2007.04.17

Morbid Facinations

12.22.53 - Mark

If you've been under a rock for the last 24 hours, you might not know about the Virginia Tech Shootings. I didn't pay any attention to it yesterday, aside from opening up a CNN article or two, but this morning I was watching some of the various news channel coverage for a couple hours, and I really should have pried myself away from the coverage sooner than I did. The act of watching rampant speculation from a slew of talking heads - qualified or otherwise - and seeing the networks scramble for the next inconsequential piece of information like hyperactive 10 year olds looking for easter eggs was an eerie reminder of 9/11 for me.

I'm not disputing that the VT shootings is an important news story, but the morbid fascination that the news networks and by extension the American people have with it, and any number of other disasters, is frankly disturbing. They present continuous coverage of these drive by disasters, with limited commercial interruption, but what point is there to watching 24/7 coverage when most of it is speculation and none of it helps resolve the situation?

It almost feels like a form of manipulation. We all know that yesterday's events is going to be dredging up a handful of hot button issues, from gun control and security to immigration policy. Is the media just preparing us for the debates that will occur over the coming weeks and months?

I'm ready for the real stories to come out from this. From the uses of social networking and the technology gaps between organizations and individuals, the use of camera phones and 1st person accounts online to get the story, to how security theater failed and situational awareness succeeded. I've just had enough with the speculation, repetition, shallow political condolences, and false empathy. Let's move on. There are much better uses for our time.

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