As a North American, it is impossible to escape media blitz when it buzzes most . . .
But, are they focused on the right things?
Are our leaders?
We go about ordinary days – then suddenly, everyone is buzzing. Yesterday’s example, that BostonMarathon bombing focuses attention on victims, investigation, bewilderment about which fanatical faction or crazy person was responsible.
Stunning, isn’t it? How does it compare to third world carnage of greater magnitude?
Right, we don’t hear much about that?
Multi media outlets bombard readers and listeners with partial and hastily prepared (and suspect-quality) coverage – which will no doubt be amended once facts are in (eg: yesterday’s reports there were 2 or 3 unexploded bombs are not ‘suspicious packages’ that were destroyed out of caution). I’m sure, somewhere in Hollywood, somebody is drafting a script for the movie, someone is drafting a plan for a documentary, some official in Boston is pondering a book and Oliver Stone is concocting a conspiracy-coverup theory. The military-industrial complex will sell more Kevlar vests and security firms of every kind will sell goods and services to cities and national governments to prevent this from happening again . . .
What troubles me is being awash in information, media coverage and hype which is likely full of so many erroneous reports (not unlike wikipedia etc.).
What also troubles me is lack of perspective.
In no way do I wish to diminish or belittle yesterday’s tragedy – but how many people died, how many were injured, all over the planet yesterday?
Who hypes, reacts, responds or advocates for them?
Lately there have been so many news pieces (American mostly) about guns, about violence as if the media and politicians just discovered that angry people hurt people, that rage and evil are everywhere. Wikipedia says 155,520 people die every day (that’s 107 every minute).
I searched the World Health Organization site for data on deaths by cause. Of many stats and graphs, one thing stood out for me was the deaths among age 0-14 in high-income countries (1%) vs. low income countries (40%). It seems there is no hype for them.
While I, like so many, feel sad for families of Boston’s casualties and am gripped by the tragic loss of an 8 yr. old boy whose cause of death can only be labeled ‘running out to greet his dad at the finish line’ – and I don’t fault media for bringing that to our attention – but where is media coverage, where is government action/outcry over outrageously high deaths of children, people not yet in the prime of their lives, all over the world where their finish line comes far too early?
As I looked at the stats – murder, mayhem, war and terrorism didn’t even show up among the greatest causes of death. Neither do car crashes.
While there are those who might argue we are getting over-populated on this planet, we should give our heads a collective shaking – just look at these graphics , where any school kid would tell you that the way to live better and longer is to move from a poort country to a wealthier one.
Tragic as yesterday’s events in Boston were, or anywhere else, when people mete out violence on others is reprehensible . . .
Largest biggest hugest most vile and culpable party in death on our planet is not violence or terrorism, or car crashes – it is poverty.
Our collective enemy (dare I say prolific beyond terrorist), grimmest reaper, is not disease, but apathy.
The more I read/listen/gag upon the richest nations in the world (ie: G-20) in their efforts to right financial ships or banks or states, from financial institutions foundering around, the more I read/listen/gag on politicians purporting to help us all while ignoring/welching upon their duty to keep us safe and well by shuffling our money amongst priorities . . .
I know this week, and next as well I expect, every front page of every newspaper and every news lead on TV and internet news site will be the carnage in Boston and gun-control.
What we need more of from leaders, from media and from our collective consciousness is a reality check on what the reality really is . . .
Our planet has problems – violence and terror among them, while our biggest enemies are poverty, disease and lifestyle related, no matter which country we call home. Sadly, the media and political machines are not fed by poverty and disease.
I know many people are not fans of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet etc. for various reasons, but you cannot deny they are being effective, particularly in impoverished countries, at eliminating ‘easy fix’ disease cures – saving lives in the process and freeing up dollars to be used on other issues.
If we could just get media and government, and banks, to fund life-saving efforts in third world countries, we could grow a whole new generation of people who die less often.
Meanwhile, the best thing we can all do to reduce unnecessary deaths, is to eat less/better, exercise more and avoid suicide. Those efforts will help the world, and our country, more than any other measure we take.
The world will be better if we find a way to actually get good information and make better decisions – and sure, we ought to grieve for needless loss of life, but our society is organized to grieve only for few, because public grieving for the many does not sell newspapers or generate political contributions.
What can I do differently today?
We can all, any of us, do very little about this global problem. Most of us are doing nothing, so it seems to me that any little bit can help.
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: -4C / 25F, overcast, light breeze, sidewalks more/better cleared, lawns still resting under their white blankets. Gusta romped, I kept up, lots of crows and magpies yapping this morning . . . so much noise over so little
Achieving balance has to be a sensible goal; I have found it difficult ever since I started trying. "Not tortured or twisted, but wildly free." … In my world, these words have empowered my stubbornness. - "When reality and dreams merge, perhaps that is perfection, but I doubt we'll rest long when we find it, but it would be so nice to rest a while. So nice." … Indeed !!!!, AG, Playa del Carmen, Mex.
Am I driven by the possibility of having regrets when I face my last breath? Maybe, maybe not. If I died tomorrow, how long would I be remembered and did I really make any difference at all. Beddingfield had a song several years back titled "Wild Horses" and about living our lives as if we were wild horses and her desire to love as they do without having any regrets after having done so. I related to that desire to not have any regrets after actions that may or may not agree with any other's desire to live. Should I care about what others may think? Wish I didn't so much. GW, Brady, Tx.
Well Mr. K, I was reading about your escape yesterday to ranch country and realized that I really don’t know what that looks like. It evokes no image at all for me. And then you said the words that drew me in and made me pay more careful attention to your words when you wrote “a photographer’s flat-light paradise”. Not really sure what you mean by flat-light but someday, when I am out west, I want you to show that to me. I have always been interested in photography but have more recently become passionate about it, joining a camera club and taking my first trip to Asia with my camera club, CG, Oakville, ON
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