Like you probably, I’ve thought much and grieved much over the unspeakable events in Connecticut. But my reaction was to studiously avoid the media as much as I could. My phone kept going with the quiet alarm of another AP mobile update–but soon I stopped looking at those, too. I didn’t turn to twitter to see what was going on. And I turned to no news channels to get the latest.
I thought I may be the only person in America to have that response, but I noted Bill Boyd in his blogpost reacted similarly, even if he indulged in early twitter monitoring.
I’m sickened by this event, sickened by the evil and twisted life that caused such horror and heartbreak, sickened thinking about the young lives, their parents, their grandparents, sickened by how our media covers this sort of thing, sickened by the politics already playing out, sickened by the national debate that is certain to follow. Sickened by the inevitability and ugliness of it all.
There are those who will find others to blame. I received this video not long after the event about a similar event in Germany in 2009 and how the media was blamed for instigating these events. It does contain some very thoughtful advice on how the media can cover it without perhaps having the effect that it does.
UPDATE: One standard feature of news reports is emotional reaction from families of victims. It’s a tough job for a reporter to get the interview at a time of great grief. And many have turned to social media to locate potential interviewees–but as this Poynter story makes clear, it’s a potential trap for a reporter to solicit interviews through social media. The outrage gives a small indication of how many feel about this practice.
But, as hard as I am often on the media I am no more inclined to blame them for this event as I am the gun lobby.
This event will change us, no doubt. How, no one can predict for certain. Already there are those ready to take action. And that is what makes such events so hard to take. That one twisted, sick, evil person can cause so much heartbreak and so much reaction–or overreaction. Will our schools become fortresses now? Will every child be reminded for the next many years by traipsing through a body scanner? Will a School Security Administration be created with hundreds of thousands of armed guards? Will every mentally disturbed young person with the slightest inclination toward violence be put in protective custody? Or will we just take away the guns?