Sunday, April 21, 2013

Why the need?

This blogger wonders why some officials feel the need to exaggerate, or sometimes even make up out of whole cloth, bad acts by  bad individuals... 

So, for example, what was the need for the fiction that Osama bin Laden pushed his wife in front of him to act as a human shield when confronted by Seal Team 6 in Abbotabad? Why did officials feel they had to make up a final despicable act to attribute to bin Laden ('hey, look, big guy hiding behind his wife, what a tool')? Was he not already sufficiently despicable via his responsibility for the deaths of thousands of innocents? What exactly was to be gained by this nonsense? One wonders...

Similarly, in the recent terror incident in Boston, the Waterton police chief's account of the confrontation with the Tsarnaev brothers appears to have an exaggeration. Reading it one would believe that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been apprehended and was in good shape when the perfidious younger brother drove over him, dragged his body down the street, causing his death... ('My God, what a monster, he killed his own brother') This doesn't quite square with the word from the hospital - "... Dr. David Schoenfeld said 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev was unconscious and had so many penetrating wounds when he arrived at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center early Friday that it isn't clear which ones killed him, and a medical examiner will have to determine the cause of death..." So, isn't Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sufficiently despicable for...oh... setting off bombs that killed innocents, killing a police officer, car-jacking, etc.? Do we need to add 'running over his brother' to the tally of despicable acts to 'prove' that he is a bad actor and despicable person? Again, one wonders...

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick also got into the act, relating what is seen on video footage - "... It does seem to be pretty clear that this suspect took the backpack off, put it down, did not react when the first explosion went off and then moved away from the backpack in time for the second explosion. It's pretty clear about his involvement and pretty chilling, frankly." Chilling video... Indeed, Patrick well might have found the video chilling... had he actually seen it ("... Patrick said he hadn't viewed the videotape but had been briefed by law enforcement officials about it...") Oh well, guess he felt he had to say something...

Friday, April 5, 2013

Anatomy of an Incident


An act in several parts... (with occasional changes in the sequencing of the parts):

I. The Horror
II. The Coverage
III.  The Political Parade
IV. The Prohibition
V. The Search for a Hero
VI. The Search for a Reason
VII.  The Outpouring
VIII.  The Lionization
IX. The Debunking
X. Never Again!
XI. The Calls for Legislation
XII. Descent into Farce
XIII. The Fade-Out
XIV. The Next Horror

I. Example: a mass shooting...
II. Wall-to-wall media coverage, talking heads appear to worry that thirty seconds of quiet, any reflection, or attempts to verify details before rushing them out on air might lose them ratings...
III. The local sheriff, chief of police, mayor, governor, senators, the President, and many others all rush to express shock, horror to the media... They appear to feel the need to be seen publicly to be grieving... perhaps to inoculate themselves against any possible future criticism...
IV. Immediate calls not to "politicize' the incident...
V. Someone (e.g. a teacher, aide, police officer, etc.) gets 'chosen' and anointed as a "hero" e.g. "... she ran selflessly towards the firing, saved others' lives, etc."
VI. Mega soul-searching and attempts to understand and explain "why this happened."
VII. An impromptu shrine gets started - flowers, teddy bears, cards, candles de rigueur... Being seen on television adding to the pile, the 'nec plus ultra'.
VIII. One or two victims (cute, and usually white) 'chosen' for extra coverage... They turn out to have been: "...  universally loved... to have 'touched' every member of the community and town...", in short a budding Mandela, Martin Luther King, or Gandhi...
IX. Slowly it trickles out that a significant portion of the "facts:" revealed in Act II turn out to be completely incorrect...
X.Cries of "never again" from all parties...
XI. Politicians of all stripes know how to cure the problem... legislation! 
XII. The media talking heads having run out of things to talk about, are reduced to talking to the perpetrator's hairdresser, elementary school teacher, "friend" of the family, etc. Amazingly enough the majority of these folks turn out to apparently have "known" all along that "something was off" with the perpetrator...
XIII. The incident begins to fade from coverage, usually replaced by other juicy stories...
XIV. Rinse and repeat...

 
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