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How can we help people in our communities connect more deeply with each other?

In the past few months, we have witnessed mass murders committed by mentally-incompetent individuals, the release of female captives held by a socio-path, and the public's obsession with a sexually-explicit trial. In each case, we witness symptoms of a failure to address the tension between individual liberties and privacy against the need to create meaningful bonds between people to prevent dehumanization and hopelessness. Beyond the scope of law enforcement and the judicial system, how can we engage residents so that they can plug into communities to prevent despair, anger, and voyeurism. Many programs around the country work toward these ends. What are some of the success stories that address the root problems and inspire others to take local action?

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  • May 10 2013: Stop sensationalizing the stories. Tell them with fact, but do not belabor or give them more attention than they deserve.
    • May 11 2013: Do you mean the media, Robert?
      But if they did that, the ratings would plummet... and that's not about to happen, is it.
      • May 11 2013: Yes, I meant the media...and no it is not about to happen currently.

        I see sensationalizing the bad in the world as exploiting a human flaw to be curious about the dirt in a situation. Those that have spent a life time trying to abide by the laws and protect their families from such cataclysmic events shake their heads in disgust at both the act, and the bombardment by the media on the viewing, reading or listening public about the different perspectives, insights, viewpoints and grizzly details about the events. I think such sensationalism is creating an environment where the imbalanced, detached, depressed, or those just unhappy with what life has brought them, see an opportunity to go out in a blaze of what appears to be glory. I believe there to be a false association made, somehow equating criminal notoriety with fame.

        I would like to see there be a required ethical balancing of time in the media modes where a message is actively broadcast or projected, with stories of personal inspiration, hallmark moments, personal achievement, people over coming adversity, or similar "Happy" things. I do not suggest we force a positive perspective, but i do think that changing the balance to one that reflects a true cross-section of the actual behavior of the general public should be a priority.
        • May 11 2013: This is a great approach. Counterbalancing the sensational with the personal can show how little things can mean a great deal to people and advance rather than devolve mankind.
        • May 12 2013: Robert, thank you for this!
          I seem to remember, long ago, when there would be segment dedicated to this on the evening news.
          When I was in grade school, we gathered and talked about current affairs, and more often than not, the small, seemingly insignificant, but definitely positive news items were the ones that made the largest impact on our class.
          We talked about the long-term effects of desensitization, which I, at the time, couldn't really imagine.

          Now, 30 years later, I personally have been confronted with desensitization. At a culturally enriching 2-day workshop I participated in, a few hundred kids from a local high school could choose an activity, two of which were 'short films' and 'animation'. At the end of the day, the works were presented.
          I was horrified when these films and animations were presented. Every one, I am not exaggerating, every single one contained violence, profanity, 'blood-and-guts' in one way or another. The rest of the kids laughed, clapped and were thoroughly entertained.

          Whether this has to do with how the news is presented, or the media in general, I don't know. I know that it concerns me, though!

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