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Anthropology: The Tragedy of Ignorance

Posted by Blaize Stewart on February 18, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Thanks to the 24 hour news cycle, Americans are constantly kept up to date on what is happening in the world around them. This constant stream of information has made some become numb to the violence that is starting to be more and more prominent in our news. A murder in the news garners little more than a sad thought these days and it is only when a terrible tragedy occurs that the world stops and takes notice.

The Sandy Hook, Aurora and Kohistan Shia tragedies are just a few of the numerous acts of violence that grabbed the attention of the masses this year. Meanwhile Oakland saw the greatest amount of murders since 2006 with 131 and Chicago saw an estimated 17 percent increase in murders with over 500 homicides reported.


How does America handle this amount of violence and heartbreak? We have become numb. The only way to handle violence of this magnitude is to tune it out. In general people seem to brush off murder as a common occurrence because taking in the vicious nature of the world all day, every day can be overwhelming.


Unfortunately this attitude is not going to reduce the amount of violence going on in the world. Ignoring the problem and pretending it is not a big deal has never worked before and it is certainly not going to work in this situation.


Take a look at the stories that get the most attention; more often than not they involve children. These are the stories that cannot be ignored. Sandy Hook is one of the greatest tragedies involving children in the history of the United States. The Aurora shooting took place in a family environment and had young victims. The Kohistan Shia shooting involved three children.


Why do these stories get more attention than the rest? With the Sandy Hook and Aurora cases the situation was relatable to almost every person in the country. People with children felt the pain of the parents who lost their children that day. Families who take the safety of a movie for granted will now have the slight fear in the back of their heads that a repeat attack will occur one day.


The fact that these cases also involved children and happened to ordinary people make them the prime piece of news to attract an audience. However what about the hundreds of other cases that were a mere sound bite in news broadcast? The murders that were little more than a line in a police report? Ignoring cases like this, the ones that happen more often than attacks on children and public places, is inviting more violence to come into the world.


The gun control debate that was sparked by the Sandy Hook and Aurora events should have been on politicians minds long before these shootings took place. Had they paid attention to the crime going on in the city streets perhaps these tragedies could have been prevented.

Letting these crimes go on unattended will only lead to more violence. Young men will be lured onto the wrong path due to the money that can be made in gangs and drug rings. It is hard to persuade a young man that school is the right choice when all he needs is a gun and a couple connections to start raking in the cash.


But these issues of murder and gang violence are seemingly far from the comforts of suburbia and small-town America and therefore are simply problems of the big city. People only realize that this violence is spilling into their safe havens in the form of tragedies like Sandy Hook and Aurora and at that point there is little they can do to help the current situation.

As Americans we have to stop pretending this violence is not going on. We cannot ignore the terror that is going on in our country’s cities until another tragedy happens in a small community. It gives the impression that only certain victims merit recognition and action.


Everyone who falls victim to violence deserves to be remembered and recognized, regardless of their social and economic standing. Every murder should be considered a tragedy because the violence should have an impact on us all and pretending it isn’t there will cause nothing but more tragedy.


Some say ignorance is bliss and as a short term solution this could be true. However think of what you want for you future and what you want for future generations. Do you want to leave behind a violent, cold world? Because that ignorant attitude is what lead too all those children at Sandy Hook, movie goers from Aurora, bus riders in Pakistan and victims in Chicago and Oakland to never get to see what the future will hold.

Categories: Culture: Anthropology

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