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Is The World Really More Dangerous Today, or is it Something Else?

Bombs going off at the Boston Marathon, two IED’s (improvised explosive devices) found on the streets of Quincy, graffiti on a bathroom wall at a school in Camp Point that prompted police to search students’ personal belongings. Those are a few of the things that have happened this week that have made national and local headlines, and cause everyday people to take pause.

Of course, we’re all too aware of other crazy event’s that have taken place over recent years. School shootings – so many it’s difficult to remember them all off the top of your head anymore – people opening fire on innocent bystanders in malls and theatres, 9/11. The list goes on and on, and you can’t do anything anymore but wonder when the next tragedy is going to occur and where.

Boston Deals With Aftermath Of Marathon Explosions
Jared Wickerham, Getty Images

But are things really getting worse? Is the world really getting crazier with seemingly each passing day, or is there something else at work? Namely media coverage and our need to instantly know everything that happens everywhere, streamlined by ever increasing technology. How many people really rely on television and radio news to be their first source for breaking news these days? Sure, we go to the old stand by’s for details and updates but more and more people get breaking news on their cell phones, Facebook feeds, twitter and the like each day.

These things have all made the way we receive and spread news almost instantaneous and thus that immediacy has become the norm. It’s expected now. If something big happens and you still don’t know about it 15 minutes later you must live under a rock. You should have heard about it, have a body count and at least 3 witness reports to refer to and believe all of so you can be a part of the conversation. Being in the know is very important these days. And with this kind of need… both to satisfy our desire to know… and media’s desire to win, to break the story first… mistakes happen.

Yesterday news broke that Boston Police had a person or persons in custody suspected of being responsible for the bombings. It spread like wild fire. I know there were at least 8 different sources and various people talking about it on my facebook news feed. Literally minutes later it was found to be bogus. Last night during the severe thunderstorms that moved through the area I learned at a restaurant drive through that “the whole back side of County Market at 48th and Broadway had been blown off.” The person who relayed this to me had gotten it from another employee who had seen it on facebook. We’ve since come to see pictures of 1 smallish section of the side of the pet store attached to County Market that had panels missing and some wind damage. I was by there a little while ago and it was nearly covered back up.

So while it’s nice to be in the know we should also be careful about the whole process of news gathering and spreading.

Do you think the immediacy and simple number of ways we get news today contributes to things “seeming” worse than they once did? There was a time, not that long ago when the 10 o’clock news, the radio and newspapers were how we found out. Every so often the tv  network would break into programming with a special report but that was about it.

While it wasn’t as hip and cool as the way we do things today, I kind of miss it. The world didn’t “seem” so crazy back then.

 

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