Why do we only ‘see it’ when it happens abroad?

    Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

    When last Sunday two mass shootings took place in Texas and Ohio, many of us joined in the global mourning that ensued.

    It seemed so obvious to so many that America should change its gun laws and that racially-motivated hatred and killings are not only condemnable but absolutely horrifying. It was also obvious that people weren’t buying the rhetoric that Trump was trying to sell: that these weren’t acts of terrorism, but mental illness brought on from playing violent videogames.

    Yet, a lot of the people I saw commenting about the above are normally those who seem to miss the point when things happen on home turf. They will share videos of, and laugh at, Trump making a fool of himself and blatantly twisting the facts that are clear for everyone to see. So why do they so rarely seem to see this when local politicians do the exact same (admittedly in a less comical way)? And why do so many people act appalled when they see videos of children crying in war-stricken countries and criticize the US Government’s actions when it separates children from their parents at the border, but then still applaud our politicians when they try to be macho and have a stand-off with Italy while fellow human beings are left to ponder their fate in open waters?

    Distance appears to give many people perspective and a real understanding of the tragedies that are unfolding. Yet, in my head, that doesn’t always make much sense. How can we be so sensitive and sensible about things happening so far away, and then remain unfazed and numb about what’s happening right on our doorstep? I can’t say I understand it. In fact, my brain can’t fully process it, but it’s filed in the same folder as people who go abroad to enjoy nature but are unbothered by the slew of constant environmental massacres happening here.

    I think it all stems from our small island syndrome that’s riddled with partisan myopia: we hate admitting that we’re wrong, and when we do, we can lose face, friends and favour. But it’s good to keep in mind that, when we don’t point out the bad, others suffer as much here as they’d do at the Mexican border.