I am in no way endorsing the Aurora shooting. Like you, I’m am saddened by the news because it could’ve easily been me as I was at a midnight screening of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, but in Sherman Oaks, CA.
However, I’m also numb.
This is the second time I feel like I should be more outraged; more horrified than what I’m feeling. The last time I felt this numb was after 9/11.
I say numb because my disgust is not at a high level, but at a moderate one. My sentiment is in the vicinity of where it should be, but nothing like those I’ve seen on tumblr or Twitter. It should be higher. I should be furious. But I’m not. I’m just… numb. This causes me to think that I’m a bad person— soulless, and possibly psychotic to not have a normal reaction to news like this.
But before I condemn myself, I have to ask why. Why doesn’t this affect me the way it should? Is it because it didn’t happen to anyone I know personally? I’d begin to believe that if it weren’t for the fact that I’m always deeply empathic for those in recent car accidents, I drive past on the highway. In fact, I say a quick prayer for their well-being and hope their days pick up. OK, let’s start there. Why do I do that? Because I’ve been involved in my fair share of fender benders that I know exactly what they’re going through. And in some crazy way, I hope that it helps.
So why can I offer good thoughts to people in shitty—but definitely not life-changing situations—and not to those who just experienced tragedy and real loss? I think back to 9/11. I was in college and woke up to the news. News footage and images were engrained but I couldn’t get my head around the severity of the situation. It wasn’t until later that day that I learned how closely my mom came to becoming a statistic— she was traveling by plane, that morning—that I thought, “I could’ve been motherless because of some people’s beliefs and their deep hatred for my country.” Only then, did something stir in me. So is that it? Do I need to have some kind of personal connection to a tragedy in order to feel enraged, or even a deeper empathy?
That’s awful. How does one get to this point? How did I get to this point? I feel like a robot. I’m someone who is so in-tune with her emotions, that it’s strange to question them. I almost feel more disgusted with myself than I do with James Holmes. I think it’s largely based on our influential views of the world. There’s fiction (most movies, TV, etc.) and non-fiction (the news). And while, for the most part, we know the fiction is purely for entertainment, (as insane as that sounds) the news broadcast these days can also be to blame.
When a liquor store robbery is communicated with the same intensity as two hijacked planes crashing into the World Trade Center, it’s hard to gauge how alarmed one must become. You watch enough news, your barometer for intensity becomes blurred and pretty soon you become numb. You begin to stray away from news altogether, and the desire for learning about the world around you subsides. It becomes harder to care because you teeter on sadness and full-blown depression. When asked about your feelings regarding a tragedy, the logical part of you says, “Well, people died and that’s sad.” But you feel like a phony because you didn’t invest emotionally into the question, much less the situation.
I hope I didn’t offend anyone. In a way, I’m mourning my own emotional demise as well as those who died in Colorado. For those of you who still can, including the injured, I pray for your well-being and hope your days pick up.