We ought to remember the names of the fallen, of the victims of the Colorado shooting tragedy last Saturday, 7/21/12, and not that of the accused madman or perpetrators. The point was made in the media and illustrated, pretty well I thought, on Anderson Cooper 360 last night, 7/23/12. By speaking the names of lost loved ones and heroes and sharing stories about them, we help to celebrate the lives they led, albeit short lives in most cases. We also help to not shine the spotlight on those who pull the trigger and do harm, thereby not fostering sensationalism. I applaud this as someone who prays for humanity and humility everyday, but as a student of media communications, I have to wonder just how long these efforts will last.
We have all been programmed to be “drawn to the fire.” We, myself included, can’t get enough of “man bites dog.” I’m afraid that the drive for ratings (in any communications medium) as well as morbid curiosity will get the best of us, and that sooner or later we will want to know about the rest of the outrageous facts of this case.
Honestly, remembering the victims’ names from this point forward would be refreshing. I would love to strike from my memory the murderous, villainous names of Colin Ferguson, of Jeffrey Donner, or of course, Osama Bin Laden. And what of our fallen veterans? From among the many thousands, how many of their names can we recite? When tragedy hits close to home, I will admit that is when I remember the dead. Going forward, I must do better to honor them.
Charles B. Rangel, still U.S. Representative for New York’s 15th Congressional District (yes, still, having served since 1971), was found guilty of various ethics violations and next will be faced with a possible censure resolution by the House. His numerous dirty deeds have brought him financial gain and power. Now I’m not one to give a pass to those who abuse power and authority, especially when they serve those who elect them, but when, and in which case, do we draw a line in the sand? Will Representative Rangel turn out to be another “Teflon Don” and go about business as usual?
Anthony D. Weiner publicly disgraced himself last year with a sexting scandal that showed (among other things) an egregious lack of sense, decency and judgment. It led to his resignation as a U.S. Representative and left his constituents in the 9th congressional district with mixed feelings. Weiner has recently claimed he has no current plans to return to political life, but speculation is that he might. Should he? Are Weiner’s indiscretions far worse and less forgivable than those of Rangel simply because we’re able to “Google” them repeatedly and randomly? If the answer is yes, then what does that say about us?