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Connecticut Tragedy 
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Guys, I believe you've heard about this tragedy by now from the news...

I might be not an American, but this news had made me feel heartbroken, for the children whose bright futures had abruptly ended by a gunman. 27 people were reported dead including 20 children - 2 of them died from their wounds - and the others were teachers and the principal himself. It's the worst school shooting that happened in the history, or so I've told.

What is happening to our people? :(

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Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:15 pm
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In terms of deaths, Virginia Tech was worse. But in reality every shooting is horrifying and hearing the news yesterday, I broke down and cried. Children with their whole lives ahead of them, gone. This tragedy is now going to be a mouthpiece for both sides of the gun argument and the major reasons it happened will be ignored. Plus we will make the shooter into an anti-hero and talk about him for years to come and make this focus less on the children who will never have their innocence back and instead make it about him and what was wrong with him. It was horrifying all around.

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Sat Dec 15, 2012 3:52 pm
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Seriously tired of hearing about this.
Because we've never been attacked by terrorist, or had a serial killer, or had a lone gunman. Guess what? When it happens to rich white kids it's international news. When it happens to rich white kids we push for further gun control. Blast happens. I've seen people die, and not have a single person care about them, or give even care that they suffered a worse death than they could imagine, and a life for that matter.
Also, he used two pistols to complete the shooting, so the gun control they are pushing isn't even relevant.

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Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:41 am
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Pholoxia wrote:
Seriously tired of hearing about this.
Because we've never been attacked by terrorist, or had a serial killer, or had a lone gunman. Guess what? When it happens to rich white kids it's international news. When it happens to rich white kids we push for further gun control. Blast happens. I've seen people die, and not have a single person care about them, or give even care that they suffered a worse death than they could imagine, and a life for that matter.
Also, he used two pistols to complete the shooting, so the gun control they are pushing isn't even relevant.


I also agree with this.
People in Syria and Africa are dying, and we fail to take notice of them. But when a large handful of people die in America, it's suddenly a big deal.
Syria had about ~6k deaths last month, and thousands of people are dying in Africa every day. Just to throw this out, 9/11 had about ~3k deaths in one day. The number of deaths in 9/11 has taken less lives than Africa has in two or three days.
And yet we notice it more.

Yes, okay, I agree with you that the children's death are horrible, but it's also horrible that many other people around the world are dying without as much care and notice as the deaths in America.

Also, I feel bad for the gunman. He has a mental issue. MENTAL. They've had it checked. It means that he probably did not have an intention to hurt children. His neighbors thought of him as a good and kind man; not the type that would kill his mother. It really irks me how people talk bad about him, like it was his fault. Maybe if American insurance was actually free, and wasn't freakin' sh*tty, this wouldn't have happened.

I live in America too, by the way.

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Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:24 pm
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i really dislike the whole "there are sadder things" mentality, because it's not very well thought-out. if we followed it to its logical conclusion, we'd have to choose a Most Sad Thing, and then we couldn't feel sad about anything else because it isn't the Saddest Thing. don't be upset that your pet died, because someone just got shot. don't get upset that they got shot, because twelve people got shot in new york. don't get upset about that, because everyone in north korea is starving. don't get upset about that, because ten billion people died in the holocaust, and so on. saying "yeah but more people died here" turns any tragedy into a game of one-upsmanship, which it shouldn't be.
and it's all relative. of course the united states is going to focus on an event that happened in america to american citizens that reflects on america's laws and america's culture. it's not a bad thing. would you rather we ignore it? people aren't as sad about africa because 9/11 was an unprecedented and unexpected attack. people lost friends and relatives--people they know and miss. it's more immediate and noticeable. they have a closer emotional relationship with it than a newspaper headline that announces that a bunch of people they don't know died thousands of miles away. there's no personal sense of loss in africa, so we don't connect with it.
there is also the whole effect where people are less passionate about larger events. 26 people dying is sadder than 200 people dying, because you have a better idea of what 26 people looks like. you can see their names and their pictures and learn about them. 200 people is abstract. you have a general idea of how big it is, but you don't see them as people, just as a number. and we can't help it, that's how our minds work. we connect with concrete things, not abstract ideas.

also, if i recall correctly, the mental condition was asperger's, which. isn't a dangerous condition.

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Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:19 am
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SHPN wrote:
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i really dislike the whole "there are sadder things" mentality, because it's not very well thought-out. if we followed it to its logical conclusion, we'd have to choose a Most Sad Thing, and then we couldn't feel sad about anything else because it isn't the Saddest Thing. don't be upset that your pet died, because someone just got shot. don't get upset that they got shot, because twelve people got shot in new york. don't get upset about that, because everyone in north korea is starving. don't get upset about that, because ten billion people died in the holocaust, and so on. saying "yeah but more people died here" turns any tragedy into a game of one-upsmanship, which it shouldn't be.
and it's all relative. of course the united states is going to focus on an event that happened in america to american citizens that reflects on america's laws and america's culture. it's not a bad thing. would you rather we ignore it? people aren't as sad about africa because 9/11 was an unprecedented and unexpected attack. people lost friends and relatives--people they know and miss. it's more immediate and noticeable. they have a closer emotional relationship with it than a newspaper headline that announces that a bunch of people they don't know died thousands of miles away. there's no personal sense of loss in africa, so we don't connect with it.
there is also the whole effect where people are less passionate about larger events. 26 people dying is sadder than 200 people dying, because you have a better idea of what 26 people looks like. you can see their names and their pictures and learn about them. 200 people is abstract. you have a general idea of how big it is, but you don't see them as people, just as a number. and we can't help it, that's how our minds work. we connect with concrete things, not abstract ideas.


Well, I can see your logic.
If my parents died, I would certainly pay more attention to them rather the people dying in the lesser developed countries.


But I'm not focusing on relativity and how close you are to someone.
It's the value of a person's life I'm arguing.
Which is why I got very irritated when you said this:
"26 people dying is sadder than 200 people dying, because you have a better idea of what 26 people looks like"
..What??
You're judging on how sad a situation is by having a better idea of what 26 people look like?
You'd rather have 200 precious lives taken, than 26 lives, because it's just too much to handle what those 26 people would look like.
I don't get it.

"you have a general idea of how big it is, but you don't see them as people, just as a number. and we can't help it, that's how our minds work. we connect with concrete things, not abstract ideas."

Who is this "you"? Because it certainly is not me, and a large number of other people that think differently.
--

I'd like to mention this:
A baby is born in Iraq. That baby has grown into a child, and he gets killed by a troop. No big deal. Happens all the time. No one cares.
A baby is born in California. That baby has grown into a child, and gets killed by a medically ill person who is deeply disturbed. Oh my goodness, let's right a whole article about this poor child!

They are both children. They have no choice in picking where they want to be born.
Both of their lives are of equal value. We are all human beings, of the same species, yet we pay more attention to people that are in the same area as us?



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SHPN wrote:
also, if i recall correctly, the mental condition was asperger's, which. isn't a dangerous condition.


The mental issue was caused by medication, which made him very ill.

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Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:06 pm
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you're misreading what i said.

i didn't say that it would be "better" for more people to die at all. i said that people are less able to empathize with groups. that's how we are. it's called the identifiable victim effect (tracking down the name took forever, my god) and it's how humans work. you can't say that any one thing is objectively "sadder" than another because emotional impact is, by its very nature, subjective. yes, two hundred people dying is physically more people, but if you don't have an emotional connection to the victims then you don't feel the same level of empathy.

relativity does factor into this discussion, because americans are more likely to focus on other americans than on Foreigners because they can relate to americans by virtue of living in the same country and having similar culture and lifestyles and so forth.


here's a story that ran in the washington post today:
Quote:
Nycole Davis described her daughter as an outgoing teenager who loved to shop and dance and had just started to enjoy writing poetry. Ashley also enjoyed spending time with her great-grandfather and her friends, her mother said.

the story isn't even about the death, it's about the case. yet they still talk about the girl who died. by mentioning her hobbies and interests, they humanize her. we're going to feel sad about her because we've learned about her and can connect to her.

here's a story from al jazeera about a bombing in egypt:
Quote:
At least 53 people, most of them civilians, have been killed and 237 others injured in a powerful car bomb near the ruling Baath Party headquarters in central Damascus, state media says.

this time, the story is about the deaths, yet it doesn't talk about the victims in humanizing terms. we don't get names, ages, occupations, or even gender. we get "civilians." even if we did, there'd just be too many for us to get a good hold of the magnitude of what happened.


Veaf wrote:

that's actually a perfect example of what i was talking about. right now, think about what two hundred people looks like. exactly how much space would they take up? how big a room do you need? can you remember all their names and hobbies?
unless you've had lots of experience with dealing with groups of two hundred people, i'm going to go ahead and guess that you can't. (this effect also applies to the physical world, especially in scientific fields that deal with really small or really large things. we can't comprehend how far away the nearest star is, or how long four billion years is, or how minute an atom is in comparison to a grain of salt. that's not as in "it's difficult," but as in "the human brain is literally unable to really understand big numbers." but i digress.)
you gave up at forty faces, here. it gets harder and harder to visualize people when the numbers reach thousands and millions.


Veaf wrote:
I'd like to mention this:
A baby is born in Iraq. That baby has grown into a child, and he gets killed by a troop. No big deal. Happens all the time. No one cares.
A baby is born in California. That baby has grown into a child, and gets killed by a medically ill person who is deeply disturbed. Oh my goodness, let's right a whole article about this poor child!

yes, this too. as a culture, we are inundated with news stories about Another Insurrection In The Middle East or Another War In The Middle East. the morality of the issue aside, we're used to people dying Over There. america isn't the same way. compared to the middle east, it's much more politically stable. we're a developed nation. the middle east is in a terrible position, yes, and it's mostly the west's fault, yeah, but that's not what's being discussed.
when an event like this happens in america, it's not usual, and therein lies the difference between these two children. one of the benefits of living in america is that we generally don't expect crazed gunmen (adam lanza did indeed have either asperger's or autism, neither of which is associated with the type of aggression he displayed) to attack our children. call it a perk, if you will. so, when it happens, we respond to it with shock, we start movements to effect social change (because it happened in our society, which we can affect), and we mourn. we're not dulled to the event like we are with stories from the middle east. we're not saturated.
when a child in america dies, it is american news. american news media report on it. unless it's an unusually high-profile case (a mass shooting or an act of terrorism, both of which are, again, highly unusual in a developed nation), other countries don't care, just like how you're accusing america of not caring about foreign deaths. the spread of a story is much reduced when you venture across the ocean, especially if you leave out international news corporations and focus on the lower-scale outlets. it's not a fair comparison to make, since you're expecting predominantly american stations to be impartial about international events. it's like complaining that the economist doesn't have enough sports coverage--people read it for its political and business focus. not every newspaper can or should talk equally on everything going on everywhere. americans want to read stories about americans.


Veaf wrote:
We are all human beings, of the same species, yet we pay more attention to people that are in the same area as us?

i'm not sure if this is supposed to be a "gotcha" question or a genuine one, but yes. much like the identifiable victim effect, it's a part of human psychology whether you like it or not.

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Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:15 pm
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