…Those of us in the media don’t pay it much attention anymore.” So said a nationally known radio personality based in Phoenix and a good friend of mine. While he wasn’t specifically talking about workplace or school violence (WPV/SV) it was the general attitude I’ve noticed in the recent past.
As recently as 2013, practically every WPV or SV incident was cause for both local, and more than likely national, media to interrupt programming. When they did, they provided nearly non-stop coverage of the incident, especially if it was a fatal shooting.
I hear about incidents of WPV involving firearms but rarely any other type. Unfortunately, it is not normally up-to-the-minute reporting. Usually it is a couple of days later. The only time I hear about it within a few hours of it happening is if it happened in Arizona or an unexpected setting.
Since 2013, it has become so passé that rarely does it get reported, unless it is local. Then it is usually covered up and dismissed…nothing here to see…move along please. An example you ask? Initial News Report:
On August 17th in Phoenix a man was shot and killed by police for brandishing a knife at them. What was so unusual about that…isn’t that standard practice? The story a day later: The 28-year-old man entered a hospital ER and threatened security officers with multiple knives before lunging at them. He took off when they called police. The police caught up with him several blocks later and…move along please…nothing to see here…just WPV…no big deal.
These incidents are becoming so cliché that they are not being reported on. I’ve heard about incidents involving fast food where the clerks were threatened or assaulted, albeit by French fries or verbally, and the incident was laughed at by the media person. The incident in Clovis, NM. On August 28, 2017 was in a library drew national attention because it was an unusual location and the perpetrator was so young.
The old cliché from years gone by ‘If it bleeds it leads’ is apparently in full effect. Unless it is sensational and lots of crying, blubbering, and several people whining about “How could this have happened here”, it doesn’t get reported.
I’m not trashing the entire media industry out there, but they are all guilty. They want the more interesting fiction of entertainment news (who is divorcing whom and who is banging someone else’s significant other), and finding insignificant news to put up, including far too much fluff.
The days of Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Barbara Walters, Harry Reasoner, and Jessica Savitch are gone, and they would be rolling in their graves at this atrocity inflicted upon the citizenry. Then, the media reported hard news with a little fluff sandwiched in. Now we are hearing a little bit of
Hard, or fake depending on your perspective, news mixed in with the weather, for those who don’t know how to drive in snow, rain, or fog, entertainment news, and cuddly little puppies or kittens. Sometimes the weather drones on for 20 minutes or more because it’s raining or snowing in Arizona, admittedly a noteworthy event but… worth a third or three quarters of the broadcast?
Seldom do we hear about a car crashing into a cell phone store and injuring someone. Unless that incident is accompanied by a sensational video and something else occurs i.e. the driver gets out and smashes the display cases and assaults an employee while doing it. All because she had a bad day and wanted a new phone (Palm Springs, CA. January 11, 2017).
We, as a collective whole, are to blame for this phenomenon. We are such poor miserable people we have to live vicariously through the misfortunes and tribulations of celebrities and others who have a new hairdo. It’s all to make ourselves feel better about our miserable lives.
Not saying that softer stories don’t have their place in the 24 second news cycle but… can’t we try not to have so many cute cuddly stories mixed with five minutes of hard news? There are innumerable shows after the news to entertain and trash talks the latest celebrity with a target.
Are the incidents of WPV or SV getting smaller or less violent? Are they injuring or traumatizing fewer people, even those having been through a verbal tirade or having hot greasy fries thrown in their faces, including those who could have life-long issues with PTSD, severe wounds, or similar because of it? In a fatal incident, is the blood any less red or any less pooling on the floor?
Possibly we have innumerable social service, police officers, hospital staff, counselors, and so on just standing around waiting for something to do? Or are we just becoming immune to the carnage faced by individual families and their loved ones instead of people being murdered half way around the world?
Am I a media critic? Nope, not by a long shot! I just know that the thousands of families that face these situations every single day of the year should be recognized. And I know that they wish a greater emphasis was placed on these incidents so that no other family has to go through the trauma of seeing their loved ones in a pool of blood or being buried. All because of some idiocy of not controlling their anger.
Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues with time tested and proven ideas. You can follow him on his Facebook page, facebook.com/oneistooomany, or twitter@robertsollars2.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear