The tire tracks in the snow told the tragic story. The car had gone off the highway, and headed straight for the pond. Inexperienced 15-year-old driver, bad road conditions. She, and her younger brother, and three friends all perished in the cold water that quickly enveloped them.
Surely death was relatively quick and painless. They were good kids, and I sincerely believe they're in a better place now.
But it's difficult to even imagine the grief and horror being experienced by their families, friends, and other loved ones left behind.
The "drive-by media" quickly circled overhead like buzzards. Or was it more like a shark feeding-frenzy… roaming around the victims' school, hoping to catch somebody crying on camera? Or to put a microphone in the face of a friend for a sobbing interview?
Is this the "news coverage" that we, the viewers, want? Do we bask in bad news? Do we gain something by observing the tragedy of others? Does it make us feel better about the relative peace and serenity of our own lives?
And how about the news reporters and producers? If they get video of tears rolling down the principal's face, do they "high-five" back at the station house?
It's always somewhat bizarre to watch it on the 6 o'clock news… they put on their long faces as they solemnly discuss the story. And then, as often as not, they brighten right up with those local-celebrity Pepsodent smiles, as they go into the next (happy) story, most likely about the Broncos winning the Fiesta Bowl.
They'll milk it for all it's worth. Video of the pallbearers and the funeral coach (reporterette dressed in black). Maybe some follow-up interviews with the deputy sheriff or a family spokesman. Maybe ask the lawmakers why there aren't guardrails along every foot of every state highway.
(It's no different in the national, or even world, media. Witness Anna Nicole Smith. Or Princess Diana - I see where her late boyfriend's daddy gets to tell his story to the jury... his story being that it was no accident; they were killed by British Security so the beloved princess wouldn't end up marrying a Muslim.)
Eventually we'll all get distracted by some other tragic or sordid story.
Again I ask… is this what the viewers want to see? Apparently.
(May God bless and comfort the families and friends of these kids, taken from them way too soon.)
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