This Summer of Horrible News- Get Away From It If You Can
– The 7-year-old son of an Australian member of ISIS is pictured holding the decapitated head of a soldier, a photo distributed on social media by his father.
– A white towel drapes the corpse of 18 year old, Mike Brown, an unarmed black man, two days from starting his first day at college, shot dead by police in Ferguson, Missouri last weekend.
– Far-ranging rockets fly into the night, aimed at Israeli citizens while shells land in “safe” places housing Palestinian refugees, wounding and killing women and children.
– Another 135 people die in a single day from the deadly Ebola virus, now spreading through West Africa.
– An actor and comedian who captured our hearts for over three decades with his obvious love and passion for life, kills himself- the victim of a deep depression.
– An airliner with 300 innocents aboard gets shot out of the sky over Ukraine and it is days before repatriation of the bodies and burials can take place as armed insurgents keep even investigators from reaching the scene.
– Thousands of Central American children who survive a 1,300 mile trek to the American border escaping violent gangs in their home countries, are dispersed throughout towns and villages in the U.S. while the government decides what do with them. In many of those towns, angry protestors demand the children leave and let it be known they are not welcome.
– American politicians forget the art of compromise and the business of governing grinds to a halt as partisan gridlock leaves our Congress as one of the least respected institutions in the nation, unable to address any of the country’s problems.
These eight news stories have one thing in common. These are the headlines of our summer of 2014. I am not alone in remarking about how bleak and horrible the world seems right now. Certainly, for those of us who work in the news business, where these dismal stories are part of our normal routine, it is hard to take. And for those not in the media or journalism worlds, it is all equally appalling and sad.
There is only one answer to this as far as I can tell. The world, despite our best efforts, is not going to fix itself. But you do have the power, mostly, of determining what information you receive. So unplug. Just disconnect every now and then. Don’t watch the news. Stay away from news web sites. Go outside. Breath clean air. Go for a walk. Take in a comedy club. Go to a baseball game. Rediscover your partner.
We all need to take a break from this horrid summer of news. For our own mental health.