When I was younger, I used to say that nothing shocked me any more, that I'd seen and read so many horrifying things that nothing had the same impact as it used to.
But somewhere along the line something changed and now I find that an increasing number of things shock me profoundly. I don't know if it's because people's behaviour is genuinely becoming more extreme and outrageous, or because I've become more sensitive, or because I recoil from the sheer brutality and heartlessness of what's going on. But whatever it is, these are just some of the things that shock me:
1) Abusive social media campaigns. Like the one directed at Northern Ireland MLA* Anna Lo recently, thick with racism and sexism.
2) Extreme drunkenness in public, often requiring emergency hospital treatment and sometimes fatal.
3) Systematic bullying in workplaces, causing widespread stress and sickness.
4) Routine lying by politicians, leading to general disillusion with politics.
5) Withdrawal of welfare benefits to the poor and disabled, causing severe distress and hardship.
6) Mass shootings at schools, traumatising pupils and their families for years afterwards.
7) Female genital mutilation, on a huge scale in numerous countries.
8) Wholesale rape by soldiers as a military tactic and a display of power.
I'm getting used to being shocked. But I'm not getting used to the things I'm shocked by. And there seem to be more and more of them.
*MLA: Member of the Legislative Assembly. Our equivalent of an MP