Desensitized America In Candide by Voltaire, there is an instance in the life of the old woman that outrages her. When she meets up with the Mores and they act abusive and intrusive toward her, she is initially outraged. When she stops to think about it, she exclaims that if she had been a person more knowledgeable about their customs, she would be less upset. This suggests that people everyday overlook acts that would be considered by an outsider to be appalling. In our society I can think of many instances that we accept, and in many ways we become desensitized to their horror because they are so common.
A big example of this is the rampage of violence especially in our school systems. I can remember my freshman year that there was a bombing in a primary school in Scotland. I cannot even remember all of the details, but it was a truly tragic event. The fact that I cannot remember too much more of this story is an example about how we have become desensitized toward violence in schools. I think that every other day we hear instances of this type of horror.
Obviously the one that stands out in my mind is the Columbine tragedy, but in between the huge stories, are the instances that are just as tragic but get less press. So many times we hear of children bringing guns to school, teens that play around with guns that dont belong to them, and someone gets hurt or even dies. In the summer before I was in eighth grade a boy in the class ahead of me was killed by a gun when he and his cousin were having target practice. I cannot even remember the details of that tragedy, and that happened in my own town. I am sure that many of you have your own memories of instances in your hometowns, but sometimes they seem less important when compared to the bigger tragedies. If an outsider looked into our society, and took note of this, I would hope they would be appalled at the amount of violence and tragic deaths that occur everyday in our society, and our desensitivity to it.
If they are not appalled, then perhaps all of humanity has taken a step down and not just our society. If you think that this desensitizing has skipped you, and that you are just as affected every time you read or hear about the death of a child due to guns, bomb scares in schools, even bombings in schools, then try to think of the tragedy in Scotland a few years ago. Can you recall more than oh yeah, I remember when that happened. Is your response more than well, I dont exactly remember, but there is always a bombing somewhere, so I am not surprised. I think that the majority of American society, and many other countries in the world can claim a great number of violence and deaths, but lately these instances of horror take place in more and more schools, and involve children of much younger ages. If an outsider peered in, I could only hope that they would be disgusted at what they saw. Sometimes we miss the article in the paper as we flip to the sports page while we enjoy our morning cup of coffee.
Maybe sometimes we read the article title, think, oh how awful, then we go on with our lives and by the time lunch comes around we have forgotten who was even named in the article we glanced at earlier that same day. Sad but true, I feel that violence, most especially among our youth in schools has become less shocking to our society, and is on the road to becoming an accepted horror, just as in Candide, when the old woman feels that if she had been more familiar with the customs, she would be less outraged by them.