Increasing Apathy

America’s Growing Lack of Emotion

Increasing Apathy

Julia Zaksek , Staff writer

You get an alert on your phone, maybe from your news app, maybe from Twitter.

You pick it up gingerly and swipe it. Your screen is lit with the following words: Just in: Shooting in (insert city) (insert number) reported casualties.

You click the video at the top of your screen. A grimly smiling reporter gives you the details and pictures slide by of heavily armed police, a crowd gathered behind a band of yellow tape, and an occasional crier. A mumbling person from the crowd is quickly interviewed.

You sigh, like it or even retweet it, then scroll on. After all, it’s just another day in the U.S.A.

The frequency of mass shootings in America has tripled since 2011. In 2015 there were four. Yet people rarely seem to notice, much less care.

Tragedy is not a foreign concept to anyone, but sorrow seems to be a foreign emotion. People feel bad, of course, but it doesn’t seem to have more than a fleeting effect.

I firmly believe this is because of those retweets and likes. People seem to believe that posting a picture or typing a hashtag somehow means they’ve done their duty, and they can now scroll on.

Now, by no means is it wrong to post, but a post alone doesn’t equate to anything except empty words on a screen. Yes, hashtag pray for Paris, but actually pray for Paris. Retweet the link to the San Bernardino donation, but maybe skip Chick-fil-A one lunch period and toss in a few dollars yourself.  

This connection we think we possess thanks to social media couldn’t be farther from the truth. Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat: they’re all nothing but computer codes and pixels, but we let them be human for us. They share our emotions, our thoughts and our opinions on tragedy so it can be avoided in real life.

Adversity is increasing all over the world and so is apathy. The lack of emotion for catastrophes is almost as terrifying as the events themselves.

If everyone, from students to Syrians to shooting victims, wants to overcome it, we have to do it face to face, not screen to screen.