“Grief Olympics” trivializes suffering of Las Vegas victims

It’s been said that everyone reacts to tragedy differently. The random shooting at a concert in Las Vegas, which resulted in at least 58 deaths and an additional 489 injured, is undeniably a tragedy. In the wake of the massacre, many have called for greater gun control in the United States, and some introspection on the part of gun owners.
Some gun-rights proponents have accused liberals of politicizing the affair, but I don’t have a real problem with the political aspect of this tragedy. I’m not so opposed to this so-called ‘politicizing’ as I am to something I witnessed much more frequently on campus, something another student called ‘grief olympics’.
“Oh my gosh, I hadn’t even had my coffee when I heard about it. It’s just about ruined my day.” This was how a student broached the topic with their classmates, in terms of how bad it had been for them to hear about the incident.
I overheard plenty of comments like this, and if the speakers could manage it, they might also throw in a report of just how many people they knew in the area. “Well, I was especially worried because I have (X-number of) family numbers in state of Nevada and when I heard the news I was just sure it was them.”
This statement is usually followed by another about how relieved they were to hear that their loved ones weren’t among the dead, even if the possibility of this was remarkably low. I witnessed other students compiling a list of “all the things that made this week so bad.” Besides the shooting, I overheard them put a failed test on the page.
The nation’s most recent disastrous shooting shouldn’t be used by the general public in some sort of social contest to see who can be the most ‘affected’ by the tragedy. It goes without saying that a crisis with a prominent loss of human life should disturb and sadden those who hear about it.
The issue of discussing tragedy becomes perplexing when those engaged in the conversation make it more about themselves than the actual victims. Conversation about Las Vegas should probably not revolve around how much it ‘ruined your day’ or ‘made you depressed.’ If the tragedy really did have this affect on you, you’d be more likely to talk about the victims than your own emotional predicament.
When I hear people focus on themselves in these discussions, it sounds like a kind of sociopathy or lack of empathy. The disaster did not affect them, so they become anxious that others will ascertain this lack of sorrow in them and go about announcing their mock-grief to other parties.
I can only imagine the actual grief felt by those with loved ones lost in this shooting, and it is impossible to measure the dead’s wish to still be alive. Many will genuinely grieve the victims by attending vigils in their names; others will do their part by fighting for tighter gun control in the US.
Grief is a natural process and this article is not a criticism of those truly grieving in the face of tragedy, l only of those who felt the need to hijack the tragedy for some sense of self-validation.

Post Author: Trenton Gibbons