How sad

Sue Burnett in Wales shares these nominations:

  • Hero — apparently everyone who dies in a Ă«disaster’ is a Ă«hero’ – no, no, no! Most of the people who died in 9/11 were victims; relatively few (eg, firefighters) were heroes.
  • Tragedy — all deaths, according to the media, are “tragedies” – again, no, no, no! Most deaths are natural causes (illness, old age) or accidents. A death may cause sadness and may be regretted but that doesn’t make it a tragedy.

2 thoughts on “How sad

  1. Ms. Burnett makes a very important point about the distinction between heroes and victims. It’s important in New York City because many of the families of 9/11 victims, who were simply in their usual place at a very, very wrong time, are demanding that they be recognized as heroes, right alongside the firefighters and other would-be rescuers who ran into those buildings mindful of the hideous risk involved. Worse, they have very specific demands (not requests; not suggestions) about how the land formerly occupied by the World Trade Center may or may not be used. A woman I knew was killed by a hit-and-run driver earlier this year as she was crossing a busy street in Queens, NY. Her family has not demanded that no traffic ever be allowed on that street again nor have they claimed hero status for her.

    On the other hand, I suspect overeagerness on Ms. Burnett’s part with regard to overuse of “tragedy.” I have never heard or seen a reporter in any medium refer to a death by natural causes as tragic. Individuals in ordinary conversation do make that mistake, but they also refer to certain deaths as “a blessing,” a form of truth-telling one doesn’t get from media.

    Perhaps journalists–at least living journalists–are biased against death, simply because they are among the living. Fox could start a new pro-death news network to exploit…Oh, wait! They already did that.