Tragedies are not trends

An image of a building in Ukraine following Russian attacks.

The New York Times

An image of a building in Ukraine following Russian attacks.

On Feb. 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. The Russo-Ukrainian War had been ongoing since 2014, and I had heard nothing of it. But right after the invasion, it was all anyone could talk about. My TikTok For You Page was flooded with videos about it. I heard people talking about it everywhere I went. For the next few weeks, I saw Ukrainian flags everywhere. And then, it seemingly ended.

I heard nothing of the war that was most definitely still going on. People moved on with their lives despite all of those who were suffering overseas. When I “Google” Ukraine, there are dozens of articles posted every day—so why do I never hear any talk about it?

These bursts of activism and outspokenness followed by silence are occurrences I see often.

For instance, the Oxford High School shooting shook up communities in Nov. 2021. There were “copycat threats” throughout the state. I constantly heard about it; it was so close to home that it instilled even more fear. But even with the small distance, it’s like it randomly disappeared. People moved on because instances like this happen too often. But four were killed and seven more were shot. An entire community will never be the same again. Every student in the school will still feel the waves of this attack years from now. Why don’t we care?

As the outside community, we have the privilege of forgetting.

The recent Michigan State University shooting will inevitably end up one day at the bottom of the news. While three students were killed, countless others were barricading themselves in their rooms. Countless others were almost next. Countless others will be scared everywhere they go. Countless others are sharing the experience. All of my social media feeds are full of stories and support. I’ve seen so many stories from students, some of which were just walking through the halls of FHC as recently as last year. 

Whether close to home or far away, all of these tragedies occurred. All of them are things that no one should ever have to face. All of them have been big in the media. And all of them end up forgotten.

It’s easy to forget. It’s simpler to move on. As the outside community, we have the privilege of forgetting. But those on the inside can’t.

People seem to forget how awful shootings and wars are until they happen again. Society has become blind to the pain until it’s close to home. Events like these are not easy to move on from. Life doesn’t just go on as normal. We can’t act as it does. We can’t close our eyes and pick our lives back up as normal.  We can’t pretend the world is perfect.

Tragedies are tragic. There is no time to say you care if you’re only going to forget.