Column: Caught My Eye, Crossed My Mind – Show Compassion – There Is A Time & Place

Show Compassion – There Is A Time And Place

By: Forrest R. Church, Publisher

I used to think people were generally compassionate toward one another. It didn’t matter if you were or were not a person of faith; a liberal or conservative; whether you supported Michigan or Ohio State (Indiana or Purdue / Toledo or B.G. in my circle); or whether the toilet paper roll goes over or under on the holder … we were still generally compassionate for one another. A stranger would help a community member they never met after a house fire. A hug would be extended when a co-worker lost a grandparent. The human race seemed to lift each other up and showed love towards one another.

In recent months I have started to second guess how well we support one another – compassion seems to be largely secondary to our opinions / feelings suddenly. Is this due to lack of face to face conversations since nearly all of us tend to hide behind a computer monitor or a smart phone when commenting away on social media?

We recently reported on a local death due to COVID19. The response in social media comments? Largely, not prayers and thoughts to the family as one might expect, rather opinions on how the media numbers are skewed, death rates are overall low so we should not be locked down, fake news, etc.

Do you think those going through the initial shock of losing their loved one to COVID19 want to hear that less than one percent die when infected? Think about the days directly after you lost the last loved one in your life for whatever, how would you feel about insensitive comments?

“Sorry for your loss, I can’t believe Joe died of Covid19, it’s like a fraction of a percent chance.”

“Sorry for your loss, I can’t believe Joe died in a plane accident, don’t you know it would have been more likely he died in an auto fatality?” Really?

This type of response is certainly not uncommon. When officials found bodies outside of a funeral home in New York, inside hot semi-trailers, people were still saying the same thing. Literally ever single social media post I have seen that is associated with Coronavirus will have comments on how unlikely you are to die of it, especially daily numbers issued from Columbus.

Loss of life has apparently lost its sting?

Are you going to state how unlikely you are to die from the scenario if the life lost is YOUR mother, sister, friend? I doubt it, our opinions in such a tragic time seem to become buried.
I did not write this column to pass judgement at anyone who has shown insensitivity, I have been guilty of rubbing those that have lost family members wrong (not intentionally) in recent years and have had my eyes opened a bit when reporting loss of life in the news.

Personally, I’m in the Coronavirus numbers are skewed mindset. We have published articles challenging death numbers in the past. Some of what I consider insensitive posts mentioned above, I actually agree with the factual foundation to what is being communicated (that’s not the debate or reason for this column).

I am personally in the “don’t tread of me” mindset and I hate wearing a mask everywhere. I also believe we cannot hide in our homes and behind our masks for forever, we have to live our lives, or we are all going to give a sizable percentage of our lives to fear. Yet seeing how calloused people have become is mind boggling to me.

Breaking News: Another Coronavirus Victim (and before we can finish the sentence) … THEY PROBABLY DIED OF HEART DISEASE – FAKE NEWS. You may very well have a point, but consider compassion over your opinionated assumptions first.

When a life is tragically lost, loved ones generally will go to the media first to see comments from the community. I have talked to probably a hundred family members over the past two decades of publishing news that have communicated with me about our “loss of life” coverage, sometimes they were pleased, sometimes they were upset. The point, especially with the tragic loss of life is that our website and social media posts are heavily read by immediate family and blowing off the loss of life in order to bark loss of life likelihood numbers is as repeatedly mentioned now insensitive.

Even if the majority of the reporting is wrong, this outbreak has been a horrific loss of life and that cannot be denied, no matter what your opinion may be (or mine). I look at this virus attack on humanity as outright war. There are casualties every single day, whether the virus sped up someone suffering from heart disease (any other condition) or not, we are losing life around the world. I believe we need to get on the same page and win the war, then if we want to go back and crunch numbers as we have in past traditional wars so be it. It is not the time to do so when the enemy is at our doorstep, ready to visit our schools, our public gatherings, etc.

I recently spent the better part of two weeks hospitalized (non-virus related). The nursing staff taking care of me was above and beyond wonderful, even cheerful. One afternoon, however, you could feel the heaviness in the building and as I did some investigative reporting from the bed (reporters never lose it once they start), I discovered a COVID19 life was lost in intensive care. It was a horrible effect on everyone, the entire building. Trust me when I say there was not a nurse to a janitor in the building that wanted to hear how unlikely it was for this life to be lost. It was clear this loss of life was going to stick with them not just for the rest of the day but for awhile.

On a side note, thank you to our medical professionals and EMT/First Responders, after having your assistance I realize more than ever how this virus outbreak has had effected you.

In closing, and you can tell me to go jump into the creek if you want, please be considerate when life is lost. Those grieving may have read your your social media comments on our website and that honestly hurts my heart thinking society has become so insensitive. I’ve seen literally hundreds of comments in the last month that just makes me shake my head, all while I actually agreeing with the individual’s mindset, opinion, concerns.

There is a time and a place …

Forrest R. Church may be reached at


2 Comments on "Column: Caught My Eye, Crossed My Mind – Show Compassion – There Is A Time & Place"

  1. Good stuff Forest!

  2. I am so glad this issue was addressed. I too see people Who seem to be less than compassionate to others on social media. Name calling, personal insults and it seems a lack of just agreeing to disagree. And please don’t forget people who seem to feel that they need to take pictures of already struggling businesses and sending them to our local health department! I truly believe it is because of the lack of human contact. Just think about how many things you cannot “hear” the inflection of the human voice the tone or the heartbreak of it. The human voice and touch just can’t be replaced. Just my two cents worth!

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