You can show Empathy, Outrage and Restraint all at the same time

Hey, did you hear about that Thing That Happened just recently moments ago?  It’s all over the Twittersphere and my Facebook feed has gone nutzo with everyone posting the same headline that totally and accurately Sums Up Everything That Happened.

Now the story has just come out, but of course we know everything about it because we are experts.  On EVERYTHING.  Let’s all board the Outrage Train.  Wait a minute…this just in.  New Information that totally turns the story around on its head.  Quick cue the backlash.  Now the backlash against the backlash.

Oh and look, now come the Johnny Come Lately friends who are sharing older versions of the story versus the Johnny on the Spots who share every new tidbit of info even if it later turns out to be untrue.  And of course the Mimes sharing Memes.

Oh let’s not forget clueless bloggers trying to ride the waves for page views (looks in mirror.)

Finally it devolves into a My Belief System versus Your Belief System.  Because if two people have a difference of opinion, it has to because of influence from the right or left, not just thinking for oneself.

Here's a picture of some cute kids obviously up to no good.

Here’s a picture of some cute kids obviously up to no good.

If you are reading this on the date this post was published, I’m likely talking about the incident on United flight 3411 where an Asian doctor was forcefully removed from his seat.  But I could be talking about the Pepsi Commercial fiasco or anything that happens day and day, week after week in our Immediate News Cycle and Instant Gratification Society.

This is a paraphrase of I wrote in a private FB group when the story first came to my attention:

This is one of those Viral Outrage stories that always seem to follow a pattern. Look for some “additional” info that might justify the actions. then the back lash against the back lash. wash. rinse repeat.  I was speaking generically about the pattern of event like this: something happens, it looks like X, then more info is revealed, suddenly it’s less clear cut. In this particular instance agreed it would be hard pressed to justify dragging and injuring a passenger.

I wrote it too quickly and should have added that there is nothing I can think that would justify how this guy was treated. However, the pattern still remains: event | outrage | new info | back lash | backlash against backlash.

I got a little pushback from another CN blogger who implied I was Tone Policing:  “when someone has been victimized in any context, the demand to hear the other side because there must be more to the story is VERY hurtful to people who have already suffered very publicly.”

 I think her assessment was a bit strong but I apologize I came off that way.  I’m not saying the outrage is never justified. I’m just saying it’s okay to wait 5, 10, minutes or so to gather all the facts.  And sometimes I think the knee-jerk response seems to be more outrage than sincere empathy.

Thank you for reading and I hope you will comment below. 

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