On a recent family vacation, my family spent two hours backed up in two lanes of traffic. When we finally reached the root of the backup, it was discovered to be a car accident off to the side of the road. There was a clear path to move at a reasonable speed through the scene. So why then, did it take two hours for our car to travel through three miles of road? The answer is simple. Each car passing by slowed, or even stopped, to examine the tragedy that had occurred before us.
In the midst of chaos and terror in Orlando, “BREAKING NEWS” flashes across every news station with the same information that has been spouted for the past week. Why, you may ask, do these stations continue to beat the dead horse and ignore everything but these recent tragedies? Why do politicians use this terrible event as a talking point and strategy in their race? They are simply feeding into the the basic truth behind this mess of cameras and reporters: America is obsessed with tragedy.
It’s why we binge watch Criminal Minds and read Facebook articles about the same massacre or shooting for hours. We try to understand what simply can not be understood. Consequently, Americans find tragedy to be some type of foreign event that needs to be publicized to the fullest extent. This not only disregards the privacy of the families and loved ones mourning, but also perpetuates the idea that atrocities, especially those who commit them, deserve infamy. The people that commit these crimes are counted and remembered in far greater numbers than those who provide this world with good will. For example, Adam Lanza, the shooter in the Sandy Hook massacre, is a name that many Americans are familiar with. However, I’m sure the name Kailash Satyarthi is not recognized by many. For those who are curious, he was the 2014 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Is our country grieving or are we simply fueling our curiosity of the surprising and unknown? At what point does this mourning become obsession? These are questions I struggle to find the answers to, but they are certainly food for thought.