More! More! MORE!
I was recently at a book club where we were discussing “Gone Girl”.
Since the novel centered on a missing woman and the instantaneous assumption that it was her husband, and trial by audience, the obvious question arose about the sensationalizing of crime in the new age of Entertainment News (I’m looking at you US cable news networks) and social media, and the inevitable impact it has had on our culture.
“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” ushered in an era of investigations and trials, sold as ‘news’ but presented to the general public as entertainment. This type of journalism (I hesitate to use that word, as ‘reality TV producing’ seems more fitting) has created an insatiable appetite for heinous details and at-home trials by couch potatoes and amateur sleuths everywhere.
Like the rest of the segment of the population that refuses to watch that awful blonde lady yelling at the screen on CNN (with a very ironic last name in my opinion), I shrugged it off as people not having anything better to watch. I hoped they knew the difference between what the ‘news’ was spouting and what was actually happening, but decided to not let it eat at me, since there is already such a wide array of subjects that erode my mental health on a very regular basis.
I mean I’m the type of person that tries my best to avoid ‘news’ items shared on social media, and never scrolls down to read the comments by fellow readers after reading the newspaper online, because I can’t actually handle what some people’s comments are. (Sidebar- People, you do know that is PUBLIC right.. and you do know that the police, and people who may want to hire you someday can see what you wrote, skip over to your personal profile and get a pretty good indication of why you should never be employed.)
But with the horrifying news about that sweet little boy and his grandparents having gone viral, it was impossible to ignore the comments and the theories people were sharing online. But it was one particular thread that had my cheeks red and my blood pressure higher than it probably should be.
People started demanding the police tell the public more. MORE! MORE! MORE! details people wanted. It was their right as citizens of this community to know what EXACTLY had happened. MORE!! MORE!! Tell us all the soul-sickening details of what went down!!
I have four letters for all you true-crime followers with an evangelical enthusiasm for MORE!
There is a reason that post-traumatic stress disorder is rampant, and taking people’s lives EVERY SINGLE DAY.
It’s the details. It’s the scene forever etched in the mind. It’s the sites, the smells, and the horror of witnessing what the very worst of humanity can serve up.
First responders see MORE! MORE! MORE! all the time. They know EXACTLY what happened. And they are killing themselves at a terrifying rate. In the last ten weeks, 13 people have taken their lives because of PTSD.
I mean the integrity of the investigation aside; these details are kept from the public for a very real reason. As the family of someone who may have lost someone they loved dearly, do you really think they want the world to get off on the grisly details of the violence their family member met the end of their life with?
It’s an appetite for horror that news-ertainment has created and it’s a monster that always wants to fed.
From the video taken inside the house at Moncton of shots ringing out, to the uncensored images floating around the web of things most vile, it’s creating a public that is desensitised to images of the dead and dying, to the horrors that happen around the world, and all for what?
Has it made us a more compassionate society? Or has it created monsters? People who can’t feel empathy anymore unless they get gory details… because they want to picture it. Because they’ve never seen it.
Because the people who walk into the situations and clean up the mess, well, statistics are showing they would rather die than see that image in their minds and their nightmares anymore.
I would like to think that people would stop demanding more salacious details, continue with the kindness and outpouring of support that happens when these items go viral, but let the first responders, the police who are investigating, and the family of the victims know what they need to, in order to do what they have to do.
PTSD is terrifying for anyone who loves someone who holds a job where they have to see things the human mind is not equipped to handle. Some people are able to get through life at these jobs without long-term mental anguish, and some are suffering right now trying to get the help they deserve, and that they desperately need.
I think it’s impossible to say that anyone gets through unscathed—the mind is eternally imprinted with the gruesome images that come along with these jobs, but it’s whatever therapy works for that individual to maintain a sense of stability. And it hits particularly close to home because I have a family member who is currently in the terrifying grips of PTSD, and I hope in my heart of hearts this much loved, wonderful human being gets his life back again.
So you know what, anonymous, and Crimewatcher376.. you do not deserve to know more.
And you don’t want to, either.
00% of the profits from this image will be going toward the Victim Services Unit and the families of the RCMP Officers who were killed on duty in Moncton.