Sunday, January 11, 2015

Information Devastation

I often wonder how cutting myself off from all forms of media would affect me.
I will admit, I am a Facebook addict.
(I am currently looking for a 12 step program in my area for that.)
Typically, I just like to catch up on what people are doing,
and quite frankly, without it...I wouldn't have reestablished friendships, or forged new ones with about 80% of the people I currently "chat" with there.
It's addictive qualities are somewhat detrimental, but it also 
serves a very positive purpose in many ways.
I have subscribed to our local paper for quite a few years now. (I will admit, I have decided to cancel my subscription, considering the fact that a 13 week subscription has gone from $63ish dollars to $100 in a two year period.)
My husband typically turns the local and world news on every evening, so I end up watching that as well.
And, of course, over the course of several years, my inbox has become flooded with daily notices from any number of places, filling me in on all the latest happenings in the world...good and bad.
I am starting to wonder: Am I over-informed?
I will certainly be the first to admit I am not over-educated.
When it comes to all of the crazy government based, political insanity that is constantly occurring...I am clueless.
I always tell Mark to let me know if there is something I should be aware of.
Otherwise....I find that sometimes it's just best to be blissfully unaware.
Especially when you have a personality like mine.
I am waaaay to sensitive...and I tend to take on the "energy" of the people and things that surround me.
I honestly think it's the pisces in me.

I don't know if you are into all of that zodiac mumbo jumbo...but for me, EVERYTHING that I have ever read as a typical "pisces trait" fits me to a tee.
Heck, I even have a pisces symbol tattooed on my back.

When my mom was living with me, I would always get ready while she was in the tub.  EVERY SINGLE DAY, she would see my tattoo and say "Oooh! You have one of THOSE?!!" (Like I had a huge swastika splattered across my back.)
It was pretty funny.
ANYWAY....having 24/7 access to the media, and the fact that everywhere you look, every atrocity occurring around the world is being shared, really starts to wear on you...and perhaps even change who you are.
For me, I think it has really opened my eyes to just how bad things really are.
Sure, I watch CSI and Criminal Minds, as well as true crime shows like 48 Hours.  I have never been blind to the unbelievable things humans do to one another.
However, it is the animal cruelty that has really hit me between the eyes.
Of course, I have always known it exists...but when I see photos, or, God forbid, videos (I can't watch them...I did once, I'm scarred for life.) of what people are actually doing every day to these poor defenseless has really flipped a switch in me. (for lack of a better term.)
It has unleashed an inner rage that I haven't felt before.  A desire to take down anyone who would cross that line...and to protect any animal in danger.

I was talking to my co-workers at church about it one day.  I told them that I was 100% about getting an "eye for an eye" law passed when it came to animal and child abuse.  "You throw a dog into a vat of boiling water, and then skin him alive....well, guess what will happen to you?!"
(This was right before Christmas) Deacon replied, "Wow Beth, you are really getting in the Christmas spirit, aren't you?!" 
I suggested he offer to write the homily for the weekend that the reading about "an eye for an eye" came up....and I could assist, of course. ;)
 I might veer off topic ever so slightly.....well, biblically speaking.
I am still waiting to get an answer from him about that.....
I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about the things I have read and pictures I have seen.
It makes me it better to be aware of these things...or was it better when I had a much smaller knowledge of the reality of it?
Back then, it would make me really sad to think about animals out in the cold...or animals who didn't have a home.
Now, I get these e-mails from Peta...or see stories on FB...and I sob, and then I want to go hunt down the abusers, and literally subject them to the same fate as the animals they have hurt or killed.
(I should mention....hurting/killing typically isn't the norm for me.)

The other issue:  What can I do?
There are small things I can do....but it makes me crazy that I don't have the power to actually make these things stop.
Yesterday in the paper, there was a story about 22 ponies being abandoned since September.
Neighbors and others had notified the local humane office that they were concerned for the animals welfare.
The last contact the humane office had with the owner was in November.
These animals have endured a minimum of 2-3 months with no food, water or shelter.  (One died)
They have now been rescued and are with other families.
The article made the humane officer out to be the hero in this story.
Here is my question.
Why did it take the humane officer 2 MONTHS to address this problem?
She even stated that "You can tell that there are a lot of animal and horse lovers in the county.  I had quite a few folks get ahold of me."
I am still scratching my head here....2 months??
(Criminal charges are being pursued against the owner, by the way.  We won't even talk about my feelings towards her.)
I DO receive lots of positive news in my "inbox" as well.  
I purposefully subscribe to anything that will send me stories which help to restore my faith in humanity.
I have to balance things out, you know.
I also try to watch every cute and funny animal video that I come help block out all of the sad and horrible ones I have seen.
Wouldn't it be great if there was a paper in print that only told GOOD news?
(And I don't mean the bible)
I would love to go to my mailbox each day and find a paper filled with inspirational stories of wonderful, positive things that are happening around the world.
I have to wonder...would things change if the media made a conscious effort to flip the current ratio of bad/good news.
When I watch the world news, there is typically 28 minutes of bad news, and then a 2 minute story about something good to wrap things up.
What if the news consisted of a 5 minute recap of the events of the day (just to keep us updated...and of course, most of the events would probably be bad.) and then the other 25 minutes would be dedicated to stories of the good things happening around the world.
It would be interesting to see if being surrounded by good would change our outlook.
I can say with 100% certainty that my exposure to negative information, hurtful and abusive stories and photos, and, quite frankly, the reports of the atrocities that are occurring in our world everyday have caused me to question whether or not the human race is capable of compassion and kindness anymore.

Obviously, I know that there are so many good and loving people out there.
It is just that the bad has become so overwhelming, and so commonplace.
I believe the fact that we are inundated with it on a daily basis makes it feel like there is more bad than good....and it becomes our reality.
I have to believe that if we switched it around....and were constantly surrounded by reminders of good, rather than bad,
the good would become our reality.

It would be what we thought about, and talked about, and felt everyday.
I think it would turn our world around.
We have the world at our fingertips.
TV's, computers, cellphones, ipads, ipods....we are constantly plugged in to everything that is happening around us.
But if all that was taken away....maybe we would be able to slow down and really notice all of the good things that are happening every day.

I know that giving up Facebook is probably too steep of a sacrifice for me. (It is sort of my lifeline to the outside world, since I tend to hibernate during the winter.)
However, I might start forgoing the evening news.
Maybe I'll dig out those old "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books.
I am going to brainstorm a bit about how I can singlehandedly save all of the animals in the world, and take down their abusers (without being sent to prison.)
For today, however....I think I will just focus on good things.

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