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Old 04-17-2007, 05:46 PM   #1
Jack Burton

Join Date: July 19, 2003
Location: an expat living in France
Age: 38
Posts: 5,577
Some thoughts inspired by a discussion in IRC last night and reading this post by Johnny in the Virginia shooting thread:

Originally posted by johnny:
You know what also has a lot of violence in it? Watching the news every day.
The vicious circle I refer to in the thread's title is that in my opinion because the medias report a lot about violence, even more violence happens. I mean, would those bloke over in Iraq bother to blow themselves up if all they got was 10 seconds or a paragraph in the local newspaper? No, they need their media coverage, it is the way they put pressure where they want to put it.

Another example, which comes to mind is the infamous Varg Vikernes of church-burning fame. All the while during his trial newspapers reported a lot on him, sparking copycat crimes, and then strangely when he was locked in and juicy news material disappeared, church burnings also died down in Norway.

Of course, news stations won't report about Mr. Jack Average taking his car safely back home from work and having a tasty lunch prepared by his loving wife, but seriously, the sensationalist coverage of news has gone overboard, and so has the reaction of people to it...I'm going to spark debate and possibly shock some with what I'm going to say in the next sentence, but hey, that's the objective of this post. If you don't know the people dying, be it during 9/11, the London subway bombings, a civil war in Africa, a school shooting or famine in a poor state, then why should you care about them? You don't lose sleep over the many famine and war related deaths in Africa/Asia, why should you care about deaths that get front page news coverage? Because they happened in a civilised country or because the media carries the very strong message of a few personal tragedies catapulted into a sensational news story, which fills every major news source's front page?

No disrespect to the victims of the tragedies mentioned, nor the most recent one, but seriously...what's with elevating the personal grief of a few dozen to the level of millions?

Just some food for thought...

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Old 04-17-2007, 08:36 PM   #2
Lord Soth

Join Date: July 25, 2002
Location: Melbourne FL
Age: 59
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"If you don't know the people dying... why should you care about them?"

Probably because subconsciously we want to figure the odds of something similar happening closer to us. As long as we can blow it off as "it'll never happen to me" then our level of concern drops. But if it's something totally unexpected that could pop up anywhere (deranged shooter, airplane takes out a building), then we start screaming about how local authorities need to DO SOMETHING to keep it from happening to us. Typically that "something" is a kneejerk reaction that wasn't well thought out, won't really solve the problem, and just gives people a feel-good illusion of increased safety. (but the Department of Homeland Security is a different thread )

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Old 04-18-2007, 08:33 AM   #3

Join Date: January 10, 2002
Location: Upstate NY
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It's a good question to consider and to combine the concepts of DPlax and VulcanRider's posts: I think the media CONCENTRATES the bad news... which results in folks not being able to accurately calculate their "odds". This IMO tends to result in OVERreaction in the short term, and a general numbing to reported violence in the long term. The only thing that shakes us out of our stupor is violence even more heinous than we're used to everyday... which simply resets the bar.
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Old 04-18-2007, 10:21 AM   #4
Xanathar Thieves Guild

Join Date: March 17, 2001
Location: Wichita, KS USA
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I can't speak for any one else, but 9/11 for me was sad for the people, but what outraged me wasn't the deaths. It was the attack. To me, they came into my house and blew it up. If you killed my 24th cousin, on my father's side, I'd be upset about it, but if you did it in my house, I'd have the "knee jerk" reaction. The press may play the deaths for emotional ratings, they are in the business of reporting news, and it's part of that job to sell papers. They will sensationalize to sell those papers, or play on any other emotion they can. It's what they do. People always look to them to be fair and balanced, but that won't sell papers. MSM doesn't even care about facts, ask Dan Rather, wasn't it? "I know these are forgeries, but I'm going to use them to bash the President anyway".
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Old 04-19-2007, 08:13 PM   #5
Symbol of Cyric

Join Date: July 3, 2001
Location: Cornwall England
Age: 36
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TBH all these things, the news, games etc are just triggers for an underlying problem, often I'd assume a mental illness or abnormality. In my unqualified opinion if these events didn't trigger the underlying condition, or at least this sort of manifestation of it, some other trigger would have.

Ultimately you cannot remove all such triggers, therefore it is pointless to censure life in the hope of preventing such events, in the process reducing the freedoms of the unaffected majority.

It is the underlying condition that needs treating, not the short term triggers.

(This is just my opinion, amateur psychology if you like, but I at least think its plausible in many cases.)
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