Sometimes we need to be exposed

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In case you missed it, the above photograph has been all over the Internet today.

It’s the disturbing picture of a dead 3-year-old Syrian refugee, who was on a boat that capsized while trying to travel from the Turkish west coast to the Greek Island of Kos.

I first saw this while sitting in a Venice Beach cafe, sipping an overpriced coffee from an overpriced paper cup. I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt and flip-flops. My kids were at school, well sealed and receiving a quality education. When my wife picked them up, they went to the nearby mall and had a treat—chocolate—as a special snack. Then they came home for a warm dinner, and went to bed without a real care in the world.

Look at the picture.

Look at it again.

And again.

The first time I saw it, I gasped. Like, literally gasped at the awfulness. Then I thought about how pathetically little I know of the Syrian refugee situation, and I spent considerable time getting educated and reading up and trying to grasp what’s what, and how an innocent child is dead, on a beach. It’s all heartbreaking stuff; this is probably the best synopsis, if you need to catch up and gain some knowledge.

And that, dear readers, is why—sometimes—we need to see photographs of dead children. And shot news reporters. And destroyed homes.

Because without them, we sip our coffees and eat our chocolates, as if the world outside our community doesn’t exist.

As if there are no casualties.