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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

When Did You Lose Your Compassion?

There's a thing that's been going on for a while online that bothers me. A lot. Sites like The People of Walmart and others like them--and the people who share these pictures on Facebook, Twitter, etc--make me want to cry for humanity.

You see, when I see someone who's wearing a pair of underwear cut up to make a shirt, I don't think OMG, that's so funny. Instead, I think, that poor woman is so broke, that she's struggling to keep herself and her family clothed.

When I see someone post a picture of a naked overweight woman outside in a clear plastic rain slicker, I don't think, Oh, gross. I think that poor woman is mentally ill and needs help.

I addressed this back in my 2010 release, In the Darkest Night. Farran is working at a discount store when some college-aged girl takes a picture of her with a scar on her face. The purpose was to laugh at Farran--cruelly laugh--and to get other people to laugh at the disfigurement, too. It devastated my heroine, and if these people have seen the mean-spirited and hateful comments on their photos, they're probably devastated, too.

I see this online time and again and it makes me angry at the people who think it's okay to laugh at someone else's misfortune--whether it be mental illness or fashion faux pas--or laughing at another person for looking different, for example like the stereotype of a nerd.

It also makes me hugely sad. When did we lose our compassion for our fellow human beings? People who've done nothing to us, but who appeared in public wearing something that others found worth mocking. So many of those pictures clearly show the person is probably mentally ill or so poor that they can't afford to buy better clothes. Don't even get me started about laughing at someone simply because of how they look.

I stopped going to places like Fail Blog because they became meaner and meaner and meaner about people. I even sent a comment to the site saying that I hated what they were becoming. When nothing changed, I stopped visiting.

Life is hard for a lot of people--why do some people think it's okay to laugh at the expense of others? Do they have to tear someone else down to feel okay about themselves? Because that's a pretty sad reason.

My wish for the world is that more people practice compassion and empathy for their fellow human beings. Life is about helping others, not mocking them.