Imagine a chain of scandals focused on a huge number of very vulnerable and fragile people. Picture a horrific mixture of mistreatment and neglect that is institutional, subjecting hundreds of people to completely the wrong “care”, and ensuring that many of them are effectively locked up, often for years. Then add an element that is even more horrific: seemingly endless acts of violence and torture.
Now think about the prospect of such stories piling up: by rights, you would expect some kind of tipping point. But in this case, the sheer number of scandals seems to somehow normalise them, so that even some of the most awful remain overlooked, even among people who think of themselves as progressive and socially concerned. We think we care, but our concern and empathy fall woefully short.