On Monday, Nov. 21, six families in Chattanooga, Tennessee hugged their children for the last time. NBC News reported that days before Thanksgiving, a school bus carrying 37 kids crashed and split apart, killing six and injuring more than 30.
Community members stepped into action. Blood donation lines filled, food drive boxes were stuffed, money was donated and those who were in need were helped.
“We have had people who are refusing to leave until they give blood,” said Mindy Quinn of Blood Assurance, a blood bank in the Chattanooga area.
But what did you do on Monday, Nov. 21?
Sat in class frustrated at your professor? Complained about not getting the whole week off for Thanksgiving? Showed your support on Facebook with a one worded comment of “praying”?
Did you even know something happened before investigations began?
As a nation, our priorities were not aligned on this November day. A group of people on the other side of the country had their lives completely changed, yet many across the nation go on without a single thought.
Our priorities lie on how we can better ourselves, in our own circle of influence, when we should be looking on how we can help and better others’ lives. Sitting in front of a computer, giving words of encouragement may be helpful at times, but it won’t be what helps those in need the most.
Tragic events have become merely a speed bump in the day-to-day life of American citizens — where you slow down just for a moment, tweet a sad quote and continue on with the day. We find this to occur every so often. We have become desensitized to tragedy, and we have confused our efforts on how to address such tragic events.
In 2012, Spy cell phone south USA TODAY identified that once every two weeks a mass killing occurred. These killings ranged from robberies to shootings.The Association for Safe International Travel showed that over 37,000 people die in road crashes each year. We have become desensitized to tragedy.
James Alan Fox, criminologist from Northwestern University, said people are surprised when they hear so many tragedies happen in a year.
“They only think it’s random,” Fox said.
In times of tragedy, many people turn to social media to give support and encouragement. This shouldn’t be the first response when there is so much more that can be done to help others.
Posting on social media that you are praying won’t do much if you don’t actually do it and put forth action. The only thing this will do is slightly clear your guilty conscience of not doing anything in time of tragedy.
While prayer is an incredible thing, taking action is also incredible. We all can do something. Our actions can speak louder than words.
“Compassion shuts down because we feel we cannot make a difference or don’t have the means to help,” said Jane Dutton, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan.
Just because we may be across the country doesn’t mean nothing can be done. Sitting around and waiting for someone else to do the work for you isn’t an option.
In the United States, every two seconds someone needs blood, according to the Red Cross.
The American Red Cross responds to an emergency every eight minutes.
Feeding America, the United States Hunger Relief Organization, explained that in 2015, 13.5 percent of Americans were in poverty.
People are still affected and still hurting after the tragedy stops trending on Twitter. Just because the event isn’t on your computer screen doesn’t mean that it has suddenly been resolved.
A new Pew Research survey shows that 62 percent of United States adults get their news from social media.