The names of the 12 victims of gunman Derrick Bird were read out at memorial services in west Cumbria today (BBC News).
Will this be the end of what has become a somewhat distasteful media assault on the quiet and reserved communities of the area? I doubt it… The ‘newshounds’ will continue to eek out every last morsel or storyline angle which can be remotely considered as newsworthy!
On the 3rd I made comment about how within 24hrs of the incident, the media had rapidly moved on from the ‘shock horror’ reports to ‘in-depth analytical’ reporting in an attempt to find a reason (aka someone to blame) for the shootings on the 2nd.
Since that fateful and horrific day, the residents of these relatively sleepy hollows have been subjected to a constant and microscopic media examination. Firstly they have to deal with the fear and shock of the initial incident, then they are subjected to minute dissection of their lives and homes by the media because of ‘public interest’… And it still continues on a 24/7 basis a week later! The question has to be asked… Why?
If the media were really worried about “how people will cope” and genuinely concerned about the victims and their families, surely they would leave them alone to grieve in peace. And that’s another aspect of ‘media intrusion’ into personal grief; it actually perpetuates grief and trauma in those who probably wouldn’t have suffered those feelings in the first place. People start to believe that they must be upset, that they must show signs of grief (even contrite ones) after all, it’s what the media/public expect, isn’t it?
As a consequence, we suddenly turn into a nation ‘united in grief’, we overtly gush out extreme levels of weeping and wailing in an effort to provide ‘proof’ we are concerned about our fellow humans. In many ways it’s simply a form of ‘guilt trip’. A trait perfected by an ever increasing proportion of our society and, actions simply to mitigate their own failings. A factor the media have become very adept at capturing since the death of Lady Diana Princess of Wales!
If anyone not directly connected has these ‘emotions’ I would ask… What have you lost? If it were possible to receive a true and honest reply I would suggest the answer would be; “the ability to be an honest citizen who cares and puts others before themselves”. Thankfully these traits are still prevalent (but still declining) in a lot of our rural communities (like west Cumbria) but not so in many of our urban areas, unfortunately.
So as various people who were interviewed today intimated… The time has come! A time when the media scrummage needs to pack their OB trucks, fold away their satellite dishes and switch off their cameras and microphones. To bugger off back to the city and let the families of west Cumbria grieve in peace. Let them experience a level of normality that will actually allow them to rebuild their shattered lives. Perhaps then we will actually see some evidence and ‘proof’ of the ‘compassion’ you have been professing all week.