El Camino College Union

Filed under Opinion, Columns

Comfortably numb in the face of death

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As I waited in between classes, I chugged my scalding hot El Camino Cafe coffee and scarfed down a banana nut muffin attempting to pass the time.

Among the celebrity gossip, selfies, and food porn, I came across a tweet that held a video with the words in all caps: (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT). With a face of indifference, I clicked on it.

On the tiny screen I watched the confrontational video of an armed, Georgia Tech student being shot and killed by an on-duty police officer. Up until the video had ended I hadn’t fully processed what I was doing.

Suddenly, reality had hit. I just watched the life of someone come to an end all the while being in a crowded hallway with people coming and going past me in all directions. I was eating a muffin for Christ’s sake.

This realization made me come to the conclusion that as a society, we have normalized watching and spreading death. It’s not a secret, dying is normal and something that can’t be sheltered.

I believe so strongly in confronting death that I even have a tattoo that says “Death doesn’t discriminate” featuring the comforting image of the Grim Reaper.

And it’s completely okay to embrace and participate in the dialogue that comes with death. But what is not okay is putting the death of those who have recently passed online for everyone to see.

At first, I thought of this as a way to become enlightened on the many atrocities taking place in the black community. But as more footage came out, the less my heart sank and ached for the families of the unarmed victims.

I had become some jaded to witnessing death online that I thought of it as normal. But it isn’t, and shouldn’t be. The people in those videos are more than just pixels on a screen. They have families, friends, coworkers, even pets.

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget these things when we’ve been exposed to it so often.

So the next time you click something that comes with the prefaced “warning” label on it, take heed and think before you watch.

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About the Writer
Faith Petrie, Opinion, Arts, Social Media, and Managing Editor

Faith Petrie is a second semester, Journalism major at El Camino College. This is her second semester on The Union newspaper. She enjoys listening to a wide variety of music, rewatching classic movies, and buying books she’ll never read in her spare time. She hopes to transfer to California State University of Long Beach in the fall of 2018 to become a music journalist.

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Comfortably numb in the face of death