7 dead in California. 3 dead in Brussels. Deadly attack on Djibouti restaurant. Deadly attack in Nigerian city. Militants attack Somali parliament.
These are just a few of the headlines currently sitting on my BBC News app.
Everyday I wake up to at least one more story about a murder, or bombs, or mass shootings, or terrorist attacks. And I don’t even know what’s going on with Russia and Ukraine. But it seems like people are just getting out of bed with the intent of killing somebody that day. Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria and Libya – these may not be in the news much anymore, but the sad, sad reason for this is simply that there are too many other attacks and potential wars to report about. The consistency of death in these countries is unfortunately what confines them to the small print.
Sometimes I feel like England is the only country that I will ever feel safe in. There is no such thing as a mass shooting – we aren’t allowed to carry guns (America, take note). Knives are obviously an issue, but there’s not a whole lot that you can do about that – nobody is going to suggest that we start making cutlery illegal. At least with a knife you have more chance of fighting back. Guns are just so final, so instantly destructive.
It isn’t always humans that are being killed. I know many people see animals as inferior, and any story about the suffering of an animal would always come second to one about humans. But one of the news stories that stands out the most for me this year was that of Marius the giraffe, in Copenhagen Zoo. I remember watching the News At 10 and, with no prior warning, footage starts rolling of this giraffe being publicly dissected and then fed to lions. I was distraught. Tears were flooding down my face in mere seconds – the circumstances of this poor creature’s death were horrific, and beyond logical.
Another news story that stands out for me comes from the coverage of the tornado in Oklahoma in 2013. An elderly woman is being interviewed about her experience, standing in front of the wreck of her home. Mid-interview, one of the news crew notices movement behind the woman – her dog is under the rubble, perfectly alive. This comes just a minute after the woman says that she had been with her dog when the tornado hit. This footage also brought me to tears, but for completely different reasons. The unrestrained happiness and relief seen in that woman when she realised her dog was alive was something that you can’t script. The good that came out of the bad in this situation is that part that undoubtedly remains in my memory.
My point, I guess, is that in the world of destruction and death that we apparently have to live in, we need these moments of pure happiness to keep us going. The good news rarely gets any coverage, and I think this is wrong. People need to be reminded of the good that it is in humanity, especially when we are constantly confronted with the bad. Videos shared on social media show people helping the elderly cross the street, show people join together in force to alert a train driver that somebody has fallen on the tracks, show people making it their mission to turn a budget for a film into food and supplies for people that so desperately need them. It is these videos and stories that should be the focus of our newspapers and TV broadcasts. I know that we need to know about the wars that go on all over the world, but we should not be led to believe that there is no good or genuine happiness left.