The good news about bad news

December 9th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized


December 2015

You know, after reading a few “Hope and Humor” posts, that my mind is slightly twisted, and sometimes completely warped. I see things differently than the average person. For instance, when I see bad news on TV or online, I think I am so glad that made the news! Let me try to explain that for you normal people.

The past seven days, the media has bombarded us with continuous coverage of the horrific terrorist killings in San Bernardino. That event bumped from the front page, a Chicago police officer being charged with murder in the killing of a knife-weilding teen—complete with the graphic video. And Sunday, President Barack Obama made a rare primetime speech to the nation trying to assure the public that citizens are safe from terrorists. There’s no doubt, it has been a bad news week. But . . .

The good news is that these events are considered news!

“Why?” you ask shaking your head in disbelief and reaching for the BACK button. Newsworthiness is determined by events that are out of the ordinary, rare and downright bizarre. “Dog bites man” is not news, but “Man bites dog” is news. People being killed is not news. Every day in the United States, 117 people are killed in vehicle crashes. And that same day, 77 people are killed in bathroom accidents. But when just 14 people are slaughtered by domestic terrorists, that is not normal! And so, it’s news. And it’s so unusual, that the national networks devote the entire evening and the next week covering the event!

Take government corruption. Please! It’s big news in most developed countries, but it wouldn’t make the last page of Section D in many Third World countries. While traveling to an African country to speak, I was told I would need to present the customs agent with a brand new $100 bill to enter the country. And to get out, I had to give the customs agent a brand new $50 bill. The missionary who picked me up at the airport explained that this is just business as usual in his country, as was paying ten-year-old extortionists to guard his vehicle when he parked anywhere in the downtown area. So in that country, political corruption is not news.

And while Americans were shocked at child sexual assault charges brought against Subway pitchman, Jared Fogle, it would not be news in Afghanistan. There young boys are regularly used to gratify older men. One missionary told me, “In this country, boys are for pleasure; women are for babies.” Sex trafficking, particularly of women and young children is rampant in countries such as Cambodia, India, countries in Africa and Eastern Asia.

And while a gun shot fired at the White House made it to the top of the nightly news back in 2011, violence against government leaders is not unusual in many countries. In Mexico alone, drug cartels have claimed the lives of 174 government officials including 83 police chiefs and 32 mayors in just six years.

The good news is that these recent crimes are considered “news” in the United States! Yes, we have terrorist attacks, but only 14 people have died in domestic terrorism since September 11, 2001. Yes, we have political corruption, but nothing on the scale of African, Asian or South American countries. Yes, we have cops shooting unarmed suspects, but they are a newsworthy few. Yes, we have a lengthy list of sex offenders, but it’s still considered an “offense”—contrary to countries where sex with children is the cultural norm.

And that’s good news!

Copyright © 2011, 2015 James N. Watkins Adapted from a column that originally appeared in Presidential Prayer Team newsletter, November 2011.

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