How is it possible to make sense of six year old children being gunned down by a twenty year old with his mother’s rifle? We know their names and faces…………..
How is it possible to make sense of ten girls in Afghanistan between eight and ten years old being killed by a roadside bomb when they were searching for firewood? Others said they were as young as six.
Can we make sense of a Syrian air force jet bombing a mosque in a Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus? The death toll is unknown but videos show carnage near the mosque and dead and injured being collected by residents…………
The immediacy of coverage of events by the world’s media brings them into focus and allows one to identify powerfully with those involved who become as it were part of one’s family. Naturally there is a sharing of the grief and a wish to help.
For those events that happen in remote areas with little or no news coverage there is not the same identification and the feeling of personal involvement is not evoked. The story of the good Samaritan remains powerful because it was unusual. Studies show that often in big cities people are reluctant to become involved even when witnessing a stranger lying on the ground ill.
The killing of the children in Newtown has evoked powerful feelings nationally and worldwide. Many people are shocked that this could happen in a school in a peaceful community and see it as preventable.
The global under 5 years old child mortailty rate is 51 (the number of children per thousand born alive dying before the age of 5). In individual countries ranging from 185 in Sierra Leone and 180 in Somalia to 3 in Norway, Sweden and Finland. In the USA it is 8.
Taking the global figure of 51/1000 children dying under 5 years old in comparison with the minimimum of 3/1000, 48/1000 children’s deaths world wide could be avoided. Putting it another way, in Sierra Leone and Somalia nearly 20% of children born alive are dead by the time they are five. Of course there are places where no statistics are available……………..