Who’s at Fault when Insensitivity Is Learned Behavior?

Last week, Annie Karni reported for the New York Post that victims’ families feel tourists treat Manhattan’s 9/11 Memorial disrespectfully. It’s being leaned against and climbed on; kids are being perched atop its inscriptions by careless, camera-wielding parents; and gabby sightseers are posing for pictures while spilling their Starbucks. Anyone adding to the boisterous atmosphere is on the shit list. Given that far more respectful behavior can be found, for instance, at Pearl Harbor’s USS Arizona Memorial, first responders and victims’ families may be onto something.

On the other hand, might not some of these complaints be an excuse for extending one’s grief or reaffirming one’s precious victimhood? Besides, when society encourages digital aggrandizement of one menial personal experience after the next – and thus contempt for everything outside of ourselves – who’s to blame when insensitivity becomes just another a learned behavior? 

I’m just saying, 9/11 Memorial site or not, the presence of loud, sloppy people who can’t distinguish between hallowed ground and Disney’s California Adventure shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, not even World Trade Center families. Read more