The Death of Kobe Bryant Reveals our Thirst for Blood as a Nation

Basketball star and public figure, Kobe Bryant lost his life in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles recently. The sad news spread like wildfire and soon we all learned that his daughter and several other individuals were also involved in the fatal accident.

The loss of life is something that pains us all, whether it’s a known public figure, friend, family member, or a stranger. Death is something that has an air of mystery and we just can’t seem to grasp how deeply it affects us all when it rears its mystic head. With this said, it should be equally confusing how we seemingly thrive of the devastation that surrounds such deaths.

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Take Kobe’s accident, for example. The crash site, along with the audio of the last moments, is now going viral online because people just can’t get enough of the gore.

The fact that people would be interested in seeing bloody bodies and wreckage—or hear audio of individuals screaming in fear—is something that should be most concerning. This goes deeper than merely serving as a ‘rubberneck’ on the freeway when there’s an accident on the side of the road. Instead, this somehow taps into our individual sense of what we find both entertaining and our morbid sense of curiosity.

In helping to understand the human desire for disaster, Dr. John Mayer, a clinical psychologist at Doctor On Demand, says that “curiosity and interest in fatal accidents act as a preventative mechanism to give us information on the dangers to avoid and to flee from.”  That’s right, folks. The good doctor believes that our brain tends to learn more from negative experiences than positive ones.

It seems a bit sketchy to believe that a person desires to see a morbid death situation simply because they want to learn from them. If so, how would this explain people watching scary movies? How does the gore of seeing someone chop off their own arms and legs in a movie teach a person about the value of life?

The biggest problem with our fascination with other’s horror and death is that we somehow disconnect from the human side of things. In our desire to witness the gore of a situation, we forget to respect those who feel the pain most…the family members and friends of those who died.

We seemingly get so caught up in the excitement of an accident that we forget the fact that someone’s father died…someone’s daughter, mother, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, grandparents, or friend has gone away and will never return. We forget that in our craze to see accidents over and over again, we keep the pain of it alive for others.

It’s unfortunate that people have to die in painful, scary, or hurtful ways. We would all love to believe that death can be peaceful, painless, and immediate. Unfortunately, however, this isn’t always the case. We all have an expiration date, and no one knows for sure when their ticket of life will finally get punched.

All we can do is hope that our exit from this life will be respected by those unaffected and that it will not serve as a source for entertainment. Just something to think about.

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