Landlord Lets Reporters Into San Bernardino Suspects’ Home – The New York Times

The images of journalists going through the belongings of the shooting suspects raised questions about what arrangements had been made with law enforcement officials.

Source: Landlord Lets Reporters Into San Bernardino Suspects’ Home – The New York Times

First of all this makes me sick.

An approach to news like this was one of the things I hated the most about my last job. Part of my job was covering traffic accidents. And my editor once told me I should be more assertive in talking to people who had just been in the accident.

Well, excuse me. But as a human I find it rude, intrusive and insensitive. Someone who has just had a traumatizing experience may want to talk about it, but most would say no.

What is the point? Gathering details about something which delayed people by 20 minutes getting home? Information which is forgotten almost as soon as heard. What does it contribute? And just because people want it, should it be provided.

So they rummaged through the apartment. And what did they find? They found children’s book. Toys, a crib, photos of people, a state ID, two Korans and a prayer rug (which they walked all over). What is the news value in any of this stuff?

We already knew they had a child. Did any of this bring a deeper understanding to a sad event? Is there any lasting value to the information?

Now, I do want to add I understand the reporters. Being on a hot news story is like being on a drug. There is a rush, and the more information you get the more the rush. Like any drug it is going to impair your judgement. I can’t say I wouldn’t have gone in the apartment had I been given the chance. In the case of the TV reporters someone along the line should have pulled the plug.

In addition when you see a mob doing something, it doesn’t feel as wrong. This is how people who are normally law abiding turn into rioters.

What were they looking for in the apartment? This is just my opinion. But I think they were looking for something to allay their fears. These acts were committed by what appears to be a normal family. How scary to think normal looking people can become mass killers. What they didn’t find was something which made them unusual. A way in which they were not a normal family. Something like a giant Daesh flag covering a bedroom window.

On a larger scale people want to see these images. It is the same reason why people slow to look at accidents on the freeway (and cause further accidents). There is something about people who wants to know the details of a family who lost their home in a fire. And I don’t know if it is right. But they want to see the inside of a mass killer’s apartment.

But just because they want it, should it be provided? Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.

 

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