…and there came to pass early in the second millennium an information overload and great hysteria among the people.

There appeared before the multitudes a host of websites calling out from the cloud, “Verily verily we download unto thee, new graphics in your face.”

A band of programmers proclaimed the message was supposed to be ‘new graphic interface,’ but it mattered not, for among the end users there was no difference.

The error was never corrected. Log Out. (amen)

Each morning I begin my day as most people. Depending on how many times during the night I had to A: turn my pillow over to the cool side or B: nudge my husband to stop snoring or C: write something down before I forgot it, I may or may not remember having a dream, but if I do and it’s a good one, I try to hold onto that dream as long as I can. Most days I have second thoughts about whether or not  I actually want to get out of bed, but usually I have to pee, so, I at least have to get up to do that. The routine varies from day to day, but most mornings I check my favorite blogs to see what is on everyone’s mind.

Last week there was a tragic event in a small rural community in Alabama, and major news media outlets did report these few facts:

  • A school bus driver was shot and killed at point-blank range
  • Children were on the school bus and witnessed the shooting
  • One child was taken hostage and held in an underground bunker

Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies surrounded the bunker, and for nearly an entire week, communicated with the kidnapper trying to reason with the man in an effort to keep the child from further harm. At one point even sending medication and toys for the child into the bunker. Yesterday the child’s abductor was shot and killed. The child is safe with his family.

For the past week, I have seen no media storm, no public outcry for armed school bus drivers, no hateful spewing of anti this and ignorant that on the internet. Why not? I cannot be certain. Maybe it’s because the terrifying event was in rural Alabama and the haters of the world believe it only fitting that such a thing happen where, as haters would have us believe, only ignorant, gun loving, backward inbreds live. Maybe it was because the media was prohibited from being in the area to prevent an escalation that could have jeopardized the child’s life. There could be more plausible reasons, but those are the two I can think of at the moment.

It is a relief and a blessing that this incident ended with the safe return of the child. As we have seen, this is not always the case. I can only imagine what a horrific six days it must have been for that child’s family. I can only imagine what a heartbreak it must be for the family of the bus driver, whose senseless death at the hand of a deeply disturbed man with a gun will no doubt be another excuse for fear and hatred to take its stronghold. I can only imagine the trauma for those children who witnessed first hand the act of violence. I can only imagine the spin that will inevitably come as media outlets pick up this story.

I’d say it will be interesting to see how it becomes fodder for pundits and fuel for hate mongers, but it will not be interesting. Possibly because it will only be a footnote no one will talk about at all or possibly because after the media parades around every person they can find who will say something stupid just to be on TV and the details have been wrung out for every nasty sound bite that can be squeezed from them, it will be over and people will remember only what they want to remember.

16 thoughts on “Not So Sacred Text

  1. Since Newtown there have been 1691 deaths by gun fire (maybe more by the end of the day today).

    What happened in Alabama, is simply so tragic people like me watched and cried and could no longer comment. Tomorrow is my anniversary, tomorrow I celebrate 21 years of survival after a kidnapping and shooting. I don’t know any longer how I am supposed to react.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Val, I’m not sure any of us know how we’re supposed to react. It’s beyond heartbreaking.

  2. acflory says:

    We did hear about that siege, even here in Australia so it wasn’t completely blanketed out. I’m just so thankful that child was not harmed, at least physically. What this will do to him in the long term is anyone’s guess.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      The reporting was not typical. News has become less about reporting fact and more about op/ed. Scoop first verify later is standard practice. So, it was surprising that only the basic facts were being carried. Usually we see a frenzy of pundit crap mixed with interviews of people who can’t formulate a complete thought, much less a complete sentence. Followed by commentary, speculation, unrelated and irrelevant personal information of sources close to…
      This is augmented by the public with overflowing hate speech, rumors or worse, flat out lies. Yeah, the media machine churns out quite lot of rubbish that passes for journalism.

      1. acflory says:

        Ungh. 😦 I’m glad we missed all that. Oh for the days when news was -gasp- about facts.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Well, then pour me a glass of wine. I’m sitting right here!
      I know what you mean, but couldn’t pass up…you’re with me…you know, everybody’s a comedian or just a wise ass.

      1. "HE WHO" says:

        Are you calling me a comedian??? White or red?

        1. Honie Briggs says:

          Red sir, always red. We’re so funny.

  3. SocietyRed says:

    Thankfully the video you shared is a warming contrast to events highlighted by the media.
    Thank you,

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Warming indeed, Red. I love that song and I love those kind of collaborative projects. A bullet may have stopped John Lennon’s heart, but it didn’t stop his soul.

      1. SocietyRed says:

        So true. I cried like a baby that day.

  4. artsifrtsy says:

    What a terrible tragedy for that community. I read something last night about the FBI and local law enforcement being very mindful that the kidnapper might have access to a television in that bunker. They kept a lid on things so that there was no hype to report. Perhaps those rural Alabamans got it right.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      I think perhaps in light of the confusion during and after other recent shootings, law enforcement is more mindful of how the media can negatively impact a situation. The real tragedy, I think, is when we ignore lessons like that.

      1. artsifrtsy says:

        I think you’re right. The hype also seems to spawn copycats in some instances. I think denying them their 15 minutes takes away a huge incentive for this madness.

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