CHICAGO, July 20, 2012 — “If it bleeds it leads”. That is the media motto.
A motto proved with the coverage of the Aurora, Colorado shootings.
One radio outlet dubbed it the “movie murder massacre.” It led the news all day long and still is. Droning live reports of, well, nothing, dominate the media. All anyone knew for sure was one person, James Holmes, shot, wounded, and killed people in a dark movie theater during the midnight opening of “The Dark Knight Rises”.
In a spectacular frenzy of sensationalism, the media bored us with footage and babbling commentary about what they did not know, and their experts who have no expertise.
They just could not resist turning a tragedy into a spectacular national media lollapalooza. P.T. Barnum would be proud. It was sad and pathetic to see how low the media sank in the name of sensationalism.
An ABC newsreader salivated over the false and unchecked claim the shooter was a Tea Party member. He was forced to make the ubiquitous unimpressive apology.
This was part of a worse side to the tragedy, the immediate politicization of it. The pro and anti-gun paranoid nuts were out in full force on Facebook and Twitter with their insanity.
There must have been a run on tin foil to make so many hats.
The social media religious nuts generated numerous syrupy images and pathetic calls for prayer. Sinking even lower, soon after the initial reports of the incident MoveOn.org shamelessly set up a petition page, supposedly from Mayors Against Illegal Guns. It is just another pitiful attempt to phish for emails while trolling for dollars.
In a fit of self-righteousness some media outlets actually blamed the NRA and elected officials, including the president, for this tragedy. They accused them of being just as guilty as the shooter. The media propagandists boldly proclaimed the politicians and organizations have blood on their hands.
Guns did not kill and wound the victims in Aurora, Colorado. The dealers who sold the guns did not kill those people. Politicians and the NRA do not have blood on their hands. They did not kill those people. Oh, and if people were armed in that dark theater and started shooting there would have been a bigger blood bath.
More innocent victims would have suffered.
The blatherers on both sides of the gun issue should really stay quiet. They embarrass themselves with every word they print or enunciate. The media took their left wing propaganda to a newer deeper level of filth, reek, and effluent. They should be ashamed. They finally lost their grip on reality.
There were moronic critics. They could not fathom why people would take their infants or small children to a midnight movie? What difference does it make? This movie may be completely inappropriate for children, but we have a right to take our children to a movie late at night without expecting them to be shot at, even if it’s a Batman movie. If a woman is raped, do we stop to criticize her for wearing makeup and sexy high heels? Who could have anticipated a killer would be on the loose?
From all appearances James Holmes, the shooter, was the typical textbook loner who for whatever reason snapped and committed mass murder.
There is still more speculation than facts.
What we do know is that Holmes is from San Diego. He resigned from a Ph.D. program in neuroscience. He is reported to be an intelligent man. That is all we know.
From the media reports on all they “know,” we learned, well, absolutely nothing.
All the coverage and various responses to this tragedy should make us embarrassed to be members of the higher order of beings. It was a tragedy. People died and were injured. We should express our sympathy, empathy, and if you are a believer, prayers. That is all right and proper.
But, to generate a constant consistent streaming barrage of babble and nonsense minute by minute on traditional and social media is beneath the dignity of intelligent beings. There was more silliness in one day than our race should tolerate.
This is not the first time a tragedy like this happened. Guess what? It will not be the last time. As long as there are human beings, there will be human tragedies, both small and large. It cannot be prevented. Get over it.
You can ban and melt down all the guns in the world. You can forcibly arm every man, woman, and child. You can surround venues with heavily armed cops and soldiers.
It will not make one bit of difference.
Any true expert, with expertise, will tell you that you cannot prevent or stop one or more individuals who are bound and determined to commit a heinous act.
One lone human being killed those people. If he did not have a gun he would have figured out something else out. Holmes seems to have some skill with incendiaries and explosives, according to the police who are attempting to clean out his boobie-trapped apartment.
Aurora, Colorado was just one more incident that has repeated itself during the long history of mankind. It will happen again. If one or more determined individuals want to do something heinous they cannot be stopped. That is expertise you can believe in.
We do not know enough about James Holmes to decide if he was always an unstable person, was a normal person who lapsed into insanity, or who was just evil, insanity or evil causing him to plan and execute a murderous rampage.
Eventually we will know more about James Holmes than we ever wanted to. It is irrelevant, except to the medical profession which should and will try to study him.
Let us all just step back, take a deep breath, and go on with our lives. The world never stopped over any single tragedy. Let’s also start using common sense and innate human intelligence. This was one isolated case perpetrated by one isolated person. It had nothing to do with guns, people taking their kids out at night, the president, political campaigns, God, American culture, or anything else.
It happened. It was tragic. It is over, it will happen again. People are being killed by the hundreds and thousands in Syria. That is a national tragedy. Aurora is tragic, but a human, not a national tragedy or nightmare.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance journalist and photojournalist, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the irreverent sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone. Mr. Bella is a member of the National Press Photographers Association and the Society for Professional Journalists.
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