Wednesday, April 18, 2007

It's tragic, but look at our ratings!

I'm having a hard time with the shootings at Virginia Tech, but not in the way you might think. Of course it is horrible. It's awful, tragic, maddening, and all those other things bad events like this should be. Hell, I even work on a college campus so this should be hitting me pretty close to home.


The main emotion I feel is indifferent. I feel jaded. Ho hum. Lackadaisical.

What the heck kind of emotional response is that? Perhaps it is a knee jerk reaction to all the news coverage using phrases like "the worst campus shooting EVER!!!" Bigger than the University of Texas! Bigger than Columbine! Like the shooter won some kind of jackpot. The media makes it seem like entertainment. The scariest thing was when I thought, "Only 33 people? Whatever. What's on TLC?"

If I'm feeling jaded* by it all, I can imagine some sicko thinking, "I bet I could take out at least 50 before they got me." I don't even think it would be a stretch for someone to put something like this on the table as the ultimate reality show. I can see it now, "Killing Spree - the person who dies with the most kills wins."

* Perhaps I am jaded by the fact that that many innocent civilians die in random bombings and shootings in Iraq practically every day.


Josh said...

well, on the other hand, we wouldn't want this under-covered, right?

our paper (disclaimer: i work for a company closely affiliated with them) found a local kid who survived because he was late for class. great story.

and read jack shafer on covering a story like this.

yes, there's a way to over-do it and really just annoy people while not getting them other information they need to know (think sept. 15, 2001, when we still hadn't heard, read, or seen news about anything else), and i dunno, maybe some outlets are doing that, but cnn seems to be pretty well split between v-tech and this morning's bombings in iraq, at least the little i get to peek at the teevee in the office.

Anonymous said...

hmm- this morning the today show covered about 2 min of other news, and everything else was vtech in the first hour...then they opened it up a bit...same with CNN in the early hours. I think mid-day some places start to cover other news items, but last night it was still vtech all the way from every angle on CNN and NBC.

I will also say that while I feel compassion for everyone in this situation and think it is horrible, like Sassy, I am also struck by the number of tragedies other countries are facing (sometimes at our hands) on a daily basis. We're pretty fortunate all things considered.

And, on a slightly petty note...I kinda need some people to get a grip- they know no one at VT or anyone impacted by this and still seem to be freaking out. Consulting a therapist about why you feel the need to relate so deeply to an experience you're not that close to might be of use.

Sassy Pants said...

Thanks for the articles Josh.

Maybe because I don't often watch TV I'm just disgusted by the carnival atmosphere of the media coverage.

Maybe because these things are happening more and more often, and escalating, I am becoming used to them.

Or maybe I'm just trying to protect myself from the horror that is random violence by not feeling.

In the Jack Shafer article, he writes, "But murders committed at random discompose us at a primal level. They rob us of the false sense of security we use each night to tuck our children in to sleep."

I don't know about you, but as a woman, I'm reminded of my false sense of security every time I go out alone at night, or find myself by myself in proximity to a male stranger. Even in "safe" areas in the middle of the day. Maybe I've deadened my response to this event because living in fear all the time is counter productive.


pagalina said...

My husband brought up your asterisked point and it's a good one. I had also thought of some international reaction after 9-11. Horrific violence happens all around the world and frequently. What freaks me out is that I live a mere 2 hours away from the campus where it happened. I have actually visited this campus. It's just not a abstract as it was when it was columbine.

And having a child makes it infinitely sadder. I can't imagine having bathed and fed my small child, willing it through childhood, adolescence and then finally, almost done with child-rearing, having gotten my child almost to adulthood only to have them cut down in a totally senseless way. Look there is a happy little bunny eating grass in a quiet field. BLAM! And most assuredly, these "children" spent their last moments horrified. To have any sort of empathy with this means you don't sleep very well.

my main problem is with the coverage going on right now. there's not a lot of actual news and facts to convey and so it's mostly individual opinions and experiences. And I already know; we all feel pretty shitty about this.

okay, sorry for the dump fest. maybe I should just drimk a little more beer.