When one takes a bird’s-eye view of battle and civilian casualties by the numbers, the results as shown above are shocking.
All of this helps one maintain a healthy sense of perspective, and reveals that not only do present-day news channels and distributors exaggerate the frequency and ferocity of conflicts on a regular basis by flooding the public space with over-reporting and embellishments, but we almost invariably are fed information to arrive at a mindset that makes us forget on a daily basis the major powers have not fought one another since World War 2, and today’s war deaths (military and civilian) are minuscule in comparison.
Also, while this presentation should in no way diminish the very personal human factor of armed conflicts in the present day (and those soldiers and civilians who’ve paid with their lives or injury/disability), it’s necessary to check the level of fear-mongering and embellishment that’s going on in conflict coverage by our news networks, especially when we talk about niche threats like the recent news about ISIS. The threat may exist, but it’s only a danger within its proper context, focus, and sphere of influence, which are all extremely small and distant. Furthermore, the group is known for exaggerating its power by taking credit for the attacks of unaffiliated persons and ‘lone wolf’ crazies (thanks, CBC and others for noticing and finally calling attention to this).
This is why, on the matter of proportionality, it’s important to keep it real. Nearly all the media propaganda we take in today (especially our own, and I’m looking at you, North America) has had a significant effect on our lives, altered our cultural perceptions and created divisions toward those with whom we’re not immediately familiar, and created an alarming loss of civil liberties in the name of fear — and all of this flies far beyond the dreams of the evil religious fighters these networks are covering. We’ve become so scared, we’ve lost our bearings, and we’ve almost entirely forgotten any proper sense of perspective.
Try to remember that the next time someone you know goes off on a runaway rant with lines like, “The Muslims are coming!” or “I dunno about those refugees…” or “ISIS is coming for our neighbourhoods!” These are lines slung by slick business people in order to sell papers — they do not reflect our actual, current reality.