Disillusionment is one of the major sources of my mental health issues, and humanity seems to provide bucket loads of it to my door step, on a very regular basis. Today London had another terror attack in which 5 people were killed and 40 were injured*. Naturally in such tragic circumstances it is understandable to be negatively affected. My heart goes out to the families and friends of anyone affected. It is a terrible day for anyone involved and I couldn’t imagine the horrors of even knowing someone in such a situation. Also huge respect to the emergency services and civilians who were swift in their actions to prevent further casualties.
The deeper more existential thoughts come shortly after this initial reaction. Especially when I see the hyperbolic reaction of people, countries and organisations. Immediately fighting and scoring points. The issues struck me one by one and the media coverage was first to hit.
When you don’t publicly fund news organisations they have to rely on advertising for income, the amount they get is then based entirely on the number of views it gets. Straight away the equilibrium shifts dramatically. Your first task now as a news agency is no longer to show news; but to get views. This is a very important distinction, one which was evident today.
So how do you get views? Well you get there first – to the scene. You film everything, you get more angles, more interviews and speculate! Speculate! Speculate! You have to stir up emotion – positive, negative we don’t care! People must keep watching. And that is exactly what they did.
The level of decorum shown by the news outlets was so low that you’ll have to search the Mariana Trench to find it. Sky News, amongst a host of others, began showing helicopter shots of dead bodies and gory shots of injured people. Now, I don’t know about you but if I’m told someone has been run over, I don’t need to see their mangled remains to believe it. Or when someone has been flung over a bridge onto their head, I will also believe you. Not to mention it is a major national news story, these pictures will reach virtually everyone – including the families of the people being shown.
What a lovely way to find out your family member has been horrifically murdered.
The secondary reaction comes from the public, typically through social media, which has been a sports field of political point scoring today. Everything from blaming refugees, blaming certain politicians for supporting certain policies, to outright muslim bans, and a barrage of racist twaddle. The lack of respect, intelligence and understanding astonishes me, and makes me disillusioned in equal measure. I don’t feel part of humanity when I see that, nor do I want to be.
I almost want to hibernate for the next 10 years just so I don’t have to catch wind of Tonald Dump’s* view on this. Not to mention, had you scrolled further down your news website today, you may have noticed that a US led drone attack bombed a school in Raqqa, Syria, killing 33 innocent men, women and children, who were using it as a make shift refugee shelter. This is in addition to the 52 civilians killed in a US raid last week.
In all my days as an anti-terror strategist (currently 0 days), I don’t think I would ever recommend killing entire families of innocent civilians, especially if I want them to like me.
Donald Trump Tonald Dump however, doesn’t agree with my strategy. That is because, just last week he sought to reduce the legislation on killing civilians, which currently states you cannot attack any location if there are certain to be civilian casualties. Dump is trying to change this so that he can legally kill them. The US already kills a lot of civilians, but they just want to change the law so they don’t have to pretend they’re not doing it*. If I was to design a policy to stir up hate and anger for one country that would be exactly it.
More killing is inevitable, on both sides. I mean, you have a country which invests 600 billion dollars a year into its military (US), which by the way is more military spending than the next 9 countries put together. If you are spending that much, you need an enemy. Otherwise you are just a bunch of angry people in a field with lots of expensive equipment. Yes, IS will eventually be defeated, but another enemy will
be created emerge.
Who knows, maybe my criticisms are misguided, maybe there is no better use for 600 billion dollars. Thankfully the US only has a homeless population about the size of Northern Ireland, 48 million people without access to healthcare and the highest tuition fees in the world. Nope I was wrong, more bombs please!
Mentally speaking though war is simply no good for anyone. You have the primary people effected; these are the soldiers and civilians in the direct line of combat – for instance 49% of all returnees in world war 1 returned because of mental issues, not physical. The next level is the aid workers and non combat personnel, who develop a wide range of mental issues from being close to war. Then there’s the families who are indirectly affected, and then the general public and so on. Now don’t get me wrong, I am very aware how far away from the heart of the conflict I am, and I absolutely am at the back of the queue when it comes to such serious events like this. But it is undoubtedly an effect of war. I am disillusioned, hopeless and depressed because of it, and I am sure I am not the only one.
I’m disillusioned because the terrorist threats are a creation of our doing, and current policy and ill-education only adds fuel to the fire – as does money. The effect for me, is that I retreat, I don’t want to share with the world, or be part of it. My mental health concerns pale massively in comparison to the plight of people physically involved in any of these events, but the effects on mental health from terrorism should be considered a worthy side note. This war we have created is both physically and mentally damaging to so many in society and we, in our ignorance only want to point fingers and score points.
The facts are there to see. We need to educate ourselves.
*Those numbers may change.
*Tonald Dump, who may or may not be the president of a country, shall be called this because it was revealed today that he is trying to take a 17-year-old girl to court because she made a website for a school project that let you rub his face with kittens – not a joke. His team has been instructed to take anyone to court who uses his name in a way he does not agree – FREEEEEDOM.
*If you’re interested the US currently kills 10 civilians for every enemy combatant – and that is a conservative figure, some have it as high as 128:1.