For years I've been someone who is really into following the news and current events. I love reading about politics and international affairs and Agi and I subscribed to the Economist for five years in the U.S. This year we're taking a break from the Economist and I'm seeing the value more and more of avoiding "daily news" altogether. One of the reasons for doing this is that "daily news" is hardly meaningful. The stock market goes up one day and it goes down the next. "Weekly news" is definitely better because if a story is truly worthwhile sharing, it will "last the week" and not just disappear after a day. But perhaps even better is getting monthly or even annual overviews.
Another ongoing realization for me about the news (and this is by no means revolutionary) that's been reinforced lately is that most of the time the new "stories" are downright disturbing. I have been deeply affected the past few days as I've read about the terrible assault upon the Petit family in Connecticut (in which only the father-a great dad and doctor-survived and his wife and two wonderful daughters perished at the hands of those two sick parolees). I'm just not sure if I should have read all about this. I actually had trouble falling asleep last night because I was thinking about how those two guys broke into their home and committed such horrible acts on a helpless family. Maybe we shouldn't be so helpless after all? No doubt if those guys went into a typical home in the Southern U.S. they'd currently be riddled with shotgun pellets. I'm thinking of putting a golfclub under my bed for such occasions. By the way, violent crime in Europe is MUCH more rare than it is in the U.S.--which should cause Americans to wonder what in the world is going on?!
Finally, one more thing on the depressing news topic. The only other occasion I can remember--in recent memory-- being so affected by a horrible "national" tragedy like this was when the young James Kim family got lost in the Oregon snow this past winter. It must have been an unspeakably horrible and frustrating experience to have simply taken a wrong turn in the mountains, gotten stuck in the snow and then to be essentially helpless to care for your wife and two young daughters. I was so moved though that he died trying to save their lives. (If you didn't know, the rest of his family did make it--thanks to a helicopter that James' father hired to do search and rescue).
So yes, I'm going to cut down on the news and focus on the more important stories. I'm also going to do my best to read more books instead. (Just started Kim by R. Kipling--Agi read it last year and highly recommends it.) Books are the way to go.