7/06/2016

Terrorism Fatigue


It feels as though it's happening everyday: Bodies of the innocent strewn across the airport, the nightclub, the subway. 

And while we catalog the atrocities with varying degrees of horror, we quickly return to the TV, the meal, the commute, accustomed to a world where the threat of violence is part of the routine.

Experts call it "terrorism fatigue." 

It's when we find ourselves shrugging at the bombing at the Istanbul airport this week. 

It's when we shake our heads in June at Orlando, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, but gun control remains gridlocked. 

It's when we barely remember that more than 70 people, many of them children, died in an attack at a Pakistan park in March.

We have settled into a world where terrorism is the new reality, which has ramifications for how we react to violence, how we react to one another and how we deal with global conflict. 

It affects the speed and ease with which we move on from bloodshed, it strips us of our ability and willingness to identify with victims in places with cultures unlike our own, and it can keep governments from trying to stop or prevent violence, at home and abroad.

Combating the phenomenon, experts say, is at best difficult, and, at worst, impossible.

"People are exposed to so much information about so many attacks that they start to blur together," said Richard Lachmann, a political sociologist at the University at Albany.

 "They have trouble connecting with yet more victims, and they, to a large extent, tune it out. They become cold."

That feeling of it happening daily is true when we look at terrorism across the globe. 

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism recorded 14,806 attacks in the Global Terrorism Database in 2015, which averages to 41 attacks per day.

But even though terror attacks aren't happening on a daily basis in the U.S., we are saturated with 24/7 news coverage of incidents abroad and the threat of incidents at home. Read more:
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