How do you respond to tragic news stories?

Two & Out
By James Peters
September 18, 2015 - 5:45pm Updated: October 12, 2015 - 11:28pm

Having spent a few years in this business now, I've told my audience about some awful things.

Car accidents, incurable diseases, terrorist attacks and war.

And I've told the audience about crime.

Lots and lots of crime.

It would be completely admirable of me to stand here and tell you that each story affects me emotionally because I know that there are human beings who are made victims by all of those horrible things.

But that's simply not the case.

The truth is, I've become desensitized to it all, and there's very little if anything that could shock or emotionally affect me.

I don't know whether that is a positive or a negative.

On some level, I have to stay detached in order to do what the audience expects.

On another level, the ability to feel empathy is something that defines us as human, and it would be a shame to lose that ability.

Sometimes, I'd like people to join me in looking at events coldly and logically.

I get frustrated, for example, when I see people who seemingly should support the idea that a person accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty, which is a foundation of our society, then turn around and call for a person's execution just hours after that person's arrest.

It was a widespread phenomenon this week reacting to the events of Blairmore, Alberta.

But then if people only reacted coldly and logically, would there have been the response we have seen to the refugee crisis?

Would people have looked at the photo of that little boy lying dead on the beach and concluded he was just one of thousands to die in the past few years, nothing that noteworthy?

No.

Instead, the reaction to that image has raised the global profile of the refugee crisis, to where it can no longer be pushed aside, not even by those of us in the countries least affected.

We can't totally divorce ourselves from our emotions, and in this case, an emotional response served us well.

Most of the time however, applying logic is the only way to move forward as a society, and the only way for some individuals to stay sane.

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