Character: Build It Here
Why I Read Negative News
Knowledge gives power and protection. The more you know, the better prepared you are to make smart decisions. I know people who avoid negative news for the reason that it may upset them. They prefer the blissful state of ignorance.
Ignorance brews weakness and vulnerability. The word, ‘vulnerable’ originates from the Latin, ‘vulnerare’ which means, ‘to wound’. The dictionary defines ‘vulnerable’ as, “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.”
This morning I saw a headline in The Guardian, “America’s War, The Killing of Jaiden Dixon and Tyler Dunn”. The photo illustration shows the top right arm of the Statue of Liberty holding a gun in her hand pointed skyward. I hesitated for a moment, “Should I read this? Will it upset me?” I opened the article anyway, because I knew that there will be something in the story that will make me smarter, better protected, and more aware. That’s why I read negative news.
There are a few reputable news agencies that I follow. The Guardian out of London is one. Articles are well-researched and well-written. I know I am reading something of value. The story this morning about gun violence in America stands out. With sentences like, “Night falls heavy in Sanilac County, cloaking the land in uncluttered darkness”, I am grateful that The Guardian publishes great writing.
The article is an excerpt from an upcoming book by Gary Younge, “Another Day in the Death of America”. The author at random picked a day in America, November 23, 2013, and found ten stories of ten boys who were shot dead on that day. The Guardian highlighted two of those stories.
The stories of the two boys reminded me of some things that I do know and some things that I didn’t know.
- Parents buy guns for their children
- People have loaded guns in their house
- Adults leave children unsupervised with loaded guns in the house
- Parents think that a phone call to the children left home alone is sufficient to check on their well-being
- Adults who have felony convictions and are under court order to not have guns in their possession, ignore the court orders
- Parents mistakenly believe that their child will be responsible and never touch the loaded guns. When at the same time, the parent is being grossly irresponsible for having loaded guns in the house where children are present
- Parents have drugs in the house that their children consume
- Children have access to drugs in their community and keep drugs in their possession
- People believe that verbal threats of violence do not have to be taken seriously and dismiss it as kidding or blowing off steam
- People take no precautions to protect themselves from a person that they know to be violent and abusive
- Wives and girlfriends of abusers believe that if they are nicer to the perpetrator then they will not experience harm
- An “eye for an eye” is a standard of justice that people believe as if such violence will prevent subsequent acts of violence in their community
- Violence is a mental health issue. Legislation does nothing to improve the mental health of a nation’s citizenry.
- The Second Amendment reads, “A well–regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” This was written during the time of the Wild Wild West. Why has our society not evolved to a more civilized stage?
I read negative news to stay informed so that I can help others to stay informed. Knowledge carries responsibility. Ignorance brushes off responsibility. That word, ‘responsible’, springs from the word ‘respond’. The bliss of ignorance can be shattered in a moment when the reality of your surroundings forces you to become suddenly aware, forcing you to respond. Sadly, if you have not prepared yourself to live in reality, then your response will not be adequate to face it.