I was over at Atheist Revolution reading his latest on what we, as atheists may be able to do to keep the pressure up on the Catholic Church over child abuse by clergy. Although I agree that we atheists as well as others, especially Catholics, should do what we can to remind everyone about this criminal organization, I am frustrated by the fact that this too, as with other outrages will fade out of existence.
The problem as I see it is we are too driven by the outrage of the moment, no matter what it happens to be. It’s also media driven whether that be television news or the Internet, after a few days, the disgust we initially have over some story is replaced by something new.
I’m unsure what we can do about it other than to keep talking, and in my case, writing about some of the more egregious examples of inhumanity we become witness to daily.
Consider for a moment mass shootings. Everyone becomes engaged, on one side or the other about gun control after one of these occurs, for about 2 weeks. Then, we move on. We ignore however, the ongoing mass shootings that occur in a place like Chicago. How many people know that 11 people, of all ages, died last weekend in Chicago, and more than 60 were wounded?
It’s not a huge media story because, well, it happens there everyday. People wounded and dead. Who cares? Well, we al should and just as we need to pressure government about child abuse by priests, they need to hear about this as well. How worse can child abuse be than actual dead children on the street?
Homelessness is another issue that I think we’ve just become inured to over time. Even in my smallish city, we have a problem with people, yes even children, that are homeless. I think that a lot of people blame the victim here: These are people that have substance abuse or mental health issues and could get help if they actually wanted help.
I disagree. Vehemently. Many of those homeless do not have drug/alcohol problems or are mentally ill. Thousands of children sleep in shelters or on the street every night due to no fault of their own. Their parents have fallen on hard times. And yes, these children are susceptible to abuse no different than those of the clergy. Adults as well. We, as a society need to spend some time being outraged about this problem, which could be remedied to a great degree if we just cared about the issue.
We should not ignore those with mental health or substance abuse problems either. We need to find practical solutions to help those people as well. Government is not always the solution, but they can help. It is our money they spend every year. Maybe we can demand they spend some of it to alleviate homelessness.
Instead of screaming on Twitter or Facebook, or yes, even in blogs about the latest tweet from the President, or how Hollywood is a cesspit of sexual abuse, why not try and work on real problems that we seem to be blind to as we go about our daily lives?
I think that ratcheting up awareness on some of these longer term issues in our society is what we should be focusing on, instead of the outrage of the day that media decides we should be concerned about.