An Emotionless Response to Tragedy

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“Don’t check, just balance on the fence. Don’t answer, don’t ask, don’t try and make sense.”

I don’t know which tragedy finally broke me; it might have been Paris.

When news of the San Bernardino shooting hit, I didn’t react. It’s sad, but I’m sort of dead to tragedy right now. Not apathetic; I still feel sorrow for those hurt/affected. But I was neither surprised nor outraged when my social media newsfeed started blowing up with the story.

Hell, I wasn’t even upset.

Injustice happens so often now, I just expect it. There is violence by the police, toward the police, by individuals, in the name of “God…” At this point, shootings are as prevalent a news segment as the weather, or sports. Soon we’ll tune in and hear it read in a calm voice; “Today in shooting updates…”

This bothers me. I dislike being anesthetized to tragedy. I’m sickened by the truth that reports of violence has become white noise to my ears.

But I’m not sure what to do.

My fear is that it won’t be too long before violent events are no longer news stories; things that happen “somewhere else.” Sooner or later, it will happen close to home, and I (or someone I love) will be in the line of fire.

I don’t know what to do about those thoughts, or that disturbing possible reality.

What’s worse is: I’m not alone.

Safety in numbers a saying, and is supposed to have positive attributes. But when I posted a blurb about my reaction to current-day violence on Facebook, the response I got was a collective, “Yup, me too.” When I may have been looking for an emotional boost, or someone to say just the right words to knock me out of my stupor, I found an unfortunate community. I think I was more disillusioned when I discovered how many people out there feel the exact same way as I do than I was by the actual horrific shooting. We’re all overwhelmed, and shutting down emotionally. Acceptance is supposed to be the fifth, and healing step of grief, but should we really be accepting violence as a natural way of life?

I remember being astounded, sickened, and fascinated by mass violence. I would watch the 24-hour “news” stations for updates, wondering who did what, and why? I needed answers. I needed to understand that those perpetuating the sick and evil acts were disturbed individuals, and that humanity as a whole was still good.

Now I’m not so sure.

Today, you have a segment of the population who shouts “False flag operation!” at the top of their lungs when people die. When that is your first response to horror… I don’t know how to process such anger and ignorance, much less address or combat it. People with passion remaining can shake their fists at whatever power they want, be it guns, mental illness, religion, our elected officials… but I’m at the end of my tether.

I feel numb.

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