Dealing with horrific news stories

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Dealing with horrific news stories

Here in Montréal, we are being bombarded with the gory and sick details of the murder etc of Jun Lin, and learn that the body of "a small black dog" was also among the finds. The cruelty to non-human animals in this case was specifically excluded, and yet some of us would like to emphasize that those who treat other living beings such often go on to humans.

I can't bear to read the news, but it is repeated over and over on the radio (and doubtless on TV, but I don't watch TV - however nowadays with the Internet the boundaries have disolved.

And of course there is gruesome international news, including the ISIS stories which are indeed horrible, but played up (in contrast to other state and non-state torture and killings) in a deliberate stoking of war fever.

Are you directly, emotionally affected by these stories? If so, what do you do to protect yourselves and vulnerable people?

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

I've shut it out.

I go out of my way to avoid the story.

It's already a circus and it should be ignored.

*cue up TV movie of the week*

*cue up right wing bloodlust*

So predictable.


I made a typing error early this morning. Jun Lin, of course. I refuse to name the killer.

I try to black it out, but it is on every newscast, and I only listen to Radio-Canada and CBC (as well as community radio), not the private stations.


Yes, emotionally affected, like anyone else encountering the news I suppose.  I agree with alan that protecting oneself would likely need to involve shutting it all out, because continuing to absorb it is certainly not the direction to go in if that is the aim.  Otherwise, it must take a highly skilled and disciplined individual who can read and not be affected in some way. 

The evolution of species is a source of hope, because it can only be regressed and not stopped entirely, barring an extinction event in whichever way this could occur.  Not in terms of our own living futures, whatever is left of it, but for the generations to come, there is the history of the progression of human thought, along with better standards of behaviour, to demonstrate that all things eventually change.  Typically, we don't get to see evolutionary change occurring before our eyes.  Throughout our entire anthropological history, stretching back 10's of thousands of years and beyond, it could be argued that social consciousness only began to reach its infancy during the enlightenment.  Prior to that, humanity was governed by a completely undeveloped fetus in that regard.  We're not there yet by any stretch, but in 2014 we're still striving toward achieving our first unassisted steps toward recognizing the inherent rights of everyone, without having them 'bestowed' on account of an economic imperative.  The way rights have been apportioned to the demanding masses has had more to do with the usefulness of people to the overarching structure, rather than for everyone's own sake.  To extend the analogy, I believe the violence that we see inflicted everywhere amounts to humans falling on our faces as part of the process in learning how to walk.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

I agree with those who limit their exposure, etc. When I recently posted some links regarding alleged War Crimes in Ukraine I deliberately placed a warning there. I think it's lazy not to provide readers with some guidance about the content of links and let readers chose to read or not to read.

On the flip side, however, if I want to find out about a subject then I look more deeply and give myself time to understand in depth. That too is a remedy, as is asking myself the question: why am I looking at this? Do I really need to? What can I do to help? etc.

I was reading about FN people who participated in the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (re Residential School Atrocities in particular) and one of the authors noted that the idea of simply provided a record of such atrocities is not good enough. In fact, having to tell the stories over and over, with nothing done about it, may do more harm....

All good questions.

Western mass media (TV, etc) routinely presents matters in such a way as to demoralize people about a chaoic world in which nothing makes sense and the viewer can do nothing about the terrible events taking place. Media that is ever more gory, sexualized, full of lurid and repulsive details is like the proverbial car crash on the highway as you drive by. It's hard not to look.

Again, a deeper understanding of events sometimes is a remedy. So choose those stories that matter to you and read more deeply, understand more, and maybe you can do something about.


I don't think there is any one answer, but it does make me think of those who have to work in close proximity to that kind of horrible stuff.



I don't know what I would have done if I had been called for jury duty. I think I know at least one of the jurors.


Re: Jury duty: Do they not interview jurors first? Does one have the right to refuse exposure to disturbing material? If not, what power does the court have to make you view or listen to it? If you closed your eyes and put your fingers in your ears every time disturbing evidence was presented, would this not simply be a way of disqualifying yourself?