The more I’m around people, the more I’m convinced that (besides politicians) news is the problem with the world.
It’s a lesson a shabby wanderer tried to teach me back in 1991. I was a cocky young lenslinger in search of bent sheetmetal and calamity. He, contrary to his appearance, was a man of some wealth who had set out to walk the perimeter of the United States with only a backpack, a walking stick, and a worn pair of Nikes.
It was for no purpose more nobel than meeting people.
As I backpedaled and tried to keep him in frame, he schooled me on what had learned less than four months into his journey. “People are fundamentally good. It’s you guys who are the problem.” News, he said, with it’s focus on crime, tragedy, and misery, paints a distorted picture of the world.
He had been traveling almost four months with very little cash, the clothes on his back, and a tent. He had relied on the kindness of strangers. And in almost every town, he found people (without asking) who offered him a meal, a bath, and a place to sleep.
I didn’t try to explain to him that a plane that lands safely or a bank that does not get robbed isn’t news, but I thought it. Still, his words stuck with me.
Last night, I got to atone for some of the misery and fear we spread nightly. It was a privilege and an honor.