Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Second Assault on Virginia Tech

Unless you've been living in a cave, and it's not as bad an idea as I once thought, you know about the terrible shooting at Virginia Tech during which 32 students and faculty were slaughtered by a clearly disturbed young man, also a student. We were aware of the basic facts late Monday afternoon, April
16, 2007. A few more details emerged the following day concerning the sequence of events and the actions of some of the victims and witnesses. The university held a convocation Tuesday at which officials of the Virginia Tech, the Commonwealth, and President Bush spoke about the tragedy and the healing that will take place. I wish all involved good luck with the healing process. Constant reminders will abound for those who were victims of the atrocity and for the witnesses of it.

Now the media camps are in place. Connections are made, satellites are reached, and microwaves are bouncing through the ether. Hotel rooms are secured, rental cars gassed up, hairdos are moussed, gelled and sprayed. The second wave of the assault begins. This time the perpetrators are the members of the media. As I watched the prelude to the coverage of the convocation, I saw reporters and anchors making assinine statements, second guessing the actions of the campus security, as well as those of the local law enforcement agencies, the University officials, and the victims themselves. Witnesses were interviewed. "Where were you? What did you do? What did you think? How do you feel?" I was hoping to see someone tell a reporter to get lost, or even to ask, "How do you think I feel?" Being polite, not to mention being in shock, and maybe somewhat sensing their fifteen minutes of fame had arrived, the people I saw answered all questions politely and respectfully. If only the MSM were as respectful.

Now that the names and addresses of the victims are available, we can expect to see reporters questioning family and friends of the victims. I always dread those televised exploitations of human grief. We see crying, devastated family members telling about the individual gifts of their loved one. I'm certain that most of us can somewhat imagine the overwhelming sadness those suffering people feel without seeing it on our widescreen, hi-def TV's. The media milks these human tragedies for all they are worth. True to form, they will overstay their welcome at Virginia Tech, and disrupt the university's attempts to return to as normal a situation as possible. I am sure that soon after the shootings the students, faculty, and other staff of Virginia Tech, as well as the population of Blacksburg wished that the media would just go away.

The American people do not need visual evidence of mourning to feel empathy. This pandering to touch the emotions of outsiders to the tragedy yields the taint of a "Jerry Springer-like" entertainment show. What's more, the constant presence and pressure of this media interference present rude interruptions to people's attempts to regain the focus of their lives and return to pursuing their futures.

Enough is enough. Go away.
UPDATE: As always, . Jonah Goldberg says it much better than I ever do.

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