I hate to admit this, but this will probably be another semi-short post. It seems that lately I cannot sit down and write anything longer than say 1500 words per day – which means that I usually have to make a choice between writing a blog post or working on one of my various writing projects. However, lately, both have been falling by the wayside due to the fact that I have been dealing with both being ill and having at least one panic attack a day. I know that once the weather settles down – stops going from one extreme to another that my health will improve, and I wish I could narrow down the cause of my panic attacks but I’m pretty sure that they’re due to stress, which means unless I figure out a way to go on a semi-permanent vacation to a deserted island – I’m basically screwed.
Anyhow, I don’t even recall why I decided to write this post – it’s been in the notepad of my phone since October 8, 2017 – but I figured it was in there for a reason. I also figured that I hadn’t deleted it for another reason…but that’s honestly not important.
There are certain events that make such a profound effect on not only the world around them but on society as a whole…these are referred to as flashbulb events. Why are they called this, and how did they get this name? For that matter, how many of these events have occurred in my lifetime and do I remember any of them? In this post, I’m going to attempt to answer these questions – and perhaps take a walk down memory lane. I will add that during this process – some images may be upsetting as you will soon learn the reasons that these are commonly referred to as flashbulb memories – thus the post title.
First of all is that they are called flashbulb memories because they are the flash of a moment of time, usually one when strong emotions take over. The name is inspired by the flashbulb camera (not pictured above), that used a flash of light to assist in capturing a moment of time in image form. Flashbulb memories operate in a similar fashion – the moments that cause them are brighter than everything else that may be currently happening. This basically means they take precedence in everyday life – they are constantly on the news, memorials are held, etc. Now how many of these moments have happened since my birth in October 1980?
- Space Shuttle Challenger disaster – January 28, 1986
- September 11 attacks – September 11, 2001
- Oklahoma City bombing – April 19, 1995
- 1992 Los Angeles riots – April 29 to May 4, 1992
- 2017 Las Vegas shooting – October 1, 2017
- Waco siege – February 28 to April 19, 1993
The problem is that there are many more moments that aren’t listed here – various school shootings, assassinations of various people, etc. I decided to choose these moments because most, if not all, people have heard of these events. If not, well, I provided links to the articles about them on Wikipedia – so go ahead click to the articles to read more about each event.
The next question is how much do I remember about these events and why. I’ve told you ever since I first started blogging semi-seriously back in 2000 that I was going to do my best to be completely honest. Therefore I don’t mean to offend anyone when I say that not a single one of these events has made a significant memory in my life. By this I mean that for one or two I can vaguely remember how I heard the news, for some I wasn’t directly affected or I don’t know someone who was affected – not counting online friends in this equation, or I wasn’t old enough to realize what was happening.
Does any of this diminish the significance of these events? Not at all, it simply means that the closer you are to a historical event the more likely you are to have a vivid memory of it. This is why we have memorials and monuments to certain events, people, and things to partially help those of us not directly affected and to leave a lasting memory for those who come after.
Remembering helps us to grow as a society, and this growth allows us to both accept the event as it happened and develop the wisdom to hopefully improve upon ourselves. There are certain exceptions for every rule, mainly the difference between how the United States and Australia dealt with having a shooting. But this is honestly a post for another day.
What are some of the moments that have stuck in your mind? Briefly tell me about them in the comments below!