guns, media

Virginia Tech, CNN, Dr. Phil; Christ

After hearing about the Virginia Tech shootings yesterday, I spent (a small) part of my evening watching some of the CNN coverage to catch up. For the half-hour or so that I watched, there was a string of interviews of students that saw something, saw nothing, heard something, or, I shit you not, were not even on campus at the time, but were sad. Fuck CNN, twenty-odd years ago I thought that a 24-hour news channel was a good idea, but it really is stunning just how wrong I can be. To add to the morbid “coverage”, we have Dr. Phil, of all people, droning on about how the shooter was a person who was weaned on too-violent video games, probably angry about something, and maybe unstable, even as we were being told that nothing was known about the shooter at this time.

Naturally, missing from this trenchant analysis is any suggestion that at least a teensy-weensy part of the problem is that guns south of the border are as endemic as Tim Horton’s litter north of it. Real guns aren’t a problem, the problem is the pretend ones on my XBOX. Yeah. With this omission it is tempting to conclude that Dr. Phil et al. believe that this whole disaster might not have happened had more students been taking advantage of their Second Amendment rights.

Hey, for all I know, buddy might have been a junked up Doom 3 officianado, but it’s a bit of a stretch to make that assumption. On the other hand, we can assume pretty safely that he had guns, and some idea how to use them.

Sheesh.

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8 thoughts on “Virginia Tech, CNN, Dr. Phil; Christ

  1. I like the part of the coverage where one of the anchors said that a student they had talked to was not eager to return to class after this event. Do you think?

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  2. From the CBC.ca site:”On Tuesday morning, police identified him as Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old native of South Korea. Virginia Tech president Charles Steger had earlier said the shooter was a student who lived in one of the campus dorms.”

    “There were two separate shootings on Monday, two hours apart. The first took place at about 7:15 a.m. ET at West Ambler Johnston dormitory, a co-ed residence housing more than 800 students.
    The second was at an engineering building, Norris Hall, where the gunman sprayed bullets into classrooms as students leapt from second-storey windows to escape.”

    CNN are not the only drivel-mongers that turn sensationalistic and seem to become enraptured at the prospect of some carnage. Not having a tv, the first news I heard of this rampage was on CBC radio this morning. While I’m happy to say that CBC refrained from getting someone to comment directly on what made this particular student “lose it”, I have to say the reporting was less than…. tactful…. Especially when Anna Maria Tremonti was interviewing a Virginia Tech student: An obviously still-shaken young man who was actually in a classroom the gunman tried to enter but was prevented by a barricade the students managed to erect. The questions she asked started with the usual, blithe “oh how are you feeling?” and “what was it like?” drivel, but quickly proceeded into what I consider inappropriate, and morbid, things like “How did you feel about almost being wiped off the face of the earth?”;”Did you know any of the dead people?”;”are any of your friends among the dead?” I was offended by the tactless and blunt manner in which she was pushing, no, probing for morbid, personal information from someone who had just been through a traumatizing experience. I was just waiting for it to degenerate into questions of whether he saw blood, did he see brains splattered on the wall – c’mon there had to be brains….

    What were the gunman’s motivations? I don’t know, I suspect no one does, for sure, unless he left a note, orconfessed to someone beforehand. Is the prevalent gun-culture in the US to blame, at least partly, as kevvyd asserts? Well, the guy was Korean, so he didn’t grow up with US gun-worship. But, what was he doing with at least 2 (from unconfirmed reports) fully loaded weapons in his dorm room? If he’s not an american citizen, how was he able to procur guns in the US? It all makes me very glad that we try to keep a bit of a leash on handguns and automatic weapons in this country.

    Are violent video games to blame? That’s a cop out. Millions of us play those games, myself included.I have played Doom, Unreal Tournament, Half-life, Medal of Honor, and many other first-person-shooter-style games… But we don’t solve our problems or relieve our anger with “guns ablazin’ “.

    what about the ‘news’ items that are presented to us each day? I think the tendency of our media to sensationalize violence, to concentrate on the horrible events of each day, to repetitively blast our senses with carnage are at least as much to blame. After all, where did our fascination with human suffering come from? Has our society degenerated into such a voyeuristic and morbid mob? Are we so base in nature that the sensationalistic representation of blood and gore, of carnage and human suffering, has become fodder for entertainment consumption? Is it “better” reporting not to treat stories of human suffering with a little tact, decorum, and compassion? Does the public REALLY have an inalieneable, god-given right to know? Does the public have the “right” to get their gore-jollies from these stories? I would say NO. There should be some compassionate limits to the media prying into tragedy. Not laws (I believe censorship to be a slippery slope) but, some sense of ethics, some feeling for the humanity of those traumatized in these events. In short, a good reporter/editor/newsstation should know when to close their “passionate eye” and open their “COMpassionate eye”. I am remembering a documentary I saw on the reporting surrounding 9/11. It may even have been on “The Passionate Eye” on CBC. Where a grieving father (of someone who lost their life in that tragedy) asked: “How many times do we have to see those damn towers fall? How many times do I have to watch my son die?”

    I am saddened and horrified by the events at Virginia Tech yesterday, but I am appalled at the limited amount of reporting I have heard already. It makes me glad I don’t have a TV. I can only imagine the crassness of the coverage this will receive… The Horror, the Horror…

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  3. Some utter idiot from BC had a letter in today’s Globe and Mail about how the Virginia legislature had voted down a bill to allow concealed weapons on campuses.His arguement was that if only the gun-control “wackos” had stayed out of it then the Virginia Tech students could have defended themselves. Beggars belief, doesn’t it? I’m debating flying to BC to punch this guy in the head until I’m bored with it or he’s smarter. I expect to be bored first.
    Dr. Phil isn’t the only one jumping on the bandwagon, although in all likelyhood he was probably contacted by the networks within moments of the news breaking. All the news shows have been dragging the first available expert into the studio, all of whom are waving a trail of pet theories above them like semaphore flags. I’m also expecting a “let’s not get to hasty and overwrought” type statement from the nra soon.

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  4. I just went to the Smoking Gun site and read one of his troubling “plays” – I found the link in the wiki page MRx linked to above. Perhaps he was slowly coming to the realization that his career as a writer was just not going to happen – it’s dreadful, and not in the “troubling sense”. Dreadful in the incomprehensibly, barely literate sense.

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  5. kevvyd – If you are feeling masochistic, you can find them both on the aol link at the bottom of the wiki article. I was feeling a little self-punitive today, so I did read them both. Both have equally incoherent plotlines punctuated by inane profanity and morbid, violent, pedophilic(?)undertones…. I’d have to concur that there wasn’t much literary talent evident there.

    But, I’d also have to agree with his Creative Writing Prof., There could very well be evidence of some very deep-seated mental problems in there.

    MRx – The current state of network news, and the news media in general, is what I was foaming about. There seems to be a general decline in the professionalism of journalists … get the macabre, the sensational, satisfy the lowest common denominator at all costs. I think some ethical… sensibility… has to be re-instilled into journalism. To know when to leave distraut people alone, when to stand up and critically examine the line that government is feeding them…. I think its all tied together in the same decline in quality journalism.

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  6. The inanity of the media is a never-ending source of amusement – the ‘news’ part of a daily newspaper is funnier by far than most of the crap on the comics page (with the exception of ‘Pearls Before Swine’). I was visiting my Dad not long ago and was reminded rather amusingly how starved smaller places can be for anything newsworthy. This was at the latter part of the pet food poisoning scandal, but even this didn’t justify the headline on the local paper:
    “LOCAL CAT SICK”

    I kid you not.

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  7. Flash,
    One summer, many years ago, I visited my grandparents in Prince Edward Island. I made it in the local paper (The Journal-Pioneer) for getting a 28-hand in cribbage playing at my grandmother’s kitchen table.

    Some of us use up our 15-minute allotment at the age of 8.

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