Baltimore. Ferguson. Cecil the Lion. Hearing those three things, you probably know about the outrage that has exploded due to speculation of extreme injustice. Breaking coverage filled every major news outlet for days when the Baltimore and Ferguson riots occurred. Today, people are outraged over the death of a lion and have caused so much uproar that the man who shot the lion has been forced to go into hiding.
While it is completely acceptable to become outraged when we hear something that we find unjust, we should ask ourselves if our priorities shift once mainstream media outlets stop covering a story. What type of story can the media stop covering, but will still be the highlight of any argument?
Just weeks ago, Kate Steinle was shot and killed in front of her father, in public, by an illegal immigrant. You may have heard of this story – it was covered in the news. However, when the story was brought to the world’s attention, were there riots? Were there overwhelming calls to have the illegal immigrant imprisoned for life? No. A man who killed a lion has had more intense public criticism than the man who took the life of a human being. Where is our culture?
All lives matter. They do. Your puppy dog’s life matters. Your mom’s life matters. Your life matters. Life is life. But, the fact that the media influences our culture into forgetting that an innocent woman’s life mattered – probably even more than that of a big cat – is a little disturbing. There are no riots in the time of the grief for a victim that was never fully heard. The lion has been heard, but people like Kate have been overshadowed.
And, as the media continues to point out injustices in our criminal justice system – which again, is still very important – the media neglects to show the black and white stories; the stories where there isn’t a need for a debate of what occurred, the stories that won’t immensely divide our nation. The stories like Kate’s are all too common, and all too ignored.
If a story will not divide a nation, then the story will either unite the nation or be ignored. The mainstream media does not want peace. People watch the news and talk shows for the argumentative debates. When everyone agrees, the debate element is lost, and the media fears that their viewers will be lost as well.
But, we must tackle the issues of the day from a new perspective. We must not try to pick a fight or start a debate to win. We must seek justice and unite. Most of us can probably agree that murder is bad. In that, the ways we might go about preventing and punishing murder can be different. However, we should not seek to pick a fight over the areas in which we disagree. We must seek to find a solution on the basis of where we do agree.
A nation divided is a nation fallen. You cannot strengthen a nation on the premise of conflict. You can only strengthen a nation on the premise of unity. We will disagree – but there is a moral compass that I believe could be inside all of us. No matter how we might disagree on the government’s role in our lives, I bet we agree on at least some of the following: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Do not follow the logic of the media, or of the culture, or even of our own President, that picking fights with eachother gets us closer to solving problems. We must not fall under a nation divided, but instead, we must rise under a nation united.