Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 9:42:42 AM
Syrian revolutionaries slip through allies and stomp over rippling puddles; their surroundings alternate between silence and raucous as intermittent gunfire claps in the distance. A soldier of the rebellion peeks around a brick wall. Aside from massive amounts of rubble and debris, the street ahead appears clear. The cautious soldier dashes into the roadway. Instantly, bullets crackle all around him; he propels himself down the slippery path. Military snipers fire from an apartment window at the end of the block. The militiaman returns fire; his feet still carrying him forward. The sniper steadies his aim; he fires. In the street below a child of the revolution lies bloodied, his weapon still firm in his hands. He dies for his country, by his country. The sniper reloads his weapon. He defends his country.
This fictitious scene is not far from realistic. In the time that Adam Lanza had gunned down 26 victims, 6 Syrian citizens died. This number is derived from a statement made by The Syrian Network for Human Rights saying 4,532 people died from unrest in Syria during the month of October. This equates to 147 people dying each day and six each hour. In no way is either event more tragic, but consider the following: Why was the country staggered by 26 deaths but 4,532 occurred seemingly unnoticed?
Many argue that Newtown was a deadly blow for Americans whereas the situation in Syria is one the American people can do little about. In contrast, the Syrian citizens are still dying, the Sandy Hook victims aren’t. We continue to erect vigils and memorials for those that have passed; instead of directing those efforts toward keeping someone alive. Thus we create perpetual tragedy and horror.
Imagine, if you would, the most horrendous film you’ve ever seen. Imagine its cheap effects, its transparent actors, its dull plot. The movie is unbearable. You instantly turn it off. If it were an award winning film that captivated your mind with each second and satisfied your soul with unusual warmth; you’d watch it constantly or at least often. Apply this logic to tragedy. If you, the viewer, look away from tragedy each time it occurs it loses popularity and eventually ceases to exist. In opposite, if the viewer focused that attention on a positive action, that viewer would set off a cycle of positive actions. When we choose to pay attention to something, we allow it further manifestation in our world.
Long before gun laws can be tackled, the media must be forced to stop selling fear. They rank the most vicious shootings as if it was some sick sport; we spend our days awaiting the next mass murder and its corresponding score. If that airtime was used to advertise a list of ways to get involved in the community we’d just as soon be awaiting the next Noble Peace Prize acceptance speech. The only way you can’t change the world is if you think you can’t. Change your mindset; change the world.