Anderson Cooper: Numb in the Killing Fields

I'm a fan of CNN's Anderson Cooper, I admit - but why does a young man who will inherit the Vanderbilt fortune keep risking his neck in fields of death and danger? And what's up with his self-confessed growing numbness around the cruelties done to humans?

I love the CNN superstar's reports from the eye of the storm in New Orleans, the war-torn streets of Iraq, in the fields of death in Rwanda. Cooper's clearly a man on a mission, and his edgy style keeps us coming back for more "entertaining" news.

But Cooper has an almost inhuman ability to avoid getting emotionally caught up by the  dead and dying people at his feet! I figure that seeing/smelling decaying human carcasses would have a lasting, and shattering, impact on the soul.

However, as he recently admitted on his show, Anderson Cooper 360 Report, walking in the killing fields of Rwanda, he realized he wasn't seeing the corpses as human. "I was more focusing on the way that the skin of the hands peels off after it has been sitting in the sun for a while." (Yikes!)

Cooper and his fellow jaded journalists face a danger that I believe is as hazardous as landmines and breaking levies, in a different way. And that is, the separation of our emotions from human suffering leads directly to complacency and a lack of action.

Adrenaline high or compensation for loss?

And I wonder why Cooper puts himself deliberately in the world's most dangerous spots in his role as a war reporter? Is it an adrenaline rush or an attempt to live life to its fullest? (Maybe the latter since Cooper lost his dad when he was 10 and his brother to suicide 20 years ago.)

 I do admire Cooper's apparent journey of personal discovery, and his celebrity role in "realistic journalism" - but I don't like the example he projects of shutting down one's sense of humanity.

 You and me and our neighbors, family, friends, coworkers can - and should - do something every single day to change the way we live and work in our own communities or on distant shores. To make it safer, healthier, more fulfilling, prosperous, etc.

 Our future generations depend on us to turn off CNN, get off the couch and forge a meaningful, respectful path in a difficult world.

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