Keep Your Chin Up

Sam Jacobsen, Junior Editor

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July 19th 2015–Samuel DuBose is stopped by officer Ray Tensing in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio.  The situation seems normal; a man with an expired license pulled over by an officer.  Their conversation seems entirely regular, but tensions quickly rise, and within a single heartbeat DuBose is shot in the head, and is dead instantly.  A week later the officer turns himself in to the grand jury and is indicted.  Officer Tensing is charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter; he pleads not-guilty.  Tensing claimed in his report of the incident that he had to shoot DuBose in order to avoid being run over, but the officer’s body cam had captured the entire incident, and it tells a different story.  

Late 2014 and the bit of 2015 that’s past so far has been rough to say the least.  Between the events at Ferguson, the Baltimore riots, Charlie Hebdo, and all the other sad occurrences, this past while has been pretty crappy.  And why?  Why all this now?  Why is there so much hate and anger in the world?  The sad truth is that there really is a lot of hate in the world today.  But, maybe there isn’t as much hate as we are often led to believe.

In today’s society anybody can type a couple words into a computer screen and find the most recent news.  We don’t have to wait for the daily print, or the seven-o’clock news anymore.  And, if a local newsgroup isn’t providing us with enough information, we can easily check out the group from the next town over.  The truth is we as a people are becoming more and more connected by the day, and with that advancement of our connection comes an advancement out of the darkness of naivete.  Nowadays we pull out our phones with intentions of briefly checking Facebook, and the next thing we know we’re reading about a terrible shooting.  There seem to be so many of these shootings, and there are too many.  But, there are an even greater amount of good things.

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Violence sells. It’s why people like action movie director Michael Bay (Transformers, Battleship) become rich.  When we log onto YouTube, or check our Facebook status, our minds are going to be attracted subconsciously to articles about things like a terrible shooting or a bloody war.  This doesn’t mean that all of our brains secretly lust for blood, or that we’re all psychopaths.  In fact, it means the opposite.  The reason we’re drawn to these real life atrocities is quite different than the reason we go see an action movie; we are attracted to these things because we’re all human, and subconsciously we care about one another.  The basic human instinct is to survive.  So, when we see something concerning the death of one of our own our brains have a stronger reaction than if we see something good about our own.  

All things considered, there are loads more good things than bad, it’s just that we tend to focus on the bad.  And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  If we as a people only ever focused on the good and never the bad, we’d sink into deep naivete.  However, this over-exaggeration of the bad oftentimes leads to unnecessary precautions.  In many cities in America today it is entirely customary for a person to lock their door at night, but that hasn’t always been the case.  So, why do we tend to lock our doors now?  Simple!  There’s an abundance of blood thirsty crazies roaming the streets nowadays.  No, that isn’t quite right.  It is true that over the years the ways of killing and hurting people have developed, but the proportionate number of people wanting to use these weapons hasn’t.  If anything, in today’s society where there are actual places mentally sick people can go to get legitimate help, the number of people looking to kill has probably gone down quite a bit.

Why are we so scared then?  It all ties back to the advancement of our media.  We have connected ourselves in a web of knowledge, and that knowledge can sometimes be scary.  But, it is important to realize that we have to face our fears; we can’t, as a people, slip back into dark naivete.  We have to stand fast and try to stop the bad things that are happening.  And when the going seems tough and we are depressed about all the bad in the world, we must remember not to fall to our knees and be nihilists.  So, for every bad thing you read about in the news, try to find something a little more ligh- hearted to counteract it, and keep your chin up.                  

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