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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

A community touched

The downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 is tragic, but even more so when compounded by the death of Karlijn Keijzer, a graduate student at IU who was aboard the ill-fated plane.

The outpouring of grief from the IU community was indeed tremendous. In fact, it is one of the few international events that has affected Bloomington so profoundly.

It calls into question the need for personal connection in order to react, in some sort of progressive way, to international events.

On top of that, such tragedy can bias a community, in potentially dangerous ways.

We might feel that we need to seek revenge. But we must be careful not to jump to conclusions, for as human as anger, sorrow, rage and vengeance might be, they can lead to bad policy ?decisions.

In that sense, this bias could cloud our very judgment and lead to more harsh opinions and responses from each side.

This is not the first time aircraft carrying civilians has been destroyed while flying in dangerous skies. The USS Vincennes accidentally shot down Iranian Air Flight 655. Yet we did not feel as strongly about the deaths of these passengers as we did about MH17, simply because there was no connection.

Meanwhile, Iranians would know what you were talking about, and experience some sort of emotional response.

There’s also the amount of debate and speculation that the shoot-down of MH17 wasn’t accidental. MH17 was flying over disputed Ukrainian territory and shot down by what United States suspects were Pro-Russian militants.

The end result was 295 deaths and the outrage of the international community.

For Bloomington, we felt deeply affected by the tragedy because of Keijzer’s presence on board the flight. National and regional outlets reacted strongly because of the large number of passengers from nations we consider allies. It seems that communities can derive strength from a tragedy if there is personal connection.

Our socially integrated world thrives on us understanding each other. We feel strongly about a world event when we feel we have experience some sort of personal loss.

This link: to identify with others, to commiserate with their struggle and to feel loss is nothing to be ashamed of. But we must also consider the benefit of attributing these same profound feelings to more than just events that happen to our civilians or to people in our community.

It takes true courage to derive understanding from such events through the sound and the fury of emotions and media attention.

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