Lets start focusing on the good, not the bad doers when a traumatic event occurs


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photo credit @cameramanCNN

So often the news is full of the ‘bad and the ugly’ and although we need to understand and hear about traumatic events lets stop dwelling on the perpetrators and start concentrating on the innocent.  Lets tell their stories and stop rewarding bad behaviour.

Today the news has been full of the terrible consequences of the German air crash, where Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz allegedly plunged the passenger jet he was co-piloting into the French mountains, killing himself and the other 149 passengers on board¹.  Whilst we all struggle to understand why Lubitz, or anyone would do such a thing, the media standard has become a continued and detailed story telling of the saga on all news channels for days afterwards.  What a difference it would make if instead the media started to flood the news with the stories and images of those that were killed.  I understand that it takes time; under our current protocols we must absolutely identify the victims and get permission from families to publish details, many of whom are hoping against hope that their family member is still alive.  However, perhaps it is worth taking that time.

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Martin Place, Lindt Cafe

Another recent example is the Lindt coffee shop experience in Sydney’s Martin Place on “15–16 December 2014, where a lone gunman, Man Haron Monis, held hostage ten customers and eight employees of a Lindt chocolate café located at Martin Place in Sydney, Australia². Police treated the event as a “terrorist attack.”

After a 16-hour standoff, gunshots were fired and Monis was killed along with hostages Tori Johnson, who was killed by Monis, and another hostage Katrina Dawson who was killed by a police bullet ricochet in the subsequent raid when Police Tactical Operations Unit stormed the café.

During the siege Monis allegedly made his hostages post to their Facebook pages and other social media in an attempt to vocalise his agenda.  When something like this happens, why isn’t internet connectivity turned off to the entire area under surveillance.  It is possible to isolate individual phones and zones so that Police and other emergency services are not hampered.  This should be a basic protocol because it stops terrorists and others behaving badly from seeking the attention that they want.  It stops their story being told and allows us to focus instead on the individual people who are innocent victims.

Interestingly, the Lindt cafe experience didn’t have media bombarding us with lots of information about Monis, possibly because Australian authorities were treating him as a terror suspect – I think that this is an important difference.  Subsequent media has focused on the victims and survivors instead of retelling a story of Monis.

Would we start to reduce crime if we changed the way that we told the story, and stopped rewarding bad behaviour?

REFERENCES

¹ CNN – http://edition.cnn.com/2015/03/27/europe/france-germanwings-plane-crash-main/ 

² Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Sydney_hostage_crisis

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