Friday, November 6, 2009

Feeling Slapped Around by the News

It really started earlier this week, but it has continued. The feeling of way too much bad news. Let's see now...let's just list the unpleasant stories of the week. No links. No particular order, just as they come to mind: Shooting at Fort Hood, 13 dead...shooting in Orlando, 1 dead...a murder just yards from where The Observer washes clothes...3 missing softball players turn up dead in a Jeep in a videotapes his hanging of a 3 month old kitten (kitten survived)--tried to hang kitten because he was mad at his girlfriend...80+year old man beaten up by a woman in Prairie Village..10 bodies and a skull in the serial killer's house in Cleveland...unemployment highest since 1983...Excelsior Springs woman abducted, killed...stoned and texting JoCo teen driver charged with the death of the lady gardening in her yard...Mayor misusing money at City Hall...Power and Light District buried in controversy over dress code...I just checked in at and there was a story about a lady being killed by an SUV at the car wash in Grandview--the vehicle was being driven by its owner...damn Yankees won the World Series.

OK, that last item was a joke. Sort of.

It's hard to imagine life without information. Back in time, such as the 1400s and early 1500s, information travelled at the speed of foot and horse. Very rare was the person that ventured beyond their village. News traveled very slowly, if at all. Then, starting with the movable type printing press, inventions that helped transmit information began to come about. The press enabled people to preserve information and pass it on; pamphlets and newspapers were an indispensable part of the American Revolution. News started moving faster. The Bible was opened up by both Martin Luther and the press to the people in their native tongue. Then next the telegraph; info over distance, very fast. Then the locomotive and rail travel. Then photography. Then the telephone. Then radio. Then motorized transportation--cars. Then television. Then the computer. Then satellite transmission. Then the Internet. Then cellular communication. Each invention coming quicker on the heels of the last, giving easy access to richer, fuller and faster transmission of news and information. Now, with your Blackberry or iPhone, you can be in full contact with many sources of information all the time.

Sometimes, you just have to take a timeout. Stories of bad stuff tend to make the news, not the good things that happen every day. You can get a warped view of life if all you see is the bad stuff. I am not advocating taking a head-in-the-sand approach. There is evil in the world. The news is the superconcentrated recitation of evil deeds. It has to be taken with caution like any strong medicine. When it seems that the news is just pouring it on, take a breath and remember that life, while not perfect and sometimes quite painful, has many wonderful joys and good things. And maybe, unplug for a little while.

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