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Paris under attack.


Bud

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In addition to having instantaneous news coverage, it may be more dangerous or we are more quickly and dramatically informed, cell phone photo's, instant internet and the need for the regular press to juice their stories with more photo's and video's just to compete. That is not to diminish the Paris tragedy, just an observation on why we may feel less secure.

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Pat, I feel less secure because I know these maniacs are out there and looking for a way to get to us. Sure I know about it almost instantly but it doesn't change that fact. I don't think the Atlantic ocean is an automatic insulator to Mideast or European violence anymore.

On another observation: I think people would be more motivated to take action and revulsed if the media didn't blur the images or sanitize the reporting in other ways or by not showing images of the reality of this violence in Paris.

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I feel the same way until I think back in history. Tamerlane left piles of skulls mountains high. Throughout history raiders have come unopposed. The Thirty Years War was murder and rapine. The Crusades? the same. For aboriginal populations murder, slaughter and rape were standard fare when somebody wanted their land. Millions died at Verdun and the Somme. Thousands died in English concentration camps during the Boer War. What was it like when Roman legions moved through a territory?

I think mankind is horrible and wonderful.

Still, one's chances of being personally involved in a terrorist incident -- ESPECIALLY in America -- are infinitesimally small. I think Americans get a thrill out of being frightened.

 

"On another observation: I think people would be more motivated to take action and revulsed if the media didn't blur the images or sanitize the reporting in other ways or by not showing images of the reality of this violence in Paris."

Philip Caputo wrote a book called Del Corso's Gallery, mostly but not all about Lebanon. His main character, a war photographer, is critical of a very famous photographer (a thinly disguised David Douglas Duncan) for sanitizing his photographs. Worth a read.

 

Are we reacting so strongly because it is Paris? I think so. It's like home, familiar. Why don't we react as strongly when the deaths are in Kabul or Baghdad? They are just as horrible.

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The media determines and shapes what mainstream America reacts to. Been that way for 40 years. Social media can turn that slightly but unless the media moguls deem it noteworthy the majority will let them do the filtering for us. While I'm sure we identify with events in cultures similar to our own the media knows what we react to. The Donald Trump phenomenon and the powerful gun lobby are two notable exceptions where the media's power has been somewhat thwarted... I would be curious if there are others.

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John Ranalletta

Doc's onto something. Why aren't there sappy, sophomoric, tri-color memes for Jews being knifed in Israel or Christians being slaughtered in Syria?

 

How are the French kindred and others not?

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Doc's last line is a good observation. We don't react so much to the middle east in part, I think, because for the last 50 years in one country or another there has been strife and conflict. We lost 289 marines in Beirut during their civil war, Airmen in a bombing at Kobar towers in Saudi Arabia, 3(?) Arab Israeli conflicts. Suicide bombing in Iraq for awhile almost daily. So we've come to accept that barbarism in that neighborhood. Paris not so much. It's a safe vacation destination, land of some our predecessors, so on the scale of carnage this is a complete shock.

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Dave McReynolds

We react to the death or suffering of those with whom we feel a relationship. That it is natural and human to react emotionally to the death or suffering of a family member or a friend does not mean that it is unnatural or inhuman not to react emotionally to the death or suffering of those with whom we feel no particular connection. Despite "No Man is an Island," by John Donne, if everyone reacted equally to all death and suffering all around the world, I doubt that we could survive. So let's not blame those who have empathy for the victims of the Paris atrocities simply because they may not have similar empathy for other tragedies in the world. No doubt there are those who feel connected with each of those other tragedies, some of whom may not feel the same empathy for the Paris victims. That is the human condition, I think.

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And let us not forget the IRA bombing campaign in the UK starting in the early 70's when some 650 civilians were murdered and many others were injured.

 

Most of us just went to work every day while this was going on. My office was next to the Tower of London and a bomb was detonated in the Tower. We heard the explosion. It killed one person and injured 8 children that were in a school group visiting the Tower.

 

 

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Dave McReynolds

It's interesting to me how these things run hot and cold. I haven't heard about any problems between the IRA and the U.K. for a long time. Vietnam is now a tourist destination and one of our trading partners. US tourists are legally visiting Cuba. The Native Americans are slowly winning back all of our money. Germany and England are now best of friends. Japan and Korea are making tentative gestures of friendship. Mexicans are voluntarily going home in greater numbers than they are coming. On the other side of the ledger, Russia, after a period of warming relations with the west, is now cooling off again.

 

And yet, it's hard to imagine things being any different than they are now between ISIS or Al Queda and the west, isn't it? And yet, if anything is certain about history, it's that things change. The Moors leave Spain, the Huns leave Rome, the crusaders leave Jerusalem, Europe leaves Africa and Asia. Wonder how this will all play out?

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Dave,

 

I'm been thinking about your post.

 

It seems to me that even though we lived in a civilized society we are at some level still "tribal" when considering many things.

 

We still look at people as either "us" or "them". The concept of the "other", meaning not us, is still at work.

 

 

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Dave McReynolds

I think tribalism is part of it, among other reasons such as whether an event is shocking and unexpected. For example, there was a great outpouring of support here in the US for the tsunami victims in Asia a few years ago, whereas there isn't much empathy here in the US for US victims of car accidents, unless one personally knows the victim. Unfortunately, suffering in Africa fails on both counts: they aren't part of our "tribe" and suffering in Africa is altogether too commonplace to shock us anymore.

 

However, the point I wanted to make in my earlier post, not very well I'm afraid, is that any expression of empathy for a victim, whatever the reason, is a positive human attribute and should be encouraged.

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Dave, I fear what you're saying. Not for what you imply, but for what IT implies. That this will all somehow "buff out" in the long view.

 

While history in hindsight is certainly a deep well of changes, so many of those changes, particularly those quoted, were built on blood. Millions and millions of peoples' blood, both the slaughtered and the combatants. Fathers, mothers sons and daughters. And while I know war is not always preventable, personally, I can do without both, especially the slaughtered. Therefore, think it behooves us to act with the most extreme caution and even outright prevention, in the presence of recent events, developed and developing methodologies, and boldly stated aims.

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EffBee, I understand your perspective all too well. Having been in SEA and a few years ago standing (actually stooping) in front of the wall, what you wrote resonated.

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