The World is Going Mad

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I awoke to hear of the awful news of the events  in Peshawar yesterday. Seven Taliban attackers wearing bomb vests cut through a wire fence to gain entry to a Peshawar’s Army Public School, which has a mixed cohort of boys and girls from civilian and military backgrounds, before launching an attack on an auditorium where children were taking an exam.

Gunmen then moved from room to room at the military-run school, shooting pupils and teachers at random where they found them in a siege that lasted eight hours. Eventually, all seven of the attackers were killed, and hundreds of people were evacuated. In total, at the time of writing, at least 132 children and 9 staff were killed.

This follows the siege in Sydney earlier in the week, where two civilians were killed after being held hostage, along with seventeen others, at a Lindt cafe in the city.

The world is going mad.

Tonight, my thoughts are with those who have lost their lives and those who have been affected by the tragedies…

Celebrity Death Jokes

What will it take to get a Beatles reunion? Two bullets.

On Friday, an old acquaintance that I used to work with lost his older brother, who had been fighting a rather aggressive brain tumour for the last 15 years. I heard the news via Facebook, when my friend posted an old picture of his family, along with a beautiful message that made me cry. He was clearly a fighter. I, along with several hundred others, sent him a message of condolence.

I’ve never met his brother. If I’m being truthful, I didn’t even know he had a brother, let alone a brother that was fighting a serious illness. However, it didn’t stop me from feeling sympathy for him – I have two younger sisters and despite having a very complicated relationship with them I couldn’t possibly imagine what life would be like if something happened to one of them.

What’s the opposite of Christopher Reeves? Christopher Walken.

On Friday a helicopter crashed into a pub in Glasgow. To date, nine people have lost their lives. It’s an extremely tragic situation and my heart goes out to all of those involved and their families. Messages and donations have been pouring in from all over the world and service crews are still working hard to recover any further bodies that may still be in the rubble of the building.

Yesterday morning I awoke to the news that Paul Walker, star of the ‘Fast and the Furious’ film franchise, had been killed in a horrific car crash.

At only 40 years old, he was, by all accounts, in his prime. He was a father, had developed a successful career, was a passionate marine biologist and dedicated lots of his time with his humanitarian aid team, REACH OUT worldwide to offer his help in places such as Haiti and Chile. In fact, he had just left a charity event for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan when his car crashed and burst into flames, killing him and his friend, Roger Rodas. Roger was a successful businessman, working at the Bank of America for twenty years. He was also active within several charities, loved racing and co-owned a car repair shop with Paul.

Paul Walker dies at 40? I’d say at least 95.

Over recent years the news of a death of a celebrity often follows a particular pattern that I find quite disturbing. After the death is announced, social media sites will generally trend with heartfelt messages. Montage – based YouTube videos are uploaded. Collages are created, usually made up of still from their most famous films. After a while silly, antagonistic messages start to creep in – usually these are childish statements that are designed to upset the younger generations who haven’t yet learnt to ignore the trolls. Messages that were meant to express a feeling of sympathy become viscious arguments. Finally, the jokes begin, because the notion of celebrity almost creates a ‘no holds barred’ image – their lives, and their deaths, have become public property, and I find this extremely sad.

What’s the difference between February and Amy Winehouse? February makes it to 28!

While I am usually able to shrug lots of things off, it is this aspect of humanity that is one of my biggest annoyances. The irony of the way in which Paul Walker died was not lost on me, but at no point do I feel it is appropriate to start telling jokes about it and today I’ve witnessed some really disgusting messages. I never met him or Mr Rodas, in the same way that I had never met my friend’s brother. However, I wonder what the reaction would have been if I sent a message to my friend that mocked the way in which his brother died, or if I’d have tweeted the families of those lost in the helicopter tragedy with a joke.

What it is important to remember is that each person is a human being, regardless of their status. Paul Walker may have been famous, but his daughter will spend this Christmas without her father, and instead of sending ridiculous messages to each other we need to treat it with the appropriate respect.

Some people should be ashamed of themselves…