Why don’t we care when prostitutes and gang members disappear or die?
I know, I know… you would NEVER say you don’t care, at least out loud. Of course you care about gangs and prostitutes… you put them right up there with laughing babies, frolicking otters and fuzzy puppies. (I like otters.)
There is a simple truth that exists. It is the warning we all grow up with, “proceed at your own risk”. And, the more illicit/risky the activity the greater the truth. If you’re out looking for trouble don’t be surprised when you find it.
This doesn’t mean we are uncaring people. If a person is forced into prostitution, we care. In fact we have a different name for it so it doesn’t interfere with our not caring about prostitutes. We call it “human trafficking”. But all too often there is no “force” involved. And, because we know this we start to lose interest. The media, police and special interest groups are aware of this too. When a person, typically female, disappears they will do everything they can not to indicate that the person in question was involved in prostitution and/or drug abuse. They know if they do, we will stop caring.
This same rule applies to gang members. Again, if a gang member kills an innocent person we care. We call this murder. But substitute that innocent victim with another gang member we call it “gang violence” and we stop caring. And again the media, police and special interest groups will do whatever they have to not to divulge the criminal gang association. But, what’s interesting about this example is the level of violence within gangs has become so profound authorities have apparently given up reporting it at all. Look at Chicago.
My ultimate point here is not to condemn our lack of empathy for those who “proceed at their own risk”…
Rather, I want to illustrate the power of those who “edit” the information we receive and the ridiculous idea that any information is objective. In fact, all information passes through a filter before it reaches us. Without exception the people in charge of filtering/editing the news we receive have “the best intentions” and only want what is good for us. Just ask them. However, what is disturbing here is who determines “what is good for us” and why isn’t it us? The manifestation of this problem is found from little things such as salt consumption to huge things like the redistribution of wealth.
The most powerful among us are the “deciders”; the editors and those who provide us our information, those who decide what we get to see and hear. These people who are motivated by their “best intentions” apply them upon us while they convince us of their “objectivity”. This will always be the case. We scream for “un-biased news” because the actual, always, biased news requires us to think. Who wants to do that?! And, you say, life’s editors are just saving us from having to confront the often ugly truth about ourselves. It allows us to avoid the realization that sometimes we really don’t care. So, what’s wrong with that? Well… everything.
We must stop accepting a “massaged” reality provided by the deciders. We must take the information we have access to and digest it critically. We must apply reason and rational.
We need to face reality as it is, not as we or they wish it to be. We need to also expect that of others.
Maybe we should care more about gang members and prostitutes… may be not, but that is a decision best left to us. We should demand that opportunity.
(I also like vodka, but I didn’t think it was cute enough to work in the second line.)