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prolificus's avatar

What has been your reaction to national tragedies since 9/11 (if not before then)?

Asked by prolificus (6285 points ) August 8th, 2011 from iPhone

For me, I recall becoming emotional (sad, mournful, angry, etc.) prior to and during 9/11. However, after 9/11 sunk in and changed my sense of security, I’ve become numb to national tragedies. If I’m watching the news and see something (such as the recent tragedy in Afghanistan), I think this is sad, but I feel numb. Sometimes I’ll have an emotional reaction if I talk about it with someone, though.

How has it been for you?

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9 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

I don’t think that you reaction is unusual. I woudn’t ascribe it to 9/11 as much as repeated tragedies.

If you examine it, you may find you aren’t numb to tragedies to which you feel an emotional connection. I felt connected to 9/11 because despite being in California, there were people I knew near there, and I (like a lot of people) wondered if my city would be next.

Despite my regret and sadness about the SEALS that died in the helicopter crash, the circumstances of their tragedy were different: it was in wartime, on a smaller scale, and I feel less connected to the individuals. I am sure when I learn about their families I will feel a reaction, but it’s not like 9/11.

marinelife's avatar

I have always felt difficulty connecting to national tragedies. I remember when Kennedy was assassinated, a lot of the other kids were walking around school crying and many teachers were crying, but I felt nothing. I didn’t know him.

tom_g's avatar

There are horrific tragedies going on all the time. If we were completely and emotionally invested in these, I am not sure we could go through the actions required for living. The “national tragedies” are usually just the news-sanctioned ones that for some reason or another are declared as events that are supposed to affect us. As awful as this may sound to some, I am more emotionally invested in some awful events that have happened to my coworker than the 30 soldiers that died in the copter crash.

JLeslie's avatar

At the time of 9/11 I was very depressed for days. I was also freaked that my sister, who lived in lower Manhattan, called me daily crying from the streets for a week. She was depressed also, traumatized, and was a visiting nurse and was lugging around heavy bags of supplies and her computer with no access to public transportation, and covering other nurses who called in sick. She was carded at many corners, because they had areas blocked off unless you were medical or lived in the area.

The event did not dramatically change how I react to these things. I always believed beforehand that there are people who want to kill others, sometimes in mass. Oklahoma city, bombings in Europe, attack on our ship near Yemen, gas released in a Japanese subway, hell just being Jewish and knowing my people were rounded up 70 years ago to be dumped in mass graves was enough to know the crap that goes on in the world. Forget about the very long history of being enslaved and murdered. I am always shocked people felt so safe, rather immune to this sort of tragedy. I find it naive. Not that I obsess that these dangers exist, I just always knew they did.

filmfann's avatar

Following 9/11, I spent days and days glued to the television trying to make sense of it all.
No tragedy before or since made me feel this way.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The first thought was, “Why limit it to national tragedies?” 9/11 was a scary time for us in the US. The tentacles of its effect still have a firm grip on a large number of people who are still dealing with the aftermath. In the big picture though, a larger number of us have moved on, and some more quickly than others.

Imagine what it would be like to have experienced the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean and its aftermath. The same goes for the earthquake/tsunami that hit Japan and the earthquake in Haiti. These situations will impact more people than 9/11 and will take much longer to recover from. While they do not evoke the same fear in me that 9/11 did, I don’t think that it has caused a lack of empathy for others in a worse situation.

prolificus's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer – I agree with you about those natural disasters. Those will have much longer-term effects, and have dramatically changed every-day life for whole communities, countries, etc.

When natural disasters strike, I do react and respond in ways that fit the situation.

In reference to this question, though, I’m thinking about man-made tragedies.

Where I live, almost every day lately there is a story in the news about a young child who was killed by gunshot, most likely due to gang activity. It had happened so frequently lately, that I just feel helpless and numb. (I don’t live in the same area, but the same city as these tragedies.)

I feel anger towards man-made terror, but I’ve learned over time that my heart-felt desire to stop the violence will do nothing to change things. Crazy happens. Terror happens. The only thing I can do is care for those around me, be a part of my community, contribute resources whenever possible to those in need, and pray for peace.

I’m just sad that I feel numb. I’m angry that repetitive violence has been allowed to exist. I think, one person or a group of people can do nothing to stop it; but a nation, a whole society, can make subtle changes to limit its destructive pattern.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Nothing has changed.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Sad but nothing shook me emotionally or has stayed with except seeing a video of a man still alive having his head cut off. If I don’t know the people personally, celebrities, politicians, busloads of children, etc. then I feel it’s a horrible occurrence but it doesn’t impact my day.

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