Too much information

I think it is a fair assumption that someone who goes round the streets shooting people at random, and then turns the gun on himself, is not in his right mind. This being the case, why is it that the BBC has seen fit to devote at least half an hour – it may have been more – to coverage of this sad event? Why are the normal news programmes not deemed sufficient to bring us the news of the twelve dead and up to twenty-five injured? It is not that I am callous, or that I think this is not newsworthy. My concern is that if this sort of crime achieves the degree of coverage that it already has, then somewhere, there will be some other less than balanced individual who sees this as a way to ensure his promised fifteen minutes of fame.

I did not watch all of the BBC news broadcast, but I did see enough to be aware that the Hungerford and Dunblane shootings were rehashed, complete with posthumous notoriety for the perpetrators. Of course, the various gun lobbies are already fearful of the results as far as lawful ownership of guns is concerned, as every time such an atrocity takes place, laws concerning guns become more repressive.

But my concern remains the amount of publicity that such an event receives. There have been reports in the press of teenagers planning copycat shootings along the lines of the Columbine shootings, and for precisely the reasons of notoriety that such an event gathers. There will, unfortunately, be those who are watching their televisions and who are thinking that if they decide to go, they will take down with them whoever they will, for no other reason than to gain a little renown after death, even if only for the very worst of reasons. If you feel you have no friends and that society has treated you badly, perhaps you might also decide that you would take steps to make others sit up and take notice of you, for no matter how bad a reason.

I can only imagine what it must be like to be one of the relatives of those who were shot down in cold blood, simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It would not at all improve the situation to feel that my family’s suffering was being served up as early evening “entertainment” for a gawping nation, particularly when the killer is not only known but dead, and where witnesses, interviewed very shortly after the event, give out information that is demeaning for those who have died, and which is far more detailed than the rest of us have any right to know.

18 thoughts on “Too much information”

  1. Could have been covered by two words-

    ‘Going postal’ as it is known in the USA, for once the Americans nail it on the head!
    As you say TMI.

  2. Hello SP (and a rather late welcome to the site from me)

    Of course if your gun laws weren’t so draconian some community spirited citizen may have been able to stop the perpetrator after the first or second victim. I doubt if it would be possible to drive around the countryside here and shoot 37 people.

    Your point about the publicity is very valid, my satellite news channel of choice is SKY, they have reported on basically nothing else since my arrival home at approx. 4pm. I decided to switch to CNN, that’s wall to wall Gaza and the flotilla 😦

  3. Thank you SP, for expressing very much how I feel:

    It would not at all improve the situation to feel that my family’s suffering was being served up as early evening “entertainment” for a gawping nation.

    After about ten minutes of news, I asked my mother to turn it off – ghoulish is how I would describe the media coverage.

  4. I haven’t even bothered to turn on the TV; I absolutely loathe this sort of thing. Ghoulish is a very good word, Boadicea.

  5. This post withstanding, The Assistant Chief Constable answered TV questions very well. No “police speak,” just everyday language,

    Araminta :

    I haven’t even bothered to turn on the TV; I absolutely loathe this sort of thing. Ghoulish is a very good word, Boadicea.

    It it is life and news Minty!

  6. Soutie, your # 2 repeats your wild west approach to law enforcement. Good luck during the W.C.!

  7. SP, such news covereage is the price of a free press. People want gory details and b*gger the victims. The public interest defence always wins and the privarte interest suffers.

  8. Janus

    ‘Free’ Press is a another term which needs looking at – just like ‘Free Speech’. A bit of ‘Decent Responsibility’ would not go amiss.

  9. As usual, the lady here is the odd one out. This news was ongoing, minute by minute changing with updates and information as it came in. No other news was left out, it still got reported.
    I have never lived through anything like this and hopefully never will, has anyone else?

    Massacre is thankfully so rare, it does need reporting in full, and as it happens.

  10. Welcome to this arena Squarepeg. I agree with you. “Road rage” has almost become a licence to kill on account of the publicity given. As if violence were some sort of recognised medical disorder.

  11. Morning Val.

    My children were at Hungerford with a friend and I was in the US it happened. They missed it luckily by about half an hour, but there were two very worried parents frantic for news.

  12. Hello Araminta. That Hungerford experience must have been dreadful, for your children and for you so far away. I can’t even begin to imagine what you went through and what those concerned in Cumbria, are feeling right now.

  13. Yes, it was a very worrying time until we knew they were safe, but how much worse for those whose children, friends and relatives were killed or injured.

  14. Valzone –
    “Massacre is thankfully so rare, it does need reporting in full, and as it happens”

    Sorry, why does it need reporting “in full”, to the point that it displaces scheduled television programmes? To me, this merely makes it just another television programme – a sort of real-life drama, if you like, and the very publicity that such events attract unfortunately is an encouragement to the sort of deranged individuals who might contemplate doing a similar thing themselves.

  15. Agree with you sp, the oxygen of publicity leads to copycats, it has happened so often.

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