Desensitization removes sympathy
Campus Life Editor
It seems that lately not a day passes without
the front pages containing some mention of terrorism, whether
it’s carried out by al-Qaeda, Iraqis or Americans. With
the constant barrage of disheartening stories about the abuse
of soldiers and civilians alike, it is easy to become immune
to the somber feelings that would usually accompany such stories.
Being a media, information and technoculture student I have
made my university career through analyzing how the media affects
society. As I read the front pages of my daily newspapers I
can’t help but make connections between the stories of
war and many blockbuster Hollywood hits.
It seems that the atrocities being committed overseas are
straight out of the latest action movie, which makes me conclude
that this is a chicken and egg situation — did the movies
come first or did the war crimes?
Regardless of what came first, I often find myself reading
these stories without fully realizing they are real. As I read
the tragic news of the beheading of Nick Berg thought to myself “Why
am I not more disturbed by this?” I realized it is because
I have become desensitized.
While I know I am not the only one who feels desensitized
towards these types of tragedies, I can’t help but feel
somewhat inhuman for not grieving the abuse of another living
being. However, I did not feel as bad upon learning what some
of my peers did when they heard about the Berg story.
A friend told me about a party she was at where the host had
downloaded the video of the beheading and a group of people
watched it numerous times. While watching this video would
be disgusting to me under any circumstances, it disturbs me
even more that a group of people would use this event as entertainment
at a party.
It is this kind of desensitization that allows us to remain
so inactive against the war. If we don’t realize that
the stories we read in the paper and hear on the news are reality,
then we don’t need to sympathize with the victims and
try to do something to stop such events from happening again.
Contrary to some of my peers’ beliefs — and despite
the fact that my constant exposure to gruesome real-world and
cinematic tragedies has left me somewhat unable to deeply grieve
for the victims — I think that anyone who has suffered
deserves at least a sympathetic thought instead of the laughter
of a drunken group at a party.