Sonali Kudya is a graduate student
in the School of Communication Studies
and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]
As I sought inspiration from the news over this past week for writing my first column of this semester, one thing that struck me was the indifference of most of us these days to all but the most extreme events that are taking place out there.
The shooting at the movie theater in Colorado, the violence at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, the other shooting near the Empire State building in New York City — all made headlines, sure. But how many of us were really surprised at the pointless violence?
Not me. When I read about the tweet from the Kent resident who made a threat about shooting up the university, I admit I felt a brief twinge of something very like trepidation. But that was it.
Twelve years ago — prior to the events of September 11, 2001 — any incidents of violence similar to those that took place this summer would have caused more sensation.
It is a sad fact of life today that we accept acts of violence as part of the mundane tragedies in life. Unless the events touch us personally, we discuss them briefly and forget about them, often blurring them together when we try to recollect them at a later date. I can’t begin to speculate on the reasons for this, but I can say one thing: It made me uncomfortable to think about my own attitude like this.
Coming from India, I have seen a lot of human suffering starkly around me. I imagined less human suffering in the United States, and yet, as I drove by a family with a sign on a pizza board that read, “in need,” I realized that things are not as different in the two countries as I thought. Poverty, violence, need and the great socioeconomic divide are the same the world over.
Perhaps the reason we take things like this more in stride is the widespread nature of it. Perhaps we don’t take it in as much as before because we are connected to the world every hour of every day. Whatever the case, when I began thinking about this, I realized I have to start letting myself be more concerned by these things, and even pushing myself in some way to do my part to stand against it.
p>A YouTube video that got a very high number of hits over the summer this year was that of a marriage proposal by Isaac Lamb, titled “Isaac’s Live Lip-Dub Proposal,” which bore the tagline of a question asking whether this was the most epic proposal ever. If we think about this, it could perhaps be said that in a jaded world, we’re all looking in some small way for the more happy endings, rather than the senseless acts of tragedy that cannot be explained.
Through the ages, it is both the most positive and the most negative images that stay with us: the picture after World War II of the sailor kissing a nurse, the firemen planting the American flag on a pile of rubble after the events of 9/11 and, this year, the picture of a young couple kissing right after being arrested in New York.
These are the examples of the human spirit that survives despite the tragedy surrounding it. Bowed a little, perhaps, but not broken yet.