Manchester bombing puts it all in perspective

By: 
Dwight Harriman
Yellowstone Newspapers

 

 

The suicide bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England that killed 22 people and injured scores on May 22 sent shock waves through the world. 

All terrorist attacks are horrific, but this one seemed especially savage in that it targeted young teens having a fun night out. How much more evil — and that is the only fitting word for it — can you get than killing children?

We are grateful that so far, terrorist attacks haven’t occurred in Montana. For now, we seem to be a state geographically and politically removed from terrorists’ bull’s eyes. But we would be foolish to rest on that assumption. For the foreseeable future, probably for at least another generation, eternal vigilance everywhere across the county will have to be the norm.

The horror the Manchester bombing once again puts into glaring perspective the things in our lives that, up until now, had seemed so important, such as:

• Social media. Suddenly the number of likes, friends, posts of our accomplishments and how many followers we have just don’t seem that consequential any more. They just seem shallow.

• Health obsession. We are a nation preoccupied with beauty and perfect fitness, reflecting a culture with no other compass than the inward-looking universe of ourselves. We are consumed with diets and food sensitivities and strong cores and supplements and Viagra, when most of the world is just trying to survive.

• Popular culture. The title of T.S. Elliot’s poem, “The Wasteland,” could have easily been the headline for our culture. After 22 people’s lives were snuffed out, it really doesn’t seem to matter anymore which girl “The Bachelor” is going to give a rose to, or which singer or movie star has moved on to another lover, or who is “surviving” on “Survivor,” a show that underscores how we live in such a land of leisure we have to manufacture fake danger.

The Manchester bombing victims faced real danger and real tragedy. The awful event put it all in perspective for us: Some things are just not that important. Let’s all try to remember what is.

 

Dwight Harriman is the editor of the Livingston Enterprise.

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