Tragic times call for a healthy perspective

Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 10, 2015

The news of this week’s terrorist attacks on a satirical newspaper in Paris have sent shockwaves through the world and sparked multiple discussions on various American media outlets.

It’s a topic that warrants attention, but too often in today’s world of 24-hour news networks, the focus drifts away from facts and spins into biased, emotional rhetoric. It almost seems as if some of these television personalities fail to understand the power of their medium and the influence they possess over people watching at home.

To be clear, the attacks were a tragedy. Mass murder was committed because Islamic extremists were offended by a cartoon depiction of their prophet. The absurdity of this speaks for itself. The key word at play here is “extremist” – these attacks were committed and condoned by a small number of violent people.

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It is important to maintain perspective in such a tragic situation.

The attention of these mass killings always tends to land on the ones who pulled the trigger. As a society, people want to know why. It’s only natural to attempt to understand the mentality of someone capable of such atrocities.

But doing this can create a precarious situation.  For example, the names Kelly Fleming, John Tomlin and Dave Sanders probably don’t resonate strongly with many people, but the names Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are forever infamous. The first group of names belonged to three of the victims who lost their lives in the Columbine massacre.

Why should we etch the names of killers into our memories forever but fail to recognize their victims? Something seems grotesque and misguided about that.

So as the facts of this terror attack are brought to light in the coming days, society should encourage an awareness of perspective.

Multiple people are dead, not because of Islam or guns, but because a few violent psychopaths wanted to make a statement. Don’t give them the pleasure of an audience while forgetting the ones who lost their lives.