News and events that unfolded recently reveal a shocking disregard for civilized behavior in our society. In the last few days, there were reports of people raiding Wal-Mart stores in Louisiana when their EBT cards malfunctioned because of a glitch that allowed them limitless funds for purchases. In another incident, as fellow students stood by, someone allegedly sexually assaulted a young woman during Ohio University’s homecoming weekend celebrations. In both incidents, onlookers were more interested in taking pictures and videos to post on their social media accounts instead of offering help to the victims. Have Americans become so inhumane and desensitized to reality that they are unwilling to stop wrongdoing even when it happens right before their eyes?
The common thread in both these incidents seems to be people’s interest in scoring points on social media. Social media is an excellent tool to convey information, create networks with others, and communicate with friends and family. The unfortunate part is when people become so engrossed in virtual reality, that actual reality becomes distant and blurred from their daily lives. How many of those onlookers who were taking pictures of the chaos at the Wal-Mart stores took the time to help the personnel? How many were willing to stop the mayhem? How many of those students at the Ohio University homecoming bash stood by as someone assaulted their helpless fellow student? How many of them felt compelled to intervene and stop the assault? How many of them thought about calling the police?
Some may find all this amusing and others may shrug their shoulders but the coldness of the individuals participating in these incidents ought to shock us all. Yet, before we begin blaming social media or others for our societal problems, we may want to evaluate our own position in life. The true fight remains within our own hearts and minds. It is within our homes. It is what we learn and teach our children. It begins with looking at the plank in our own eyes before pointing out the speck in those of others.*