I’m sure that everyone was appalled by the events in Woolwich yesterday. One man’s life was ended in an abominable way and my heart goes out to his loved ones. The death itself was atrocious but the subsequent TV coverage really got me angry. If this man’s family happened to be watching the news as they hadn’t been informed yet, or if they are to see it at a later date, I can’t imagine how that would compound their suffering.
We live in a time of great technology. This means that almost all of us carry a device which can capture images and videos as well as phone people and send them messages. This also means that horrific photos and videos can be transmitted and made public in a split second. In yesterday’s event, the two attackers seemed to crave attention, openly asking people around to video them. They didn’t run from the scene but waited until police arrived. One or two amazingly courageous people (women, I might add) challenged them and tried to talk them down. Others stood at a distance and filmed the goings-on. Within minutes, those images were transmitted worldwide.
What really got me hot under the collar was the news at 6 o’ clock. They did warn the people at home that there were distressing images but my argument is that some things should not be shown at that time of the evening when young children are around (or any time, actually). I found it really upsetting as an adult and would have been mortified if my grandchildren had seen that. But there was worse.
The commentator reporting from the scene committed the ultimate sin as far as I’m concerned. He said that the two attackers were of ‘Muslim appearance’. Comments like this add fuel to the fire of those of limited intelligence who brand an entire group of people based on a minuscule number of insane fanatics. It is estimated that there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world – one quarter of the world’s population. Islam is a peaceful religion and almost all Muslims in the world would be as appalled as you and I about what happened yesterday.
When Anders Breivik killed 77 people in 2011, did reporters comment that the man’looked like a Christian’? I don’t think so. The BBC reporter was very unwise and unprofessional to come out with such a comment. The TV reporting and video from the skies was unnecessary and bloodthirsty. At times, the Press needs reminding that these events are not to be sensationalised and that somewhere there is a family who loved that victim and will suffer until the day they die having seen those images and heard sensational reporting of what happened to him.