On the graphic images of violence on the news

On the graphic images of violence on the news.

I can accept seeing videos or photographs of uprisings, rebellions, bombings. Sure, I cringe in horror and shame. These images make me aware in my non-violent world of how bad it can be. They keep me from forgetting the horror of our actions toward each other in times of trouble, resistance, battle or war. It grieves my heart to see the senseless hurting of each other. The desire to control. What power does.

Perhaps seeing these images, their contexts, keeps me from becoming ethically flaccid.

Watching riot police beating dissenters is hardly a pleasant activity, yet the news floods my vision with such depictions.

This is the world we live in. It's a tough world. Behave or be beaten.

Forceful subliminal training. Of a sort. The theory is either you emulate it, which horrifies everyone even more, or it makes you want to stay under cover, stay out of trouble, be an ordinary person doing whatever whatever regime or government mandates.

In Canada, our news is nowhere near as violent as American news, but that's another story.

What I wanted to get to with this post is that while watching some of the atrocities in the political world is perhaps passable, the images of terribly wounded, dying or dead people crosses the line for me. It becomes a voyeuristic media circus that takes enjoyment in human suffering and which does not take into account a person's privacy.

If someone said, 'Sure, take a video of me screaming in horror and shock in the street with my arm blown off, I want the world to see my pain,' that would be fine.

But to blast images around the world of people in the throes of violent mutilations, for I don't know what else one would call the effects of guns, machetes, and bombs, robs them further of their power.

If I was shot in the street does that mean I would lose my right to privacy and that in my weakened and wounded state it would be permissible to take photographs of me and stream them in international newscasts?

What a horrible thought.

Yet this is what we allow our news reporters and producers to do daily.

It's demeaning to all.

The graphic depiction of violence does not reduce violence.

It further dehumanizes an already dehumanized landscape.

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