Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What America Is Known For

If a bomb goes off in Boston, I take notice. The same goes for Madrid or Paris or London. But I seem to gloss over headlines like “89 killed in suicide blast in east Afghanistan.”

Why?

Well, I’m not at all happy that a suicide bomber blew up his explosives-packed car near a busy market. It’s just that this is what Afghanistan is known for. Bombings happen every other day over there, it seems.

It’s still tragic, don’t get me wrong. But it barely feels like news to someone like me, who thankfully has nothing to do with the bloody picture.

In recognizing this propensity, I also recognized that it isn’t at all right. And then I started thinking about what America is known for.

Nine years ago, when I studied abroad in England, I would have said we were known for Hollywood and George W. Bush. I certainly got plenty of questions or comments about both, with the former topic considered praiseworthy in my hostland’s eyes and the latter being horrid.

Today, I’m not really sure I’d get the same reactions if I spent any significant time over there…

I mean, as my reaction – or lack thereof – to the Afghanistan bombing shows, people usually form their opinions about other countries from the media: books, radio, television/movies or the news. And what is all over the news these days?

Our immigration problem is, for one. Our debt and teetering economy for another. Our disrespectful president for a third. Our gang problems for another.

Just today, right up there with the Afghanistan bomb blast, was an article about a rookie cop who was killed in a shootout in Jersey City, New Jersey after responding to an armed robbery. Afterward, many in the community banded together to honor his shooter, who also died.

That’s right. They banded together to honor shooter. Not the victim. The shooter. And according to the Associated Press, the shooter’s wife told News 12 New Jersey that “she was sorry for Santiago’s family but that her husband should have killed more officers if they were planning to kill him. She later apologized for the comments.”

Sadly, that doesn’t surprise me one bit considering the level of utter ignorance I see personally or read about every day. My fellow countrymen and women are becoming more and more consumed with themselves and nothing else.

That’s what America is becoming known for: self-consumption and the resulting chaotic degradation. Really, I’m not sure if bombings would be any more deadly in the end. Though I'm absolutely certain I prefer being known for George W. Bush.

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