“I can’t believe it”. You're shocked, stunned even, at this story you’ve surely read in a thousand other iterations. It's yet another tragedy. A mass shooting, a terrorist attack, countless innocents used, abused, or dead - it’s like the fifth story this week, 100th one over the past few months but make no mistake, you're definitely still puzzled. “How could this happen? Who would, rather who could do such a thing?" The harsh realities that some people endure, it's beyond you. You really can't believe it.
But it is believable, it's quite common actually. It's been proven time and again, it's been verified, demonstrated, tested and confirmed; that the worst of the worst is right under your nose, sitting just out of reach of your acknowledgment. We consume somewhere between 10 and 13 hours of media every single day and every time you still can’t believe it? That's laziness. To act as if you can't grasp what's going on is the laziest possible contribution you could make concerning a tragedy. Be upset about it, be disgusted or disturbed, be devastated and heartbroken but nothing about what’s happening is unbelievable.
And if you think it is, it kinda looks like you just don’t feel like giving it much thought. “I can’t believe it” in contexts like this is reflective of something much greater; even if it's not complicated, a circumstance you just "can't believe" is more difficult to explain and accept for what it actually is. It can't be dissected or resolved. A lack of acceptance diminishes credibility and what better way to slide something under the rug than to put it out of your mental range. How can you really feel for something you can’t even wrap your head around?
It’s as if to say it’s hard for people to do heinous things, as if it doesn’t happen all the time, as if it hasn’t shaped our entire history. “I can’t believe it” is saying Get Out was a comedy. "I can’t believe it" is calling the race card. It’s he must have been a thug and it’s the criminal justice system does no wrong. It’s the Civil War wasn’t about slavery and it’s slavery wasn’t all that bad. I can’t believe it is most women lie about sexual assault. It’s everyone else’s fault, it’s foreign, it’s out of my hands, it’s not my problem. Truly a grand minimalizer; the embodiment of ignorance is bliss, but you probably can't believe that either, can you?