The days of pretending they don’t exist are over
Imagine a life of suffering — and few people in our society can empathize with you — worst yet, they don’t seem to want to.
Thousands of victims in our society are experiencing agony like this. People see it and often identify the suffering, but choose to remain silent and look the other way, probably because they feel powerless.
Feeling powerless doesn’t mean solutions can’t be found, but it all starts with simple acknowledgment. Have our inflated egos reached the point that we refuse to look at things that don’t fit our worldview? Are we so deluded that we think disturbing things go away by ignoring them?
I am not referring to the topics that are receiving plenty of outrage already. The real question is why we choose to be outraged by those while ignoring the four disturbing things listed below.
One thing that pisses us off is mass shootings — especially school shootings, to be more specific. We get outraged and want to scream out loud because it needs to change immediately. This is all fine and dandy …
But why aren’t we this outraged about suicides?
Did you know that three times as many people die from suicides than all gun homicides (including mass shootings) every year? Yet I cannot recall any protests or rallies to fight suicide. Shouldn’t there be, given the fact that we lose so many more lives? Don’t those lives matter too?
Here are the facts:
- In 2019, there were 45,390 suicides in the US and 15,416 gun homicides.
- In 2018, there were 48,344 suicides in the US and 14,848 gun homicides.
This three-to-one ratio of suicides over gun deaths is fairly constant every year. Yet we get loud about gun deaths, but then sound like crickets about suicide…. Why?
Homelessness is like a bad traffic accident, you might slow down to look, but then you are eager to drive away from the carnage. This is how many of us view the homeless.
Why are we so quick to move past them?
Do we feel guilty because they are not enjoying the prosperity that we have been blessed with? Do they represent a problem we can’t solve, and our egos can’t handle failure?
In 2019, there were 567,115 homeless people in the United States, and over 60% of them were sheltered. This is a significant improvement over the 647,258 who were homeless in 2007.
There are countless reasons for homelessness, but virtually all of them can be placed in one of three categories: financial, personal health, or mental health. Three types of homelessness have also been defined, which specify the status and needs of that particular person.
Chronic homelessness. These people are often stereotyped as the ‘skid-row homeless because they usually stay within the shelter system on a long-term basis, rather than as a temporary arrangement. They are usually older, suffer from disabilities, or have serious substance abuse issues. Although people of this type are more permanent, they represent a much smaller proportion of the homeless population.
Transitional homelessness. The transitionally homeless individual enters the shelter system for just one stay, which only lasts for a short period. They tend to be younger and have become homeless due to some catastrophic event. Typically, they move to more stable housing after this short stay in the shelter system. The transitionally homeless make up the majority of the homeless population and also have the highest rate of turnover.
Episodic homelessness. Individuals that frequently drift in and out of homelessness are referred to as the episodically homeless. Amazingly, they are usually young, but unlike transitional homeless individuals, the episodically homeless are often chronically unemployed and plagued by medical issues, mental illness, and substance abuse problems.
Cyberbullying and shaming
Cyberbullying can have a very deep psychological, emotional, and social impact on its victim. In many instances, this form of bullying targets a person’s appearance, social status, and inability to fit in. Its heinous intent is to embarrass, humiliate, and shame the victim. And sadly to say, the victim is usually struggling with life already.
The fact is that cyberbullying has been going on in our society for a very long time, and everyone knows good and well that it’s been going on. While it happens to both children and adults, it is especially damaging to children. The problem is that it has only gotten worse. With both the pandemic and the presidential election taking place, online hostility increased considerably.
Even before the problems of 2020, cyberbullying had already become a severe enough problem that many employers were addressing it at the workplace. This is because attacks are being delivered in so many forms, such as social media, emails, text messages, and messaging apps. Employers got involved because bullies were impersonating co-workers online and publicly sharing their secrets from work or their personal life.
A Pew Research Study revealed that four out of ten Americans were experiencing some type of online harassment. More than 60% of them considered this a major problem and felt there was little distinction between free speech and what should be identified as an online safety issue.
Everything else aside, the biggest and most painful scars of cyberbullying is suffered by our children. Here are the biggest reasons why children get bullied online:
- They get bullied because of how they look.
- They get bullied because of their interests and hobbies.
- They get harshly judged and criticized for what they wear.
- They get bullied because of their sexual orientation.
Our society not only turns a blind eye to the cruelty of animals but condones it — whether through legislation or indifference. For instance, it is perfectly legal to raise chickens in hideous conditions to slaughter them later. It’s hard to be crueler than that to another living being.
Animal activists have long stated that there’s not enough of us fighting for the rights of animals. If everyone began looking at animals in terms of their place in the world, we would see less animal cruelty.
For those of us who worship God, we know that humankind was given dominion over animals, but that also means respecting them and taking care of them — after all, they, too, are God’s creatures. Even our ancient ancestors saw value in their animals. What would they sacrifice to their God or gods? Their finest animal.
Yet today, animal cruelty occurs everywhere, and not just in the animal agriculture industry. It could be taking place in your neighbor’s house at this moment or some makeshift rural gathering in your community. Or it could be simple as someone kicking their puppy for having an accident in the house.
This remains a big problem for animal rights activists. So much animal abuse occurs behind closed doors, making it hard to report. When we don’t see the abuse, we tend to believe it doesn’t exist. But this is not the case at all. Animal cruelty is a systemic problem passed down from generation to generation, and from culture to culture.
There’s a good reason why most jurisdictions enlist animal control officers. These law enforcement officers investigate animal abuse cases, prosecute any offenders, and rescue animals that were victimized. But we cannot forget the fact that they are only useful when we report the abuse.