It happens a lot but, each time it does, I take comfort in my boredom. I take comfort in the fact that it matters less -- that more people just shake their head and sigh. That we don't rush to our keyboard with a grimace, bashing out the same words we've been typing for the last 20 years.
I take comfort in that. I take comfort in our security as a collective. I take comfort in my apathy. Each time this happens the debate becomes a little more meaningless; the response a little more rational. As for us -- we simply care a little less.
This morning I received a number of emails from people. Folks outraged at comments by NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, who claimed that there was "nothing more potentially damaging than the sort of violence [young people are] being exposed to, be it in movies, be it in console games they're playing."
"You get rewarded for killing people, raping women, stealing money from prostitutes, driving cars crashing and killing people," he continued.
Of course it makes little to no sense. Of course.
I looked at the emails I had been sent, and I noticed something -- there were a lot less of them.
I jumped onto twitter, and I noticed another thing: there were far less people discussing the situation. Far less tweets sent my way, no direct messages. The topic was not trending. For the most part, nobody was engaging in the fracas.
I breathed a sigh of relief and went about my day.
Mainstream media tried to make a meal of it. Headlines were drenched in hyperbole, experts were quoted, arguments recycled. Of course a few took the bait and engaged. Some got angry, and shouted like we used to when this all meant something, but most of us simply yawned. We've seen this before; we'll see it again. And the next time it happens, it'll matter even less.
In fact I care so little about Andrew Scipione's comments that I almost sympathise with him. I sympathise with him because he's confused. He doesn't have a solution so he must have his scapegoat, and that's tragic for all involved. Scipione's like an embarrassing grandfather, with views so out of touch and tepid that you almost tolerate it -- because he'll never change, and progress has passed him by. People who still think this way are relics and their time is almost gone. That's sad.
Patronise them with a nod, gently scold them if you must, but I find it a little difficult to get angry in any real sense. These people are so out of touch it's almost pathetic. In no shape or form are their outdated views any threat to reasonable thinking human beings. Just move along nicely, safe in the knowledge that, with every passing second, their opinions hold increasingly less weight.
Take comfort in your apathy, take refuge in your complete and utter boredom. Because it's powerful. Perhaps more powerful than the anger we usually feel when old men yell at clouds.
Because soon, perhaps sooner than you think, no-one will listen at all.