Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Kinder, if not Gentler, Time

In his acceptance speech August 18, 1988 former President George H. W. Bush commented that he wanted a "kinder, gentler nation."  This made him the butt of many jokes but it also served as a reminder of days gone past.

I was reminded of this today.  Yesterday, in Amarillo, a 27 year old man lost his life in a head on collision that was not his fault, leaving behind a grieving widow.

This morning, the Amarillo Globe News, only named here in order that you may, if you choose, boycott them, chose as their front page, above the fold picture, photos from the crash scene.

38 years ago, my 26 year old husband was killed in a head on collision that was not his fault, leaving behind a grieving widow and an injured infant.

So, here's the part where I say I know exactly how she feels right?  The grieving young widow?

No, I don't.  I was never subjected to front page pictures of the wreck.  There were no pictures in the paper.  My family, God love them, made sure that I never saw pictures of our vehicle after the crash at all or the vehicle itself at the wrecking yard.  This kindness, this comfort, this empathy is one of the reasons we never went to court.  My family, God love them, thought protecting me from those pictures, was more important than money.

I am not denying the newspaper's right to publish the pictures.  The accident, and the death of this young man, are newsworthy and I know that a picture is worth a thousand words.  The flip side of that, of course, is that a picture, once seen, cannot be unseen.

I live in a part of the country that prides itself on it's friendliness, it's hospitality, it's downright niceness.  Too bad they forgot empathy and kindness today.


Pamela said...

Experiencing something makes one more aware. I'm sorry you both had to -- and for her -- that unnecessary added painful photo.

Karmyn R said...

I wonder if newspaper reporters (and television ones too) should take classes on empathy and kindness. Maybe they'd think twice before reporting 1/2 the stuff they do

Sayre said...

I am constantly amazed at the coverage that newspapers and television give to crashes and murders and natural disasters. The people involved KNOW what it's like and it's something that really can't be told to other people - so why go for the graphic depictions and descriptions? It serves no purpose - not even as a "teachable moment".

I'm sure it also brought up awful memories for you and countless other people. I'm sorry for your memories of this particular incident being reawakened due to such thoughtlessness on the newspaper's part.

Eulalia Benejam Cobb said...

In the midst of your tragedy, you were fortunate to have your family's intervention. I'm appalled at what the families of victims--of the school shootings in Connecticut, for example--are put through by the media.

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