For decades now, I have avoided watching newscasts or reading newspaper headlines — a dangerous thing to admit from someone who regularly contributes to a newspaper.
But the truth is, the news seems skewed to me in accordance with either popular opinion or what will sell. It drives me crazy that we have television programs interrupted to tell us that a “big storm” is headed our way. It’s Ohio. It’s July. It would be news if there weren’t a big storm coming our way. But they have to sell their program.
At least that’s my jaded opinion.
The other problem I have with news programs is that they tend to try to increase ratings or sales by scaring us to death. Then that’s followed up by some “who-cares” story about Mick Jagger having an eighth baby or the latest Kardashian scandal.
The scariest thing to me is that we begin to take tragedies and deaths and destruction as a “normal” thing. We have moments of silence in Congress. We have flags at half mast — nearly all the time, it seems. But we just accept it.
I refuse to accept it. Those people in Orlando were not just another sad news story. They were just going to a night club. Those kids at Sandy Hook hadn’t even begun their lives, and yet they were massacred. The people In Istanbul were just trying to catch a plane. Those gathered in France were celebrating Bastille Day.
The list goes on. In the past 30 days — that’s just one month — there have been at least 285 terrorist attacks documented. These have occurred in 29 different countries and 1,477 people have been killed. Another 1,851 have been injured.
That’s just the documented ones, and that’s just the last month. When I checked the data, it had not been updated to include the recent massacre in France.
Now if you follow headlines or are on Facebook, you might think this is the new normal. But we can’t allow it to be. Those 1,477 people were not just statistics, they were someone’s son, mother, daughter, father, brother, sister, or friend. There are people who are grieving for each of them and will continue to grieve.
It’s happening more often, or so it seems, because we read about it every day. We see it on TV and hear it on our radios. But it’s not normal. We can’t allow it to become normal.
What is our normal and should continue is the unheralded and unreported acts of humanity that we display or see every day. The person who stops to help a gal with a flat tire. The man who returns a wallet found in a parking lot. The woman who visits her neighbor and sits with her during a difficult period. The person who buys your lunch anonymously.
Every day we counter terrorism with acts of kindness, love, and compassion. That’s what we should celebrate and that’s what we can’t afford to lose.
Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at a local elementary school and Hospice and keeps busy taking care of house, husband, son, and pets. She lives just outside of Troy, Ohio.