Response to River City Rapids – “The Media’s Woody”

Let me begin by saying I do applaud the energy and altruism that I sense your blogging represents. But I find it troubling that you don’t allow replies on your own site, so I reply here on mine.

I take exception to your hyperbole over the NBC airing of the murderer’s tapes. You violate your own premise by suggesting the next atrocity could be committed “by some sicko attaching a camera to themselves as they walk down a hallway perpetrating such heinousness”. Humm, I wonder if someone reading that will get an idea?

It’s a bit presumptuous to assume that those with such murderous intent are not creative enough to have thought up what we sane and balanced individuals could not imagine. Just as many don’t want the weaknesses in our open society to be broadcast to terrorists as it might give them ideas. It’s naive to think that either terrorist or the mentally deranged aren’t as bright and creative as we are in imagining evil actions – as evidenced by much of the creative violence on TV and film today shows.

NBC and the rest of media are businesses that live off the public craving for its output and carefully orchestrate that output through clever media monitoring. And if any American life is as important as another, I’d challenge you to find the commensurate national attention to the 17 American soldiers, also of the ages of the Virginia Tech victims, who were grotesquely killed in Iraq last week.

I believe NBC was at least as responsible in their handling of the “sicko tapes” as you were in your blog post. Unfortunately we miss in this entire episode perhaps the broader issue of the lack of mental illness parity in America, the bullying that still routinely occurs in our school systems, and the lack of us as individuals to respond compassionately to those in our midst who suffer from mental illness.

And overreaction to this incident will predictably make our society less open, our schools under tighter restrictions, and our communities more gated.

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