Thursday, August 16, 2007

Why are we attracted to tragedy?

Last week, a mine collapsed in Central Utah, trapping 6 miners. Almost 11 days later, they still have not been found. And tonight, another portion of the mine collapsed, killing three rescue workers.

This whole thing makes me so sad and I must admit that I have been quite obsessed with the story, reading every article the minute it is published online, absorbing every single detail, anticipating what will happen next.

But why? I do not know anyone affected by this tragedy. And although I've lived in Utah my entire life, I've only driven through the town of Huntington once.

I remember on September 11, 2001 I was sleeping in when my mom kept calling and I kept ignoring her calls. Finally, when I did wake up to answer one she frantically exclaimed, "Some planes just flew into the World Trade Center in New York. Turn on the TV!" I immediately did and really didn't tear myself away from the attack until weeks later. I own books and magazines dedicated to the rescue efforts and when I read them now, I still tear up.

So why are we, as a society, attracted to tragedy? What draws us to it? It's depressing and traumatic. I can't get over the feelings I have right now about this awful tragedy. I feel so helpless about everything in life knowing that in only an instant, it can all disappear and there is nothing we can do about it.

And still, we watch. We hit refresh on our browser waiting for more news to come out. We grieve and mourn with the families who are being torn apart. We pray for people we do not know.

And we wait.

2 comments:

that one girl said...

I have to disagree with you on this. Not all of us are addicted to tragedy. I don't watch the news, and I don't read the newspaper. Why? Mainly because I get sick of hearing and reading only negative things.

The world is a sucky place half the time, and I just don't care to hear about it.

Yes I feel badly for the miners and their families. But I don't watch the news updates; I don't read every article in the newspaper about it. Hell, I couldn't tell you anything about the story except that there are some miners trapped. I have no idea how long they've been down there, but I know it's long enough that they probably are no longer living. Yes, it's extremely sad. I feel awful for the families. But I don't surround myself with the news.

Does this make me a bad person because I don't focus on other people's tragedy? Maybe. But at the same time, it's really none of my business....

meg said...

well, i was kinda talking about society as a whole and not necessarily you as an individual....um, okay...

but honestly though, when you look at the top TV shows and movies and things that interest people, they are kinda obsessed with bad things that happen to other people. i think it's just a cultural thing.

you, obviously, are an exception.