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Prevalence of violence in global events and the media results in desensitization

Staff Editorial

School shootings. Bombings in the Middle East. Hostage situations. To our generation, these three scenarios are just normal events that we hear about in a joke’s punch line on The Tonight Show or Saturday Night Live.

Why do we shrug such occurrences off like they mean nothing to us? The reason: modern-day entertainment.

Video games like Grand Theft Auto, as well as movies and TV programs such as the Saw franchise and American Horror Story all have one thing in common: they contain an often disturbing amount of violence and gore. Although many find them entertaining, there is something unnerving when the viewer finds him or herself not even flinching.

Our frequent exposure to these acts of violence—often seen in movies, television and video games—has, to a certain extent, desensitized us from reacting properly. However, another reason could be the unfortunate fact that horrible tragedies do occur in our world everyday, making the news of yet another school shooting almost routine.

This is an incredibly sad truth of how our generation has grown up, but there have been other instances of a similar mindset throughout history.

For example, slavery. The majority of the Southern population was convinced that what they were doing was okay simply because everyone else was participating. It was hard for slaveowners to see that enslavement is immoral when it is all they had known their entire life.

Of course, this is an exaggerated comparison, but its message is relevant: the prevalence of something should not overshadow its injustice. It is very important that our generation does not become this way in viewing acts of terror; that we have a way to stop this desensitization.

Recognition is the first step to diminishing this issue. By knowing that your subconscious is being conditioned to be less sensitized, you can actively try to retroact it outside of the TV, movies and video games we love.

The next time you see an action film or hear about a development in the Middle East, try and exercise this recognition. Hopefully, it will become second nature to all of us, and we will be able to comprehend the seriousness of the atrocities that happen in our world everyday.

Image: Staff Editorial Cartoon