72 reasons to appreciate your life a little more

The Associated Press recently released a story stating that the Islamic State (IS) had murdered and buried thousands of innocent victims in 72 mass graves scattered across Iraq and Syria.

This is just the latest of several shocking facts to be released concerning IS. For some time now, we have been subjected to their murderous vengeance across the globe in several acts of terrorism. The worst part is, they seem to be intensifying in severity. From attacks in France to homosexual nightclubs in Orlando, it can feel like the hatred never ends.

To make matters worse, not only are IS terrorists murdering people by the thousands across the globe, they’ve also been producing videos of their treacherous deeds and uploading them onto the Internet. Their hatful propaganda is merely a click away from entering the homes of people around the world. “Out of sight, out of mind” is no longer the case.

It’s safe to say the majority of Americans have either seen or heard about the extremely graphic videos IS have released the past few years. The videos detail the several gruesome ways the terrorist organization has murdered innocent victims. The methods used range from drowning to running over a man with a tank to wrapping detonation cord around several victims’ necks to loading a car with people and launching a rocket at it.

The simple fact that these atrocities are occurring chills me to my core. The sadness I feel when I imagine the families affected by the senseless violence brought on by this terrorist group is insurmountable. With their religious ideals and video editing, the group has managed to strike fear into the hearts of many people.

But along with the sadness, there also comes anger. While some people spare a moment of silence for those lost, others take action. We’ve read numerous stories of average people joining the Kurdish Army and taking up arms against IS over the years, and it’s hard not to root for those brave enough to go.

I read about these awful things happening, and it makes most other issues seem trivial by comparison. I find it hard to get worked up about topics such as Donald Trump changing his mind on another issue or whether a piece of clothing is blue or yellow.

I sometimes wish more people were aware of what’s going on around them, more than immediately around them though, around the world. I walk into class and overhear people complaining about some social issue currently being plastered across Facebook and all I can do is shake my head and wonder how exhausting it must be to focus so intently on the mundane.

There’s something wrong with people if they aren’t aware of the evil in the world. We live on a planet where information is a simple Google search away. Shielding yourself from the negative aspects of life seems to be an absurd way to live. How can we justify remaining ill informed when it’s so easy to stay in the know?  

I urge all of you to take a few minutes everyday to read the news—the real news—and stay informed. There are several viable options available to those who take the time to download particular applications: National Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio and my personal favorite, the Associated Press.

And just for your essay, if you didn’t already know, the vast majority of the news we consume these days is cited directly from the Associated Press. Pay attention the next time you read an article or watch the news on television, the majority of their comments, written or spoken, typically begin with, “In other news, according to the Associated Press…”

Sure, there wont be much you can do in the overwhelming majority of the things you read about, but if nothing else, it will help you develop an appreciation for life you may not have had beforehand. To read about 72 mass graves in war torn countries makes me reach out to my family and friends and make sure they know I care about them.

And who knows, you might read something one day and become motivated to do something about it. People become inspired by stories they read all the time. And that inspiration is often the small spark necessary to invoke huge change.

Stay informed, stay safe and hold your loved ones a little closer. While you’re at it, spare a thought, prayer or moment of silence for the victims of the hatred brought forth by the terrorist organization IS.

Matt Eidson is the Opinion Editor for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]