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I notice this every time there is a tragedy of sorts in the US. The country all rallies around the victims and pours out love and support to the victims and tries to help out. I think this is great. Empathy is what makes us human.

However:

There is a massive difference between levels of empathy for murdered Americans and for murdered Afghans, Iraqis, Yemenis, etc. Just yesterday 55 Iraqis were killed by bombings and you could argue that the US invasion indirectly caused this sectarian violence. The US government is conducting a global war of terror which has murdered somewhere between 250,000 and 1.5 million people and hardly anyone in the West cares. It's extremely frustrating. All human beings are the same, but if your glorified soldiers are the murderers, it's "justified."

I understand the reasons for this. People are scared that since it happened in their own back yard it could happen to them, so there's more of a direct connection. The point, though, is that if we showed that level of empathy and outrage at the mass murder of foreigners, these wars would be over and there would be no more incentive for terrorist attacks from those we're slaughtering (not saying Boston bombing was Islamic; I kind of doubt it actually).

Anyway, I don't mean to be insensitive about the Boston Marathon attack. My heart goes out to those people. It's a tragedy.

But so are the vast majority of drone strikes in Waziristan.
 

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lt's sympathy, really. Which is fine. lt's great to show sympathy.

But if people really felt so much "empathy" l doubt it would be so conditional, like you said, notice how it fails to apply to the afghans and people outside of the US.

The "empathy" thing is becoming fear based, with a lack of "empathy" being assigned as a hallmark characteristic of a few different disorders to draw the line between normal/not. So the displays of what people view as empathy are something triggered by the social instinct, IMO. l think there is some misinterpretation.

There are different kinds of empathy, a person can have empathy and lack sympathy. Actually being charming requires a decent amount of cognitive empathy, so a serial killer can easily know what you're feeling and choose to kill you anyway if they lack sympathy.

But mostly l think being sympathetic is sufficient and l also think people score themselves WAY too high on their perceived empathy levels.
 

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I love how the media is focusing on the eight year old boy.

Where the fuck where you guys when we were vaporizing children with drone strikes?
 
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I love how the media is focusing on the eight year old boy.

Where the fuck where you guys when we were vaporizing children with drone strikes?
The Media always has an angle to work. They'll always inherently select an "innocent whose life was tragically cut short" to pull at the public's to heart-strings or "add a face to the tragedy", as they put it. In addition, they'll identify an "Everyday Hero" to "lift the spirits of the viewers" and provide "Chicken Soup For The Soul". A little later they'll I.D. the person we should blame for this senseless act and spend an inordinate amount of time asking "Why Did This Happen?", without really answering anything, merely stretching their report out in an attempt to secure themselves an Emmy, a more major Anchor slot, or a Peabody. In a week or so, we'll hear from strictly entertainment-based shows/reporters, innocuously tying Celebrities to the story, either through an "I was supposed to be there that day" type story, or a charity-related support surrounding the tragedy.

Then, by Memorial Day weekend someone will get shot, a star will get married, and/or some other celebrity will get caught having an affair with a string of famewhores, and they'll be focused on THAT until the rest of the Summer blockbuster movies need to release.

Then: HURRICANE WATCH 2013
 

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The reason is more that people are afraid, I doubt most people really give a shit about their countrymen being killed in explosions, but they do care about themselves.

Terrorist attacks happen overseas = Too far away to affect me
Terrorist attacks happen in the same country as me = I could be next Oh, I feel so sorry for those poor people who were killed, that could have been me!

People aren't bad, just self-centered
 

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Humans didn't evolve to care so much about every single death that happens. We evolved to care most about our individual selves and our family groups as hunter-gatherers. In the modern era, information travels instantly and suddenly there's an overwhelming amount of "events" and people to "care" about, and then if you don't, you're considered as "cold" or something. It's easy to care about others, but it's difficult to care about everyone. Personally, I get fatigued when I have to show empathy/sympathy too much and it drains me when everyone expects me to care about all 46364386 different social/political issues that plague my country and the world. There is only SO MUCH caring that an individual person can do for others and because it has to be spread out so thin in the modern world, a lot of people just BS it and pretend to care when they really don't all that much. Humans didn't evolve to care about people on the other side of the world from them; we evolved to care most about those who are closest to us, in relationships and in terms of geography. Showing "outrage" about events also gets tiring... everyone wants people to be more upset about issue X, Y and Z but it's so easy to have fatigue over that and I really hate it when people give me flak for not caring more about everything ever. It's just too much. The world is big and the problems are too enormous to list. Who honestly has the energy to care about ALL of the woes of civilization and humanity?!
 

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Many US citizens think others deserve it. I've actually met people who thought ALL middle eastern people were terrorists and that their children were raised to be murderers and given guns when they were 5 years old... This is the kind of shit that people say, at least middle class Caucasians in my area, and I heard of one case in which a pastor in a church was actually preaching this as if it were truth. I have no idea where they got that from, but it might explain so. Also, it is not common for something like this to happen in the US, so it would obviously gain international media attention quite rapidly.
 
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I notice this every time there is a tragedy of sorts in the US. The country all rallies around the victims and pours out love and support to the victims and tries to help out. I think this is great. Empathy is what makes us human.

However:

There is a massive difference between levels of empathy for murdered Americans and for murdered Afghans, Iraqis, Yemenis, etc. Just yesterday 55 Iraqis were killed by bombings and you could argue that the US invasion indirectly caused this sectarian violence. The US government is conducting a global war of terror which has murdered somewhere between 250,000 and 1.5 million people and hardly anyone in the West cares. It's extremely frustrating. All human beings are the same, but if your glorified soldiers are the murderers, it's "justified."

I understand the reasons for this. People are scared that since it happened in their own back yard it could happen to them, so there's more of a direct connection. The point, though, is that if we showed that level of empathy and outrage at the mass murder of foreigners, these wars would be over and there would be no more incentive for terrorist attacks from those we're slaughtering (not saying Boston bombing was Islamic; I kind of doubt it actually).

Anyway, I don't mean to be insensitive about the Boston Marathon attack. My heart goes out to those people. It's a tragedy.

But so are the vast majority of drone strikes in Waziristan.
You're preaching to the choir with me.
People who have all this emotional outpouring for Boston victims while they think it's ok in the middle east disgust me. Both are tragedies and both should be treated as such.

Our country and it's military operations are disgusting.
We should vote on going to war with other countries although it wouldn't surprise me if the majority of idiots decided it was for the best to kill others.

The US is so full of thoughtless sheeple who don't respect life.
 

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There is a massive difference between levels of empathy for murdered Americans and for murdered Afghans, Iraqis, Yemenis, etc. Just yesterday 55 Iraqis were killed by bombings and you could argue that the US invasion indirectly caused this sectarian violence. The US government is conducting a global war of terror which has murdered somewhere between 250,000 and 1.5 million people and hardly anyone in the West cares. It's extremely frustrating. All human beings are the same, but if your glorified soldiers are the murderers, it's "justified."

I understand the reasons for this. People are scared that since it happened in their own back yard it could happen to them, so there's more of a direct connection. The point, though, is that if we showed that level of empathy and outrage at the mass murder of foreigners, these wars would be over and there would be no more incentive for terrorist attacks from those we're slaughtering (not saying Boston bombing was Islamic; I kind of doubt it actually).

Anyway, I don't mean to be insensitive about the Boston Marathon attack. My heart goes out to those people. It's a tragedy.

But so are the vast majority of drone strikes in Waziristan.
I think also that there is "tribal empathy." We empathize more easily with (1) people who are "like" us and we can identify with and (2) people who are actually part of our "tribe."

This is not just a racial thing or geographic thing. I think I brought up the US senator from Ohio who recently decided he supported gay marriage. He had been against gay marriage, but then he found out his son was gay. His son is part of his most nuclear "tribe" -- he exists within this man's ego boundaries and is thus treated as if he were part of this man in terms of caring for and sustaining him. So now the man was able to empathize with the gay situation and then came to a change of heart/mind about the topic. But note that until that experience occurred, the man views gays as "other" and could not empathize with their concerns.

This is what happens with other cultures, commonly. People just don't identify with them, until some situation occurs that drives home the similarities.

Individuals all have different levels of ability to empathize. Some people are very fierce defenders of their ego boundaries and have compact definitions, so there are lots of Others out there who are not included; others are very philanthropic and connect with people from all walks of life, so they're more able to empathize naturally.

For alot of people in situations like this, we see the line drawn at "country": These are Americans, so God Bless the USA and we will support them, but for non-Americans, well their problems are THEIR problems, etc.
 

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It's a basic animalistic social instinct. Care more about the people that belong in your own group. Even hate people outside of your own group.
 
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