I don’t really bother with the news anymore. Don’t watch it much. Or read it or listen to it. The reasons are many and vary between everything seeming to be opinion rather than fact and screaming rather than discussion and the fact that it’s usually the latest celebrity scandal that gets the majority of the coverage.
Nonetheless, I turned on the news last Monday evening just before watching Jack Bauer do his part to save the country. In the process, I found another reason why I don’t really bother with the news anymore.
Everything’s bad, isn’t it? I mean really, really bad. I asked my parents the other day if things were this bad before, back when I was my children’s age. Yes, they said. The economy was worse. Jobs were more scarce. They didn’t have terrorists to worry about, at least not that much. They had the Russians instead. They thought the Russians were worse. I think that’s true.
But still, things are bad. There are earthquakes and volcanoes and floods. Wars and rumors of wars. Violence upon violence. Bickering in Washington.
It’s easy to watch the news and decide to give up. Not on the world, maybe. But definitely on the people in it.
Despite all of that opinionating and screaming, despite all the bad, that’s still not why I’ve boycotted the news. The real reason is that I get only half the story. Every story. And it’s the bad half.
The news on that particular Monday night centered around a terrorist bombing in the Moscow subway system. Thirty dead. A bus accident in New Mexico. Sixteen dead. A suicide bombing in Afghanistan. Seven dead.
Tragedies, the news anchor said. And he was right. They were tragic and evil and senseless.
There was video of each scene. Pictures of covered bodies. Vows of impending justice from the authorities. Bad. More bad. Bad upon bad. And I began to get that sinking feeling that comes when I start to believe that the world is going to hell and dragging every good person along for the ride.
It’s tough to feel like you’re on a ride that’s going too fast to jump off, and all you can do his hang on and hope you can laugh when it’s all finally over.
But then the story switched back to Moscow. New footage had just been obtained—BREAKING NEWS said the bottom half of the screen—that showed the moments just after the blast. The wounded were being tended to by medical personnel. Police were interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence.
And there in the far corner of the screen sat a young woman in jeans and a black top. Mid-thirties, dazed and hurting. The Russian equivalent of an EMT tended to a nasty cut on her head.
Yet another victim, I thought.
But then she did something neither the EMT nor I expected. The young lady didn’t request a stretcher or a trip to the hospital.
She stood up and walked away.
It was an act of supreme defiance. She would not be a victim. It was as if those behind the bombing had asked her this question—What will you do now? and she had answered I will carry on.
That’s the half the news never shows. It’s also the half that people need to hear about.
Don’t just show me the dead, show me the living. The survivors. The ones who faced hell and survived by the grace of God, and then picked themselves up and carried on.
Because in the end, that’s all we can do—hang on tight and smile when it’s over.