Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tragedies and Those who Line up to Grab the LImelight

I just listened to the press conference from Virginia Tech officials discussing what is known so far regarding the tragic shooting that occured there yesterday. The president of the university spoke, the various law enforcement bigwigs, the medical examiner, the governor's spokesperson, etc.,etc.

Everyone expresses their horror, sympathy, grief, all the other appropriate expressions and I'm sure that they are sincere. But the need that some people feel to rush in and publicly utter their feelings is suspect. I guess they are sensitive to the media's constant nose-counting of who shows up at these events and who doesn't. Their fear that they would be singled out as "insensitive" or "uncaring" compels them to pop up everywhere the cameras go.

Although not registering on the Richter scale of public tragedies, the recent Imus "scandal" was an example of the same phenomenon. When New Jersey governor Corzine found out that Imus was due to meet with the Rutgers' womens' basketball team to apologize for his nasty remarks directed at them, the governor jumped in his car to show up and gather some of the media attention. He was in no way connected with this unfortunate situation but was compelled by his lust for attention and need to appear appropriately disturbed by Imus' remarks. Too bad for him that he neglected to fasten his seat belt as is required by New Jersey law. He suffered serious injuries after his trooper driven SUV crashed on the way to the media circus.

President Bush and his wife will be appearing at a convocation at Virginia Tech later today to express their sadness and grief for the calamity that happened there. That's just what that community needs - a whirlwind of activity surrounding the appearance of the president and his entourage when the university is already in an uproar and the investigation is ongoing. I am sure his feelings are genuine but it smacks of political opportunism.

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