You’re Not Alone if Televised Trauma is Breaking Your Soul
How to handle the barrage of neverending violence in our nightly news
For thirty days I slept on our green second-hand couch despite my fiancée’s pleas that I join her in our bed. Every night I fluffed the couch cushions, tucked myself in under a weighted blanket, looked out to the streetlights, and asked for a peaceful sleep. Yet every night I awoke to nightmares of the door being smashed in, flashlights falling across my face, and angry screams filling my apartment.
At the time, three names dominated the news cycle: Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Abury. I saw their faces every time I looked in the mirror and I wondered, “Could I be next?”
I am an advertising agency copywriter by trade. In 2020, my days were simple enough: Roll out of bed, make the 30 steps to my makeshift kitchen corner “office,” and log in. I pounded out idea after idea for new commercials, eye-catching billboards, and impactful radio spots. But I couldn’t do any of that once I’d moved to the couch. Instead, I’d sit at my computer and stare out of the window for hours. How could I care about commercials when any moment an unannounced police officer could barge through my front door and end my life?
My breakdown around violent crimes that dominate the news cycle in the United States is not uncommon. While most of us are horrified by the knowledge of these events, as a society we do little to prevent them from multiplying. Thoughts and prayers, doom scrolling, voting, social media “keyboard warriors”…in the best case these are long-term plans that won’t incite change for years, in the worst, they merely serve as distractions allowing us to numb the fear and disgust that bubbles up with every breaking news banner.
Realistically, neither you nor I are likely to end the epidemic of violence plaguing our nation. And that truth can make us feel powerless.
Just over a week ago, a man walked into a Lunar New Year celebration outside of LA and killed 11 people. On Monday afternoon, a man arrived at his workplace in the Bay Area and killed 7 people. Early Tuesday morning, a man walked into a…