Our society has come a long way over the past few decades with the advent of computers. With the addition of the Internet, it's simply grown by leaps and bounds over what was available to us just 10 years ago.
People can find almost anything on the Web with a simple Google search, from daily news to hardcore pornography.
As a result, though, I sometimes wonder if this seemingly endless supply of visual and audio stimulation is leaving our society somewhat desensitized to the pains of the world? One Website I visit on a nearly daily basis usually has videos that display violent happenings such as beheadings and other individuals being executed. I've even watched a video in which an accused rapist in Mexico was burned alive by an angry mob. No trial, though. It was simply a trial by lynching.
Now, why would I visit such sites, you may ask? While the newspaper I work at may be small compared to others, I take my journalistic responsibility to stay informed on world events very seriously.
While they may be hard for some to swallow, I tend to be OK with most of the videos I've seen. It's interesting to see what mainstream media outlets won't show viewers for fear of public outcry.
Does that mean I'm desensitized to violence in all of its forms since I've seen pretty much every way a human being can be killed, whether it's by their own hand or someone else's? I don't really think so.
In some way I think exposing myself to this content has armed me with a (disturbing) reminder about the mortality of us all, including myself. It has served its purpose in ways I don't think I'll ever really be able to explain, no matter how hard I try.
But desensitized? I think not. I attended a Cirque de Soleil show in Corpus Christi over the weekend titled, "Saltimbanco." During the program, which I thoroughly enjoyed due to the choreography and theatrics of the performers, my girlfriend and I joined thousands of others in attendance in frightful silence.
A trapeze performance was taking place that involved two young women who were swinging dangerously high above the stage with no safety net or cushion. They let themselves fall and hang upside down using only their feet and legs to hang on to one another.
During the entire time, my imagination was running rampant as I envisioned one of them missing a hold or losing her grip, causing a cascade of screams to be heard as the young woman plummeted towards the stage.
Instead, the performers reached the end of their routine and made their way down to the stage safely before exiting to much applause and a wave of relieved sighs. For me, I needed a moment to stop my sweating hands from shaking before I joined in the cheers.
It was at that moment that I realized that no matter how many videos I've seen, nor how indifferent I think I am about death, nothing will ever seem to calm the fear I have of seeing death firsthand.
In some ways, I find that to be extremely disappointing, and yet, somehow, serenely comforting. I'm sure there are others out there who can relate, even if it's not entirely.
Tim Olmeda is the news editor for the Nueces County Record Star. Readers may contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.