I grew up during the Viet Nam War. As a amateur of fact, I received my draft notice three months before they stopped the draft.
I remember every day my mother would have the six-o’ clock news on the TV, as she made dinner. The opening story was, of course, the war. The report would always start with the “body count.” On the screen would appear the number of American soldiers that had been killed in action the day before, as well as a running total. The announcer would recite these stats in a somber voice, and then plunge into an account of the day’s fighting.
Now, my mother was very anti-War. She actually conducted teach-ins to protest it. She was a fighter, and was always on the lookout for ammunition to bolster the argument against the American presence in that country.
But even she knew there were limits.
Counting dead bodies was just too much for her. I recall her crying out angrily, “There is no need to drive me crazy!” Even though I was a kid, I picked up that these newscasts were upsetting people.
Of course, as an adult I know now how a politicized media will manipulate the news to sway public opinion. To stir people up. To make them scared, or angry. Or feeling desperate.
Or maybe the “journalists” are themselves angry and scared, and don’t have the maturity or professionalism to give any perspective.
That’s what is happening today with the reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic. No perspective. Everybody is becoming obsessed with people dying - because that is the first item being reported on the “news.”
The “body count,” all over again.
Look: it is sad when anyone dies, for any reason. And each person should be given their due tribute. That’s the job of families and communities.
As a nation, we need to be mindful of all the tragedies that befall us, and try to generate the resources needed to deal with them. We can’t just go chasing after the latest crisis and make it the national priority, only to chase after a new one next week.
National life is full of problems, and we must together resolve them all. To fill in the picture, here are some stats about causes of death in the world this year, as of April 1. You can see that we have many challenges to face. Corona is just one.
Let’s not drive ourselves crazy as we meet them. That will not help us accomplish anything.
Causes of death, as of 4/1/20. (CD - live link)
Suicides this year
Communicable disease deaths this year
Deaths caused by smoking this year
Deaths caused by alcohol this year
Abortions this year