There has been a lot of talk about capital punishment this week. The execution of one of its citizens by the government should never be taken lightly, but that’s not what this is about. It’s about the intense focus on one person’s death and the ignoring of several thousand. This is not to minimize nor glorify Troy Davis, this is to raise awareness of those that pass away daily with little press, mention or even thought. Reject Apathy states (quoting the UN) that 600,000 people could die by the end of the year in East Africa and questions why their stories are rarely being told. It gives some answers as does this CNN opinion piece discusses the difference between drought and famine. Droughts happen from natural causes, famines happen because no one does anything about them.
We as a society obviously care for human lives. That’s what so many of statutes are based on and why so much care is put into the safety of travel, whether by car, boat, train or airplane. This is why 10 year anniversaries of horrific attacks matter to us. It is also why the lack of press toward the 100 plane crashes worth of people dying a day from preventable things is crazy. Is it because there wasn’t a specific name or face? No exact time? No pronouncement of judgment? And if we think so, aren’t we really fooling ourselves that there aren’t those things? There most certainly are names and faces and exact times. Maybe we’re just uncomfortable with who’s the judge and jury.