I feel like lately in the news all I’ve been hearing about is people dying. Not like that’s something new… as the saying goes, “If it bleeds, it leads.”
But for some reason, the most recent round of death reporting has really gotten to me. Its not the fact that its being reported on (because there’s clearly nothing that can be done about that) its the way we as a society are reacting to it; myself included.
When someone dies, it is a deeply personal and saddening experience for their loved ones. This seems like it should be common knowledge, but its not exactly something we honor.
I just saw a movie preview for Final Destination 5 yesterday, which of course is two hours action-packed with people dying. That’s the whole premise. It makes me sick to think that there is a whole movie series based around death being a force that comes after people… and it is supposed to entertain us. But clearly if the fifth installment is being released in theaters, it’s selling tickets.
Here are some thoughts to consider through the lens of the recent killings in Norway:
It’s really disheartening for a culture of people when one of their own decides to take the lives of others. Usually when we think of terrorist attacks, we think of it as an outsider coming in; not an attack from within.
There’s plenty of discussion around this. Whether its the media being upset that the shooter is being presented as an anti-Muslim rather than a Christian extremist (which I agree is wrong) or Glenn Beck comparing the victims at the camp to Hitler’s Nazi Youth, there’s insensitivity abound… mainly from the mouths of Americans.
In Norway, you hear a different story. In an interesting post on GOOD.is today, Senior Editor Cord Jefferson discussed what Breivik’s punishment could be. The death penalty is never mentioned. And its not something that the Norwegians are demanding, either.
When Jefferson asked norwegian Vegar Svanemyr to compare Norway’s system of dealing with a mass murderer to America’s, here’s what he had to say:
America’s justice system is painfully broken. The lengthy prison sentences received here … only serve capital interests and a medieval sense of revenge, not a modern, just, and caring society. The focus always needs to be on rehabilitating those who can function normally again in society, and containing the very few who can’t.
It’s interesting to hear that perspective from someone who’s country was just attacked. I doubt most Americans would react that way if it were to happen here. Just think of when Bin Laden was killed. There were literally celebrations in the streets.
It’s truly sad.