on about their day.  This begs the question: Are you just thinking and feeling the way the media TELLS you to?  Do you genuinely grieve the death of every human being?  If you did, you would walk around in a severe state of depression 24 hours a day.  When it comes right down to it, you are reacting to the reality show that the media presents to you.  They control the information, so they never hesitate to put their own spin on something in order to make you “feel”.  And with stories such as the shootings in Aurora, the media makes damn sure you can’t get away from it.

Now in addition to the sympathizers, we have the group of people who seem to have made themselves professional psychologists.  Everyone wants to analyze the shooter’s state of mind, given his history and background.  Wow…I had no idea you all were experts in the human psyche.  Let’s not get too technical with one, folks.  Can’t you just keep it simple and say he is bat-shit crazy?

The last group of people I have observed are the “blamers”.  Many of you need to point a finger as to the root cause of this incident.  People quickly launch into the gun control debate.  One side says that the government is too lenient on gun control and that guns should be banned.  The others say that we should all carry a gun on us, like the wild west.  Look, I see both sides to the gun debate.  The right to bear arms is in the Constitution (you know…that document that most American citizens try to change to favor their own particular views?)  Just because someone doesn’t like guns, should they have the right to tell you that you can’t own one?  Nope.  That’s the beauty of living in a free country.  However, with ease of accessibility to guns, the more crazy people will use them to do terrible things.  Needless to say, the gun debate is a tricky one…and I see pros and cons to both sides.

Other blamers will say that violence in video games is the cause.  This is just absurd.  If you are able to be influenced by any video game to begin with, then you’re already bat-shit crazy and will no doubt do something terrible and stupid anyway.  A video game is just an easy scapegoat. 

To sum it all up…this was a senseless, terrible act that was done by a clear psychopath.  The victims involved shouldn’t be disgraced at the hands of the media for turning it into a soap opera or reality show because it’s good for ratings.  The garbage that the media is spoon feeding you shouldn’t be kept going by society via social media.  All you’re doing is making the bad guy more famous and the victims more forgotten.

Thanks for taking the time to read my $0.02.  Be good and stay safe.  Cheers.