Saturday, September 20, 2014

Desensitizing America

It is naïve thinking, but there are times I wish back to the pre-information age.  A time when, if you lived near enough to the big city, there were only a handful of channels on the TV.  A time when radio and television were geared toward entertainment, when things like the news came in measured douses, and you had time to digest the events.  If you were interested you would read multiple newspapers to gain a wider understanding of the events you saw snippets of on the television.  
This all started to change in the 1960’s with the war coverage from Vietnam and the domestic coverage of the antiwar and civil rights movements.  We were shown the graphic images of firefights, protests, riots.  The competition to bring the most graphic images to the viewer took off.  Now I know there is some age bias in these observations, and it was probably an evolutionary process, but as we’ve seen the acceleration of change is on a logarithmic scale and it continues to accelerate.
In 1991 we took the war to the home screens with the images of the bombs going through the windows, into the bunkers and spans of the bridges with only a few hours delay. 

Now -- I routinely see imagery on the Internet and television of Hellfire, small diameter bombs, and other missiles terminating their targets in what seems a sanitary manner.  
Knowing what I do, it is only a matter of time until we see these scenes in high definition.  Don’t mistake my concern.  I believe those being killed would do us harm if they are allowed to live.  I don’t have a problem with us ending a threat, but I wonder what damage we do to ourselves as we share these executions with the general population and the rest of the world?   

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