Standing in line for the giant ferris wheel when we were at the fair last week, I looked around at all the people there on a Thursday. My first thought was that I was glad I wasn’t there on a Saturday or Sunday! Crowds are not my thing at all. I like calmer, happy, gentler fun and laughter; crowds tend to be too manic and out-of-control for me.
Looking at the people in line and around the fair, a second thought struck me: the Colorado movie theater shooter. That shooting in the theater was such a random event; not the act of a foreign terrorist hell-bent on terrorizing Americans; it was a guy armed with guns (a military-style semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and a pistol), an American, a student. If it could happen there, it could surely happen at a fair packed with people. Sure, they check our bags as we enter, but it’s a cursory check, quick, brief.
It saddened me that I even had that thought. It saddened me that any gathering could be a target for someone armed to kill with guns. I wish I hadn’t thought it.
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Last week, I heard a news interview with a young woman. “I went to that camp. I was at the camp where the shooter was a counselor. I just can’t believe it! It’s just so … so … surreal! To think that I … I was just amazed when I made the connection. It’s so surreal,” she said in breathless, awestruck tones. The news reporter went on to say that the shooter had been a counselor at the camp … in 2008. Not recently. Four years ago, in 2008. He also went on to say that the young woman never actually met the shooter, not ever. She just happened to have attended a camp where the shooter had one time been a counselor. Years ago.
This is news? The reporter went to journalism school to make these kinds of non-connections between events and people? There is NO connection. Why does the media make these stretches and try to create a connection that does not exist? Why did that young woman feel that this was “so surreal?” She never met the guy. She has zero connection to him. Since I live in the same state that he’s from, am I connected? No.
Talking with other friends, this seems to be fairly common among some young people, trying to connect themselves to media events in some way, any way, even when they’re not connected in any way. Why this stretching? Is it for some measure of fame, false as it is? These false connections diminish the real facts, diminish the real news, diminish the real connections that could lead to some understanding of these events. I don’t understand why everyone wants to be a media darling, falsely attaching themselves to tragic events. It’s so surreal.