The horrors sensationalized by media
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
A recent front-page cover of a leading BC newspaper caught my attention this week. It asked—or rather, advertised the question—if there were “radicalized” individuals in your neighbourhood. After the tragic shooting in Ottawa last month, many Canadians remain curious, cautious, and even frightened of the possibility of domestic terrorism in their communities. A fear that a disturbed, insane individual will commit an act of planned violence against those who don’t share their views has emerged. If we don’t remain wary of those who might be trying to kill us, we let the terrorism win.
But terrorism and those involved in it are not the only factors to be afraid of. In a world full of surveillance and violence, a lot of people are unsure if they can trust anyone. Even our beloved entertainers are revealed to be sexual predators. Headlines about shootings and murders of innocent bystanders can be found almost every day in the local papers. Police abuse and kill unarmed citizens. Mass riots and protests lead to more violence and police-public clashes. Privacy and anti-surveillance policies continue to be struck down. And this all is just in the last week of headlines.
It’s widely accepted that the authorities and/or government do not always have our best interests at heart. It’s also an established fact that despicable acts of evil and injustice occur every day, within our communities, our countries, and throughout the world. If now even our neighbours are against us, then whom can we trust? Who are our allies? The media teaches us that it’s a dog-eat-dog world and we must do our best to avoid everything suspicious around us.
We are told to fear the authorities. We are told to fear the rich, the government, the civil wars, the riots, the terrorists, and the abusers. We’re taught to fear diseases and the people that we’ll never come into contact with. Fear is instilled at every level, from the scheming actions of extremists on the other side of the world, to the very strangers we pass on the street.
The headlines detail the horrendous crimes and stories that occur at a local, provincial, national, and international level every single day. It’s clearly a scary and dangerous world out there filled with monstrous evil humans, and we need to be aware.
Eventually it gets to the point where it seems we can’t trust anyone. Thanks to the newspapers, we now don’t trust our neighbours. We don’t trust politicians, entertainers, or anyone in law enforcement. We don’t trust our own leaders or country, and we certainly don’t trust those from other areas.
But the truth is, the average person on the street is not likely to harm you. Paranoia and caution are more prominent than ever in our increasingly antisocial-wired society, especially as outlined by local media. You are not likely to be killed by anything that was on the front page of the newspaper. There are more chances to be killed in a road accident or by a heart attack.
What should we be afraid of? Of being isolated from our fellow peers and citizens? We should fear ignorance, apathy, and not being in charge of our own lives. As the old saying goes, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Don’t be afraid of being a victim. The more we think rationally, openly, and acceptingly, the easier it’ll be to understand that media will not dictate the ways we live our lives. In addition, it reduces the fear and negative thoughts that come from the all-too-real and depressing stories we hear.
There truly is danger around us. But the solution definitely is not to let the fear control us. We must take responsibility for knowing the risks and protecting ourselves from these dangers. Education and awareness taught among ourselves ensures a better and a less frightened community. Indeed, it even significantly reduces the dangers present—crime and injustices occur as a result of ignorance and failure to understand one another.
So remember: the biggest dangers are not likely to be found in the media or the ones we can see. Our emotions and actions literally control almost everything in our lives. It’s time to be in control of our own lives by controlling our emotions and not let the media decide who we are. Ignorance destroys everything it comes in contact with, and spreads faster than anything else.