Rhetorical question: does domestic violence really have to ruin EVERYTHING including the holiday spirit???
I was all set to write about the impact of the holiday season on domestic violence survivors, but turn on the computer and “what to my wondering eyes should appear”? http://www.newser.com/article/da2t8im81/police-chiefs-belcher-player-kills-girlfriend-then-commits-suicide-in-front-of-coach-gm.html
Granted the pierce of heartbreak at Christmas time isn’t the happiest thing to dwell upon but it’s certainly not as disturbing as this:
Belcher’s family turned the front yard into a shrine, with a large poster of the player, an array of his trophies, and jerseys and jackets from Kansas City, Maine and West Babylon High.
”He was a good, good person … a family man. A loving guy,” said family friend Ruben Marshall, 42, who said he coached Belcher in youth football. He was stunned by the shooting and suicide. ”You couldn’t be around a better person.”
At least 20 people gathered for a large group hug in the driveway.
”I still can’t believe it,” neighbor Roy Brown said. ”I don’t believe it.”
Perkin’s Facebook page shows the couple smiling and holding the baby.
My problem with the above is not that I’m opposed to people grieving in whatever manner they choose to after the death of someone they love or that there are some who have good memories of the murderer, it’s more the inappropriateness of publicly sharing and calling attention to these details without thought to the victim’s family and those loved ones left behind – that’s the irresponsibility of the press.
If this doesn’t sound like any big deal to you, put yourself in the victim’s family’s shoes: how would you feel about being informed about a shrine being resurrected for the man who just hours before murdered your little girl? Does the family really need to hear accolades about the guy who just took their loved one’s life? And fame doesn’t have anything to do with it either: pull up most DV homicide articles and you’ll see the same thing – most of the focus and photos on the murderer, little tribute to the victim and a slew of “…but he was such a nice guy” comments.
Whenever I see articles like the one above, I can’t help but wonder how the writer AND the editor can be so insensitive towards the victim and those the victim left behind. Kasandra is barely mentioned in the article and while it’s understood that her “other half” was “the famous one” his fame shouldn’t serve as a distraction or overshadow the crime he committed. If the press wants to pay tribute to a guy who murdered the mother of his child, write another article – DON’T refer to what a great guy he was in the same breath that you say he shot her to death in front of her own mother multiple times!
Rather then leaving readers with the image of a happy family picture posted by the victim on her Facebook page and comments from those who “knew the murderer best” why not do the article the way this news column did? http://news.lalate.com/category/kasandra-perkins/
Here Kasandra is named first and her picture is displayed to show the world the beauty it’s just lost. Instead of interviewing the murderer’s family, Kasandra’s Aunt Debbie was interviewed and quoted. Though the murderer is talked about and detailed in the stories, facts and quotes are presented that do not glamourize, eulogize, excuse or distract from the horrible second to last act of his life.
Most importantly, the writer then turns attention and concern towards the precious baby girl who was left orphaned at a little after 8:00am this morning. The articles in LALATE News are mindful of the victim which does more of a justice to the story and is sensitive to BOTH the survivors of the victim and the murderer alike – this is what socially responsible journalism looks like.
If the news is not coming from a tabloid where we expect such shenanigans, then reputable news sources should be rising to a higher standard and bear in-mind that “the power of the press” was supposed to be about educating and informing not about making bad news worse.