Something that has recently been brought to my attention, yet again, is the idea that social media has made us less sensitive to the issues that are plaguing our world day in and day out. Of course, the tragic shooting at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has brough this to light. I for one think that the fact students were able to document what they went through was extremely important. Even if the only thing that comes from it is the fact that it is forcing people to notice that gun control is a serious issue in the states.
The main point of this post was to highlight a trend of virtual sympathy; to bring forward the issue of passive compassion. For too long the day after mass shootings, and there are many to choose from, consist of ‘thoughts and prayers’. Although it’s nice that we say we will keep these tragedies at heart and try to prevent them; when is this issue actually going to be dealt with? The US has an obsession with with The Right to bear arms even though this was put into action when guns could only shoot one bullet at a time. It makes perfect sense for the 1800s.
Thus we get back to my point of passive compassion. These people are able to deny the consequences of the second amendment because they simply don’t know the impacts of it. Take the Parkland example; so many survivors are being ridiculed for posting videos of the attack, but in that moment of panic and fear it makes perfect sense to want something familiar and that you can control. The real issue here is not that people can see these videos, it’s that some people don’t. More accurately, they scroll past. I’ve watched the videos and they are nothing less than horrifying but I’m glad I’ve seen them. There is now no doubt in my mind that the US needs to, at the very least, have more regulations on gun ownership.
We now have the ability to scroll past the things we don’t like and only pay attention to the parts of the world we want to see. We are in complete control of the news we receive and thus can build up an entirely false picture of what it’s like to be in the 21st century.
For example, a few weeks ago I logged on to twitter and was bombarded with pictures and jokes about Courtney Act’s shocking entrance in to the Celebrity Big Brother house. When I brought it up with my sister she had absolutely no idea what I was talking about or even who Courtney Act is. Something that is important to you can be an area of ignorance for someone else and unfortunately we all have the chance to live in complete ignorance even though we are constantly surrounded by the news.
I too, am guilty of this. If I see something that scares me or upsets me I simply don’t watch it. Of course that doesn’t mean that these things aren’t happening. Surely it is better to know and to take the world exactly as it is rather than live in a protected bubble where only good things happen. The world isn’t made up of GIFs of famous drag queens losing their skirts on live television and we need to be aware of the real troubles we face as a community. I don’t just mean school shootings. I mean poverty, abuse, natural disasters and corrupt governments. This may not be what you want to see online on your lunch break but it’s happening and we cannot ignore it. Be in controll of your knowledge about the world. Don’t close yourself off from what actually goes on outside your device.