police building

View of the Eiffel Tower from Pont d'léna bridge in Paris, France.


December 7, 2015

What social media says about society's growing desensitization during tragedies

Social media has morphed from a way to connect with old friends and keep up with family to a personal soapbox that gives anyone the opportunity to comment on events that happen in the world.

This is not always a bad thing. Movements have begun and change has taken place because people have made enough noise on social media to get others to listen.

But when is it too much?

On the evening of Nov. 13, 2015 in Paris, France, a terrorist organization opened fire in six different locations in the center of the city and in a nearby suburb, killing 120 people and injuring more than 300. Social media blew up, and rightly so.

Outrage over the senseless acts that took place that night, mourning over the loss of innocent life and solidarity with the people of France were epressed

Yet among the pain and sorrow, there was a near equal number of people using the tragedy to express their unwarranted opinions and political stances.

In a Twitter post, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich wasted no time making a political statement about the acts of terror that had taken place a mere hour and a half before.

“Imagine a theater with 10 or 15 citizens with concealed carry permits,” Gingrich tweeted. “We live in an age where evil men need to be killed by good people.”

There was no expression of pain, sorrow or loss.

Just a politician using another senseless tragedy as an opportunity to campaign for less gun control.

While Gingrich’s opinion, like all opinions, has its validity, has it really become acceptable in society to bypass expressing sadness and feelings of pain for the loss of a fellow human and jump straight to politics?
Maybe we’ve become desensitized to these kinds of events, or maybe we really have lost all sense of common decency as a society.

When we jump so quickly onto our soapboxes, we diminish those lives lost: they become pawns in the big game of politics and campaigning.

We need to step back and look at these events without the lens of politics and opinions and take time to mourn, to process what has happened, before we can begin to express what we think is a solution.


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