A Desensitized World

I can’t help, but feel desensitized to a lot of things these days. It may sound negative, but I feel like it’s something most people grow accustomed to. (Some people, more than others.) I can’t help, but believe that it’s just a biological mechanism we use in order to prevent ourselves from being mentally, emotionally and/or subconsciously scarred. I feel as though much of my desensitizing comes from the result of some of my experience(s) in the Marine Corps. I can remember there were times where I made grown men and women cry, and I acted as though I had a heart of stone. Although it doesn’t always feel good to reminisce about those times, I often feel as though when someone begins to cry, I have no option but to remain solid.

For example, earlier this year, on the night I received a phone call from my aunt informing me that my grandma had passed away I didn’t shed a tear, even though I was always very close to my grandma. I feel as though at moments like that I can’t afford to lose myself in emotions (I can’t lose my bearing), because plans and preparations need to be made. At the same time I also believe that my firm belief that death isn’t the end also helped me cope with her loss.

The reason why I have come to write about this somewhat depressing topic today is primarily due to the events that unfolded yesterday at Clackamas Town Center. If you haven’t heard about it yet, you can read a short report about it on CNN. CTC is a mall that I used to work near, and used to frequent when I was younger and has grown to become a very large mall. Although I still think this is a travesty and am saddened by the events that transpired during a very busy time of the year, I can’t help but feel disgust.

The man that did this was an obvious coward. He managed to kill two unarmed people before his weapon jammed, then took his own life before he could be apprehended. Although I’m a firm believer in capital punishment, I feel as though people that perform heinous acts like this don’t deserve death, but actually deserve to live with the haunting memories of the people they shot and killed. It’s one thing to want to commit suicide, but it’s completely ridiculous when you have to take the lives of others “on your way out.”

The other thing that really disturbed me, however, were the posts people posted on Twitter (which are also linked to the CNN article). My first thought when I started to read these Tweets were: Why? Why is it that when you could potentially be moments away from death, your first thought isn’t to call 911 or the ones you Love, but to post updates about the event on Twitter?

@jennahopeee: In the mall hiding in the back room. There was a shooting at clackamas. Through the window literally 15 feet in front of us. #terrified
 A hashtag (#) terrified, at the end? So I’m going to assume that when this girl grows up and is giving birth to her future child, she’ll be posting something on twitter along the lines of: “at the hospital delivering the baby. #painful #contractions” Although I may sound like an asshole right now, it’s little things like this that makes me wonder if I’m the only one that feels this way? Or am I truly the only one that’s this desensitized? Honestly though, I don’t think I am.
I feel as though we often get swept up in a whirlwind of disbelief when something like this occurs, not only within our own country, but to a place that’s so “close to Home”. In this instance we detach ourselves from the idea that there are people in this world who have to live with this as a regular occurrence. People who drive down the street and are blown up by IEDs, people who’s homes are burned down and are homeless as well as ostracized within their own country because they share different beliefs than the majority’s… Unfortunately, we don’t view those events as tragic or as real, since they’re occurring so “far away”, until something like this occurs in our own backyard.
In America we often use the phrase “when the shit hits the fan…”, but who’s truly affected in that scenario? If you live in a different part of town, does that really affect you, as much? Or say that you lived two doors down, or even next door would it really be a problem? However, say it were your home and you were sitting nearby, how would your perspective change in that scenario? In the end, does would this really matter to us if it didn’t directly involve us?
So I guess I’ll ask it one last time: Am I really the only one that’s become desensitized? Or is it all just a matter of relativity?