America: Ignorance of Apathy?

It has been a terrible week for the nation of Ireland. The entire country has been grief stricken by the awful accident that took the lives of 6 young people in Berkeley, California. I first heard of the accident when I was driving to work the morning that it happened. There was a news flash which announced that 5 young people died after a apartment balcony collapsed at an apartment in Berkeley, California. It’s believed all of the students are from Ireland (said with an infliction) and they had been celebrating a 21st birthday party at the time. It’s unclear at this moment whether or not they are students at the local University. Nothing too bad in that, right? I thought it was better that they didn’t lead with the fact that they were Irish because it’s irrelevant to the tragic circumstances.

Unfortunately, the press did not remain that respectful. The New York Times posted an editorial article, in which, the opening few paragraphs called out the fact that the young people involved were students from Ireland who were in America on a J1 Visa. Which is a Visa that college students use to come to America between college years. Some attempt to work for the summer, others just go to enjoy themselves. The article highlighted an incident which happened last year. A group of young men on a J1 trip to San Francisco rented an apartment in a very nice area and got it at a decent price for that area out of kindness from the landlord. A few days before their lease ended, they just left. They left the apartment completely destroyed in their wake. Thousands upon Thousand of dollars of damage. There was uproar in local SFO media and in the Irish media.

This obviously was in very poor taste. Why open an article about young people who died in a terrible tragedy just a day earlier and lead with a negative depiction of the character of those who come to America on a J1? Why? Is it because they are Irish and it’s a prejudicial thing?

No, it’s not. Was it insensitive? Certainly. Was this a once off flub on the editors part? Absolutely not. What the Irish people don’t understand is how callous the media and many people in this country area. The Westboro Baptist Church claimed it was due to Ireland legalizing gay marriage…but that’s expected because they die without attention. But seeing the Fox news coverage was pretty terrible..for better or worse, that’s a mainstream media outlet. And the comments were fucking disgusting online from the far right people. Everything from agreeing with the Westboro baptists church sentiment about God taking vengeance to blaming Mexican laborers!!

Even the USA Today websites comments bordered on the depraved. I know we should all view these as trolls but they didn’t seem to be trolling to me. They seemed steadfast in their convictions. They also were using their social media accounts, not just some nameless and faceless trolling account.

How could people in the country that this happened in be so cold? I know, it’s not everybody, so sorry for generalizing BUT I believe it’s because it’s ingrained in the culture here. People have been dealing with such abhorent violence and tragedy for so long that they are desensitized by it. They look at stories of mass shootings, plane crashes, accidents for a different angle which does capture their imagination and attention. To me that’s so disturbing and is part of the reason I really want to leave this country.

9 people were shot and killed at a Church in Charleston. It will be forgotten in a few days. Certain people and media outlets are already beginning to downplay the core of the story, instead deflecting attention away from the how and the why to simply looking at his character. This will be blamed on mental illness and then nothing will be done because the same people that claim that are the same people who don’t want to fund any form of affordable health care which these people would need.

The violence will continue….it’s by design


About thecityfathers

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8 Responses to America: Ignorance of Apathy?

  1. I remember when you were leaving you couldn’t wait to get out of Ireland. Now you want to get out of the US. I feel quite safe where I am right now, but safety comes at a price here. Rent is crazy in Manhattan. I haven’t witnessed anything personally but a friend was held up and gun point at an ATM in Brooklyn and also witness a pharmacy get robbed at gun point in Jersey City(That’s why we don’t live in Brooklyn or Jersey City). Living here I have met a lot of people of different faiths and races and I have come to realize how homogeneous Ireland is as a country (everyone’s white, everyone catholic, everyone loves to drink). When I was on my J1 in ’08 I did not appreciate this. The group I was with were all Irish and we pretty much stuck to our own, this was not helped by the fact that I and few others couldn’t get work because in southern California they wont hire you if you don’t have a SSN and it took the social security office about 8 weeks to issues our SS cards. At which point I had exhausted my saving/loans and decided to go home. The media here is certainly not coming from an Irish view point, they have to report the news to a variety of different demographics many of whom haven’t never herd of the J1, some of whom may not be able to point Ireland out on a map.
    I have herd other immigrants from other country’s say “We are not from here, we have to work harder and keeps our noses clean, because this is not our country”. I have come to appreciate this in a way I never did as a J1 student. I am still technically a “non-resident”, I have to contribute and pay taxes in this country and cant expect much in return. I have met a lot of American here who have hadn’t worked a day in their life until they graduated from there Ivy League School and signed there first full time contract but these people have long standing roots here, like the “privileged kids” in Ireland who do the same.
    New York is where I live now but Ireland will always be my safety net, if I hit hard times financially or if WW3 breaks out. If I need to I’ll go back to headford, freelance, live at home or in a cheap apartment. Use the health/social services. Ireland is where I grew up and where my family is from and I have no problem taking advantage of the system and family ties there.

    • Before I left Ireland. I was posting on Facebook about reasons to convince myself to leave because I didn’t really want to. What I did find was within 2 weeks of leaving…anything I posted about Ireland was viewed as an attack…as though moving to the states invalidated my opinion of my home. I have only met four Ivy Leaguers so far. Most did not work but then most people I work with went to their in-state option. Even more never went to college.

      The difference being in Ireland we are all priveleged. Over here not everybody is. There’s a much more evident class system in play

  2. shanemalone43 says:

    Just more stabbings that’s all. Its good you are leaving the US we don’t need you negativity. Sick of the stuck up people

  3. shanemalone43 says:


  4. shanemalone43 says:

    You for get that Ireland is soooooo small compared to the US so of course you will hear more about shootings, and murders and terrible accidents. Also if you don’t think that the Irish have people the think and act so cold as well then your in denial. If you want to leave than leave already

    • I can’t leave YET. I invested a lot to move here but soon. Continental Europe has about the same population as the US but does not have the shootings that the US does. Ireland is only a little smaller than the state of Arizona and doesn’t have nearly as much homicide as AZ

  5. I read your comment about the balcony collapse. I hear your frustration and pain. I don’t feel “generalized,” by your comments.

    I just wish to express my sorrow. And shame for the behavior of my countrymen. 😥

    I would have commented on the blog, but I’m having technicial issues. Still following though. 🙂


  6. Jaime says:

    Oh, Rory.
    So, so right in everything that you said.
    Holy Mother!
    I can’t even absorb it all, really.
    Please don’t judge this country and want to leave based on this mess; although, can’t really blame Ye.
    Thank you for your insight and obvious true care on this issue.
    Awesomeness( really a word? Who cares!) on your part as usual …
    Best, My Friend,

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