I want change; I want alternatives; I want difference; I want it all to STOP. Every day I feel goaded even threatened by posts on social media while being repeatedly bombarded with reports of atrocious crime and killing. Stories and photos/videos are posted on social media, broadcast on television, printed in newspapers and talked about with family, colleagues, neighbours and strangers. They are being shared around the world. Adults, children, animals and nature are killed, maimed, desecrated and abused. I know it happens; it touches my heart and soul and causes me deep sorrow.
Each time there is an act violence or a horrific tragedy, images are published over and over and over and over not only at the time of the incident, but for months, sometimes years later. The same footage is subsequently shown during the legal trial, the conviction, the anniversaries of the event or any further developments relating to the incident. Each time the victims, their families and the community suffer and re-live the pain. The point I want to make here is while repeatedly showing these images, the perpetrator or organisation responsible is making headlines yet again. They love it; they love the recognition; they attract new followers; they shine in the limelight; they become social media heroes with record-breaking hits; their photos are shared; their crimes are re-told. Journalists interview them; authors write about their crimes.
Would-be offenders are studying these reports, watching every graphic detail in order to perfect a copycat incident somewhere else in the world. Animal welfare groups post images of trophy hunters with their prizes in an attempt to end this gruesome treatment of animals, many of which are endangered. Each time these photos and videos are shared, the killers revel in the glory. They love being admired for their killings; they inspire others to commit similar abuse and violence. There is often significant financial gain from their actions and they become teachers and mentors for other depraved degenerates.
Unfathomable, brutal acts of terrorism, domestic violence, despicable treatment of innocent children are daily headlines. I know it happens and it needs to be reported, but I question the need for the explicit images being used as a means to create a more sensational, more shocking story.
What I also question is when did the news stop being actual news and extend to include personal opinions and comments?
Why do journalists think it is their job to read comments written and posted on social media?
Almost daily I receive posts on my Facebook page daring me to share an article as a means of raising awareness of a variety of topics including mental health, all types of diseases, even bullying! Please don’t dare me to do anything. My informed opinion on these matters is my own; it comes from personal experience involving family and friends. Please consider an alternative way to get your message across without intimidating me. Inform, suggest and offer solutions; don’t simply acknowledge these issues. I would like to share posts that educate people and start conversations about preventative measures and the need to continue research so as to enable the eradication of these diseases and behaviours.
Another type of post on social media which I prefer not to receive are the messages with beautiful words, images and thoughts, even wishes for good luck or promises I will get rich. I am grateful for the messages, but wonder why they include an ultimatum that says I need to prove I am a true friend by sharing the post. I will not be threatened. Do not bully me. I am a sincere, loyal friend and my true friends know this. I do not need to send these types of messages to prove my friendship.
Each of us can make the world a better place and are capable of making change. Speak and write respectfully, truthfully and factually. Act with sincerity, kindness and gentleness. Evaluate what is important. Seek to live a calm and peaceful life and inspire others to be the difference the world is searching for.