The Instigator
QandA
Pro (for)
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The Contender
D.Wolf
Con (against)
Tied
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People have the mindset that one death is a tragedy but a thousand deaths is a statistic

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/16/2013 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 810 times Debate No: 36754
Debate Rounds (4)
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QandA

Pro

I will be for the notion that the majority of people only react to a tragic death when there's a big story about it on the news or wherever, despite the same thing occurring all over the world daily on a vast scale.
That was just my explanation. Round one is an acceptance round only and then the following will be back and forth argument as normal. Good luck and happy debating!
D.Wolf

Con

We will be debating "People have the mindset that one death is a tragedy but a thousand deaths is a statistic".
You may proceed.
Debate Round No. 1
QandA

Pro

Thank you for accepting the debate.
Firstly I will start off by reiterating my round one explanation. I feel as if the majority of people's mindset is set in such a way whereas an event such as a death is only reacted to if it's in black and white in front of people, through the news or media or whatever.
Example 1: On the news there's a tragic story of how a teenager committed suicide because their father abused them on a daily basis. There would be a huge reaction nationwide and the whole country would be in mourning over it. However that day hundreds or even thousands of people would have committed suicide but people don't think of that when they hear a tragic story of one death. People kill themselves all the time and it happens on an hourly basis worldwide but just because one story happens to get to the attention of people then suddenly everyone's crying over it. But what about everyone else who killed themselves that day?

Example 2: A little boy starves to death because his mother was unable to provide for him. Likewise this story would receive so much attention and reaction from people, yet thousands of children die in Africa every day from the likes of starvation which gets little public reaction.

I am not saying that people think that a thousand deaths is fine, I'm just saying that in comparison to a story of a single tragic death the reaction is remarkably different; seen as a tragedy. Also when such a story does come along people generally don't think or give acknowledgement to the fact that the same thing is happening worldwide on a vast scale on a daily basis. If it's not in black and white or in people's faces then they tend not to bother.
I look forward to your response.
D.Wolf

Con

I'd like to open the debate by stating the contrast between the two separate, diverging thesis's my opponent has offered. The debate title is "People have the mindset that one death is a tragedy but a thousand deaths is a statistic." When my opponent stated that he will reiterate his thesis, he gave a thesis that differed from the original statement that he wished to argue.

1."[P]eople only react to a tragic death when there's a big story about it on the news or wherever, despite the same thing occurring all over the world daily on a vast scale."

2. "I feel as if the majority of people's mindset is set in such a way whereas an event such as a death is only reacted to if it's in black and white in front of people, through the news or media or whatever."

These two diverging thesis's leave the debate in a state of obscurity. Nonetheless, I will break down the two thesis's, take on his two hypothetical examples (I assume they are hypothetical because no facts have been put forth), then go to prove people do not have the mindset that one death is a tragedy whereas a thousand deaths is seen as a statistic, whilst backing up my statements with facts. I must also state, that when my opponent states "in front of people, through the news or media or whatever" and "about it on the news or wherever", his tendency to not state anything firmly also digs his statements deeper into ambiguity.

Lets begin with the first thesis statement (above, I have put a 1 beside it). This statement is based off my opponents assumption that this is the case, and he has omitted to provide any facts. The term tragic is being used quite loosely. For something to be considered tragic by a group of people, it does not have to of have receive media attention. Take for example the Toronto toddler that died at a day-care (http://www.cbc.ca...). When her body was found lifeless, her family was devastated, the parents picking up their 27 children from the daycare were horrified, and the daycare owners were incredibly upset. This fits the criteria of a tragedy, and a group of people (parents, kids, day car owners) seen this as a tragedy, and that is without media attention, internet coverage, newspaper articles, and even before the police were called. He is talking specifically about people reacting. People, that is, the parents, children, and daycare owners certainly reacted when they saw the toddlers body first hand. The ways they reacted were, panic, displays of copious emotions, calling the police, and then going home or to the hospital. These parents, children, daycare owners, paramedics, and police officers fit the criteria of people, and they certainly reacted to the situation and seen the death of this toddler as a tragedy, and this is first hand experience, not media coverage of any other external source but themselves. Thus, this disproves one of my opponents points that "people only react to a tragic death when there's a big story about it on the news", because in fact, the people I listed Immediately reacted.

Secondly, and this applies to both thesis statements, and also fits the theme of "people [do not] have the mindset that one death is a tragedy but a thousand deaths is a statistic.' Take a look at school massacres (such as columbine, conyers, lynwood, etc. etc (http://en.wikipedia.org...). People found these events a major tragedies. I must remind the reader my opponent is taking about a single death with media coverage and "is considered a tragic death despite the same thing happening all over the world", but here, this is an example of death's, more than one (in fact massacres). Presumably, one can postulate that if in the same city a single man was shot by a gun and (still using our example of school massacres) a school was massacred, the story of the single man being shot (who was shot by a shooter that was not involved in the massacre) would be greatly overshadowed by media, internet media, and newspapers, thus proving, that a group of people that were killed would be seen as more of a tragedy than just an individual. More people, such as surviving victims, parents, teachers, and people whom live in different cities who hear about the massacre, would protest and show their condolences for the group of people that were murdered in the school shooting. Similar to what happened in the Columbine case (http://www.cnn.com...). Distinguishing from an tragic death of an individual and the tragic deaths of a group of people, we can see that the group of people who were murdered would be seen as an more tragic event.

I would like to discuss my opponents second hypothetical example first (Example 2: A little boy starves to death...). I can say that in this example, specifically stating Africam which has mass amounts of children who have died from starvation - compared with your hypothetical situation with the child and mother - Africa would still be the more prominent in media because it is in fact a real thing, and has been a problem for years upon years, and will continue be in the future. There are a multitude of charities that generate money to give to Africa (such as Aid for Africa http://www.aidforafrica.org...). The problem with starvation in Africa is a topic that is seen as tragic, and thus, sparked charities, celebrity donations (http://www.thisisafrica.me...), and presidential assistance (http://www.usatoday.com...). The child who starved to death may be seen as tragic event, but the case of children starving in Africa is seen as more tragic and thus has generated more attention. Also be aware, you are comparing an individual person with a mass amounts of people and a issue that has been a comprehensive problem that is more tragic in scale.

Thirdly, I do see the need in addressing you first hypothetical example because it is solely based on your assumption that has not been solidified by any cited works.

I would also like to point out my opponent is unclear in his closing statement. "I'm just saying that in comparison to a story of a single tragic death the reaction is remarkably different; seen as a tragedy. Also when such a story does come along people generally don't think or give acknowledgement to the fact that the same thing is happening worldwide on a vast scale on a daily basis." He is relating his points of view in his closing statement to his hypothetical examples that do not have any facts or cited works to back them up, nor is he clear in what particular story he is addressing.

In conclusion, in the midst of obscurity, I have provided evidence and factual examples that prove the opposite of my opponents thesis's, as well as, I have analysed one of his hypothetical examples and proved it otherwise. People do not only see a group of people dying as tragic, but more tragic than just an individuals death.
Debate Round No. 2
QandA

Pro

Thank you for your response.
Firstly, I fail to see the problem with my two thesis's.

1."People only react to a tragic death when there's a big story about it on the news or wherever, despite the same thing occurring all over the world daily on a vast scale."

2. "I feel as if the majority of people's mindset is set in such a way whereas an event such as a death is only reacted to if it's in black and white in front of people, through the news or media or whatever."

Number 2 is essentially the exact same message as number 1, just written in a round-about way without me mentioning the idea of the "thousand deaths" but as I have already stated about that, it's unnecessary for me to state it again as it is essentially the purpose of the debate and in the title so it's not like I have changed the topic of the debate around just because I left it out, as a result of me stating it in the title and in my original thesis.
It only leaves the debate in a state of obscurity if you unnecessarily try to analyze it in such a way instead of giving the clear benefit of the doubt. Also when I say "through the news or media or whatever", I don't see how me not stating anything firmly, as you say is really of utmost importance as the title of the debate is not
"People have the mindset that one death is a tragedy but a thousand deaths is a statistic, because of a certain thing such as the news or media". I am just using this as an example. Nobody likes spending this amount on trying to clear up something like this on a debate instead of getting to actual important argument so I please ask you to focus more on trying to prove your con side (and I'll try and prove my pro side) rather than trying to look for cheap shots on every little sub-relevant thing that I say, when they're really not there. By taking things that I say robotically instead of humanly I feel you are obscuring the debate, with all do respect.
Now, onto your points.
In response to your toddler story, again I feel you are taking things too literally and robotically. Of course such a story is a complete tragedy and a tragedy for everyone involved in it and other people across the country and this is precisely my point, and the title of the debate. What's interesting is the fact that your source is from cbc news so from this we can deduce that the story was broadcasted and this is how most people would have heard of it. Yes I am specifically talking about people reacting, the parents,the children and the day care owners did indeed react and saw it as at tragedy, which shows that people see one death as a tragedy, which is half of my argument. I see what you are trying to argue but again you are taking what I say too literally. Obviously such people are going to see the event as a tragedy if they are there first hand to experience it but common sense (for lack of a better word) would acknowledge that I mean people who have not experienced the event and could not possibly know about the event without the use of broadcasting it, will react to it as a tragedy i.e. the general public. How many people that day who heard of the story thought "children die all the time everyday so that's a tragedy too", a very small minority I would say, if even any. Yes indeed, your story disproves one of my points but not if you take it into context of what I've just said. Either the onus is on you to acknowledge where the benefit of the doubt is obviously evident or it's on me to explain myself in a very high depth. It remains to be seen.

Secondly, I am not necessarily always talking about a death with media coverage, that is not the title of the debate. If it was then yes, I would have no leg to stand on. I am using media as an example and was merely using it as an example in my opening statement. I see where you are coming from with the school massacre story overshadowing the one man being shot story however despite the truth in this, a school massacre is always closer to one death than one thousand deaths so where is the line drawn? Perhaps I am being too literal, ring any bells? (humour). However the actual title
"People have the mindset that one death is a tragedy but a thousand deaths is a statistic" is a saying itself so again anything like this can be argued if it is taking in your manner of literalism and robotically. If I said "I could kill someone for a chocolate bar" I obviously literally don't mean I would kill someone. It all comes down to human knowledge of "give or take". Do you see the comparison between this and many of my points?

Thirdly, how do you know that Africa would still be the more prominent story in the media? How many times to you think the situation in Africa is mentioned on a weekly basis? Not often, because the media are constantly looking for new stories, the child example that I gave would be a new tragic story. Despite it being hypothetical is irrelevant as are you discounting that such stories don't occur or that you have never heard of such a story occurring? However if you want an example I shall give you one. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk...) You are right, the topic of Africa is a tragedy but in comparison to a tragic single death? I don't think so, and here's why, (http://www.psychologytoday.com...).

Now I am relating my points of view to a factual example.

"In conclusion, in the midst of obscurity, I have provided evidence and factual examples that prove the opposite of my opponents thesis's",
You have certainly proved that you are a very literal person but like I said, as I have cleared up a lot of things and given cited reference and examples now can you please focus more on the actual debate topic.
D.Wolf

Con

The example I gave of the daycare was referring exclusively to people reacting WITHOUT media involvement.

I am not purposely trying to distort the debate, nor am I attempting to lead this debate further into obscurity. But your thesis's do differ, and what you wished initially to discuss stems off into ambiguity and leaves this debate open to a myriad of semantics. Respectively, I ask you to propose a new debate with a conspicuous definition of the terms you wish to use, as well as, we can agree on the structure of the debate and come to a clear thesis before we begin.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
QandA

Pro

Agreed. I jumped into the debate a bit quick without getting my desired explanation across. I shall come up with a new and improved proposed debate in this round and then If you agree I shall create the debate and add you as the con side. (just so nobody else takes the spot first). How about this:
Topic: the majority of people see one death as a tragedy but a thousand deaths as a statistic.

Explanation: I think the title can stay more or less the same if I give my explanation.
Firstly, by people I mean people who are not there to witness the event and could not know about it without the use of media. Obviously people who are there to experience the event first hand are going to find it tragic without the use of media however I want to focus more on the general public. We can take it as a given that people first hand obviously don't need media to find out about it.
Secondly, like I said before the actual title is a saying, not meant to be a literal statement so some leeway must be allowed. What its really saying is that a minimal amount of deaths is seen as a tragedy (including one) e.g. school shooting, however a gigantic sum of deaths (on a daily basis) e.g. Children in Africa is seen as a statistic compared to a story such as a school shooting, in which a small amount of people are tragically killed. Obviously people see a thousand deaths on it's own a tragedy but in comparison to a tragic story of one death for example, I argue that people tend to not acknowledge the fact that a similar thing is happening on a vast scale elsewhere. I.e. It's just a statistic.

I think that's everything covered. I know it's a big explanation but you have to understand that the topic is loose and its hard to pinpoint your explanation without your opponent bringing up things that you wanted to explain. So I have done that now. Sorry for the initial inconvenience.
D.Wolf

Con

I agree with the definitions and accept the new debate.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
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