Jul 21, 2012

A Tragedy Hits Close To Home


Going to take a serious moment here. I had hoped to post a review today for The Dark Knight Rises but recent events are occupying my mind too much.

The events that took place in Colorado are devastating. I can't even imagine what those people in the theater and their friends and family are going through right now. Even though I was sure nothing would happen, I still had anxiety while sitting in the theater for The Dark Knight Rises last night. And it made me sick to my stomach to see Fox News and other outlets sitting outside the theater to interview fans. It reminds me why I steered clear of regular news reporting in my career.

While interning at a NY news channel many years ago, I was in my element. I loved the bustle of the news room and I felt completely at home. But there was that day I went out with a reporter who was doing a story on a 4-year-old child who was accidentally run over by her father as he was backing out of the driveway. As if that wasn't tragic enough, we sat outside their house waiting to see if anyone would come out. We knocked on their neighbor's doors to try and get comments. It was disgusting and completely unnecessary and it was the day I decided I might not be cut out for that particular brand of journalism. Or at least, I wanted no part in it.

It's important to give news, and I don't think anyone should shy away from stories because they are upsetting, but there's good journalism and bad journalism and what I've been seeing in the wake of the Aurora shooting is a lot of the latter. It’s a sad fact that there are people out there who are so disturbed they’ll kill another human being. No matter what the media will sensationalize, or what the offender themselves claims for their reasons, they are psychologically unbalanced and that is why they did what they did. Entertainment is not the cause of violence. People are. If entertainment really was the cause, all of us would be out there shooting up theaters. But we’re not, and that’s why the blame should not be directed toward movies, video games, etc. A single person made the choice to walk into a theater, heavily armed and armored, and kill his fellow human beings. He is the one responsible.

Considering the connection of this recent crime to the field I work in, I find myself having to write about something I’ve tried to avoid for a long time. My only hope is I can do so with respect and truth and encourage others to do the same.

Please do what you can to help those affected by the shootings. Donate to the local Red Cross chapter or volunteer if you’re in the area. You can also help by donating to the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance.

17 comments:

XicanoX said...

Absolutely agree with what you said in this post about the person being held accountable and not movies or video games.

Ernesto Bravo said...

I made a similar sentiment yesterday on Facebook to some friends.

I wish people wouldn't politicize this tragedy. Regardless of the reasoning he may try to convince the world that was his motive, chances are he was just a seriously disturbed individual that would have committed an act this horrific no matter what the situation was. Let's focus on helping those people who were affected by the tragedy rather than point fingers at each other and attempting to claim to know what's better for society. There are people right now who need our support. Whether it be the families of the people who have passed, or the people who have just been scarred by such a terrifying ordeal. Let's focus on healing.

GroggyBot said...

Thanks for writing this up Jill. I have the same thoughts.

Vundablog said...

Perfect response. Tyvm. This is what people need to hear. It's time to be sad not criticize ourselves. It just sucks that so few people got to enjoy the movie unsullied.

MOCK! said...

Nicely put. I also like the stuff Dave Cullen (author of "Columbine") has had to say on this...

Lebeau2501 said...

I live in Fort Collins, which is about 50 minutes away from Aurora. I went to see the movie and just got home. I would be lying if I told you I didn't feel some tension and I didn't keep looking at the exit of the theater wondering what my course of action would be should an armed psychopath walk through that door.
There was a police presence at the theater, which is something outside of the norm, and while it did ease my mind a little, it was a visual reminder of how instantly the lives of those victims changed. I thanked the officer that was standing outside our particular auditorium for being there and he told me to enjoy my movie.
I had a conversation about the effect that the media we consume has on us, and I can honestly say that playing violent games or watching violent movies hasn't made me want to hurt anybody. I feel that people who have the propensity to hurt or kill people have that propensity whether they see violent images or not. It's when those images stop registering as horrific that the problem begins, I think.
I don't know. It's pretty close to home and despite the fact that Colorado has been in the news for shootings like this one more than once in my adulthood, I will never feel complacent about it.

jtigan said...

Good article. I applaud your reason fro not engaging mainstream journalism. I believe the news machine these days is more about feeding the circus than giving people the information they need.
I also think Warner Bros needs to get ahead of this story by donating a percentage of the box office to either a victim's fund or the Red Cross.That would mean more that the "hearfelt" platitudes they have been doing out.

Larry Litle said...

I wrote a similar article Jill. I agree with you completely.

Larry Litle said...

I wrote a similar article. I agree with you completely Jill. I also had a bit of anxiety and it loomed over the whole movie theater. There was not the excitement that normally accompanies this kind of movies.

CA Rabbit said...

Fantastic write up on such a senseless tradigy. I actually find myself tuning the news out after the first hour of reporting, it is just so redundant. I really feel for the people who are suffering through this and hope they find peace eventually. And good for you to keep your integrity about real journalism.

Callie Ray. said...

Thank you for this touching post, Jill.

Fawaz Abdul Wadood Akhtar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fawaz Abdul Wadood Akhtar said...

Has anyone thought as what might be the reason that this guy was forced to kill those people? Everyone is saying that he is insane and a heartless individual totally responsible for all of this. But has anyone thought that it might be the other way around?

I personally think he needed help which almost nobody cared about giving to him until it was too late and he reached the boiling point of his anxiety...

Fawaz Abdul Wadood Akhtar said...

I am looking at it from a different perspective. How many of us have actually tried to find out as to what caused that guy to do such a thing i.e. killing innocent people? May be someone else is at fault.

I am pretty much sure that this person needed help and only if he were given that help and/or support at the right time, we wouldn't be discussing such an incident involving a man shooting people for no apparent reason in a movie theater. There is always a reason for every thing.

We should focus on finding the true cause of such incidents as to why a human is forced to kill another human...

Harvey Dent said...

I will pray for the fallin and pray for the rest to heal.

Dennis Zeiter said...

Sensitive and well written lays blame at the feet of the perpetrator. Impressive writing.

Dennis Zeiter said...

Sensitive and well written, lays blame at the feet of the perpetrator where it belongs.