The Los Angeles Times ran a story today that relates how UCSB students say the focus on the Isla Vista killer is detracting from remembering the 6 dead victims. And well these students should raise a hue and cry. The “if it bleeds, it leads” crowd (i.e., TV) typically is more interested in ratings than rational, reasonable news coverage.
At the same, society not only has a right but a need to know about threats to its safety and well-being. In this case the threat ended quickly, although not quickly enough for the victims. But it raises much more serious, ongoing issues, particularly how we as a society deal with emotionally disturbed individuals. That requires balancing individual rights with society’s right to protect itself from malicious individuals bent on causing harm to others.
If no other good comes out of this tragedy, I hope we can achieve a serious, apolitical discussion of this and related issues. (Then again, I still believe in the tooth fairy.)
In addition, we also must deal with the unsavory truth that violent death and violent loss are facts of life, and, human nature being what it is, violence will, more than likely, always be with us. Therefore, it behooves us to deal with the aftermath—the traumatic grief, complicated bereavement, and PTSD that often afflict the victims’ loved ones—in an effective manner and not compound the problem.
Perhaps some news outlets could take the lead in these arenas rather than just chasing sirens.
- Society’s Challenge: Survivors of Violent Loss
- The Journey: An Adult Self-Help Workbook Kit, Ten Steps to Learning to Live With Violent Death
- Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources
- Dare I Call It Murder?: A Memoir of Violent Loss
- Resources for Survivors of Violent Loss