A question has been occupying my head for quite some time: Why are we so quick to react to, get angry at and rally against an external threat or attack than solve problems that exist within ourselves, our homes and even our countries?
Take the example of road accident deaths in India. Each year more than 138,000 Indians lose their lives to road accidents. The solution to this problem is completely in our control. From the individual driver who could pursue safe driving and take standard safety measures like wearing a seatbelt and helmet to the government and the police who should be spending a lot more resources on road safety and enforcement. But this particular issue does seem to anger or concern much of the citizenry as compared to say terrorism. I am not in any way saying terrorism is something we should ignore but in comparison terrorism does not even cause a fraction of these deaths. Imagine if 138,000 people were killed by terrorists every year. How would we feel about that? I think our response would be somewhat more urgent and decisive. So even though solving a problem like terrorism is only partly in our control and a lot more complex we are extremely concerned about it. We can’t possibly convince our enemies to stop hating us which is why I don’t think we can do much as an individual to solve that problem.
Same is true for female infanticide. The issue is now somewhat at the forefront but I don’t see nearly as much anger as there should be about this subject. The numbers are once again astounding, approximately 500,000 girls are killed in India each year.
The culture of being hyper reactive about an external problem like terrorism or Chinese spying on Intellectual property is not unique to India. All over the world it’s much easier to mobilize people for problems that they don’t have much control over. Canadians for example are much more generous in being ‘concerned’ about world poverty than the persecution of First Nations people in their own backyard. I am speaking from experience of having lived here for 8+ years and don’t have hard data to back me up but I am sure many Canadians will agree.
The point of my post is not diminish issues like terrorism and world poverty. All I am saying is that if we could actually worry about problems in our control and immediate vicinity, we may actually be able to get somewhere.