Where IS our outrage?

12 Sep

Remember Michael Vick? You know, the dude with the dogfighting?

You remember. The story that stirred up more emotion than when Kobe Bryant was accused of rape. The story that incensed everyone to this point beyond belief. Or at least, a point I couldn’t grasp.

Roland Martin makes some very pertinent points in this article, asking us why so many of us, us the reader, get upset over firecrotch or Paris’ jail sentence and yet having nary a word for repulsive, horrible events like the case of Megin Williams, who was held hostage and tortured. We barely blink at that, saving our venom for Sarah Silverman or Perez Hilton.

I am guilty just as everyone else.

But I don’t believe we do this on purpose. I don’t think we willingly get up in the morning to disregard the suffering of another human being while castigating the man who had the nerve to fight dogs. I think we blind ourselves to the realities that hurt too much.

Who can imagine, who wants to imagine that down any street in our countries, a woman can be held and abused for days. Who wants to think about the rapes and murders that occur every minute, the lives shattered. It’s so much easier to focus on the little things.

But we should focus on the “bad” news that makes us uncomfortable. It’s far too easy to ignore the bad news-I’ve had people ask me why I read about the horrible, tragic stories of mother’s killing their children, girls raped and murdered. I read it because on some level, I feel a duty to read it, a duty to honor their lives, to say their names quietly out loud, to affirm that they existed. That they mattered. But so many people don’t do this, preferring to never see even the biased news, floating around on a cloud and hoping the bad things won’t happen to them.

If we do not serve notice, who will? If everyone turns a collective head in the other direction, where will justice be found? Where will our moral boundaries be found? Are we really raising children who would be more outraged at Vick’s actions that the people alleged to have stabbed Ms. Williams as they called her “nigger”? Is that what we’ve come to?

I want to believe in people. I want to believe that you and I can do more. That we can read her story and encourage our elected officials to do something. To make a statement about the barbaric nature of sexual assault and domestic violence instead of a thundering clusterfuck speech devoted to someone fighting dogs.

What next, shoplifting is a crime punished harder than rape? Hell, I’m sure that’s the case already.

While it’s all relative, there are somethings that are horribly, terribly wrong. Bottom line wrong. And yet we still can’t seem to get it right.

ETA: More info on Megin here. And a picture, so we can make her exist, even if just for a moment.

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3 Responses to “Where IS our outrage?”

  1. Gwen September 13, 2007 at 4:58 pm #

    I read my feed reader backwards, so that’s why I’m getting to this now (if that makes sense ….).

    I think one thing that makes us “care” more about Michael Vick’s dogs and Paris Hilton’s whatever is that we have visual proof of it. You see that dog picture and you want to vomit, even if, like me, you don’t love dogs. But since rape and domestic violence victims are so often kept anonymous, or because the photographic evidence is deemed too disturbing for public consumption, we don’t have the same visceral reaction to the words on the page. Words on the page are easy to skim, or even ignore, but pictures? those are quick, immediate and simple to digest.

    Just a thought.

  2. thordora September 14, 2007 at 4:33 pm #

    I think some of it is that. The fact that we either can’t relate, or flat out don’t want to.

    But I think there is a certain amount of enforced blindness in people, a desire to ignore the things that need to be fixed. Hell, my post about Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell has three times the hits as this one. Something about outrage even keeps people from caring.

    Maybe we’re all just so numb that somethings we just avoid.

  3. radical mama September 15, 2007 at 9:32 pm #

    That story is so disturbing. Just so wrong.

    I’m outraged right along with you.

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