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Monday, July 28, 2008

I am in a nasty mood

Four people from Up There drowned last week when their boat capsized on the way to their whaling camp. They were all from the same family. A fifth person, a thirteen-year-old boy, managed to swim to shore and was rescued two days later.

This is the sort of horrible, awful story that we hear every year. It is genuinely terrible.

The Paper of Record covered the story and then threw its comment section open to any moron who wanted to get extra prominence for his stupid opinions. And there were many.

You see, the family was going to a whaling camp.

What, you don't see the connection?

They were planning to kill a whale.

You're still confused?

Apparently they DESERVED to drown (even the seven-year-old daughter) because they were going to kill a whale. Yes.

As you'll recall from sealing season, if someone kills an animal, he deserves any hardship or injury he might happen to suffer. Even if he dies, at least an animal's life has been saved.

I think I might be sick.

Normally I would say something sarcastic about the role of the media and the responsibility of the Paper of Record in this situation, but I really don't have what it takes tonight.


CityStreams said...

Wow. People amaze me with their lack of understanding. How can anyone say that the life of a whale is worth the lives of a family? That boggles the mind.

But then, don't even get me started on the idiocy of America. We kill unborn babies but save our trees. How will future generations enjoy our recycled Earth if they aren't alive?

Amy H. said...

Hmmm. Abortion debate anyone?

I imagine, like religion, nobody wants to get in on that one either.

I think the problem is, people who have strong (fundamentalist?) opinions about anything, whether it be whales, recycling or abortion, often are unable to see the whole picture.

Karan said...

What's even more disturbing than the comments people made is that Paper of Record allowed the debate to go on and for the comments to remain on its site, right under the story (as did the Mother Ship). Surely, "responsible journalism" does not include letting everyone with an opinion publish their own editorial comments on a newspaper's/broadcaster's website.

Cindy said...

Yup, those comments were just racist, crass nonsense.

Can I just say, though, that I was sick of covering boating tragedies in the North where no one was weating life jackets, or when they were, they were wearing the wrong size?

In this case, only the children were wearing life jackets. I'd bet my bottom dollar the 7-y-o daughter was wearing an adult jacket. Adult jackets are usless on children; they hit the water and slide right out of the jacket.

How many people need to die in the water before boaters in the North start frequently using life jackets, and the right ones?

Mongoose said...

I'm with Cindy. The first thing I thought when I started reading about it was "I bet you they weren't wearing PFDs." Sure enough, they weren't wearing PFDs. And I'm sure no one will take note of that, except the people who already choose to wear PFDs as appropriate.

Jennith said...

The paper I read (Toronto Star) just recently started allowing comments on their stories online... you should check out the comments on the story about killing a rabbit for food in a survivial situation - apparently the certain vocal members of the public think that the author is evil incarnate for writing the story.... But for quite some time, the comments on the stories at the Globe have enthralled me with their narrow-minded, hateful, and bizarre comments... Its like the worst bits of reality TV where we are all mesamerized by the opinions of the lowest common denomenator.

Jennith said...

I actually read about the the boating tradgedy in the real paper version of the news where there was this picture of two smiling, happy children beaming (the boy and his younger sister I assume)... and all I could think of is how awful it must be for that boy to be the soul survivor of the accident and to hope that he gets some conselling around survivors guilt.

towniebastard said...

This is why you shouldn't read the comments sections in news stories and op-ed pieces. Don't get me wrong, I love comments and feedback on my blog. but I've learned from experience that when it comes to major media or major commentary sites (especially political blogs) it's just better off, for the sake of your sanity, to not read it. The very worst of humanity can often be found there.

Karen said...

Comments sections of newspapers are like open line radio and TV shows - they allow everyone and their dog to publicly display their hateful smallmindedness in all its horrifying glory. What is the famous line? Better to be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt?

People make mistakes all the time. Usually it doesn't kill them. So they didn't have their PFDs on, even though they were in the boat (itself unusual) - given the water temp, it would only have made their bodies easier to recover. There's no way they could have made it to shore. But I suppose properly clad bodies would have eliminated one avenue of superiority at least. I don't even know how to approach the asinine comments about whaling. Perhaps those folks would like to join the EU, where they can colonize us through their laws all over again.

Personally, I was more horrified by Name of Paper Withheld publishing the drowning story on page 3, and a big feature on the very same whaling camp and one youth's happy experiences there as a section front a few pages further on. Surely that could have been held a week or two.

Cindy said...

"There's no way they could have made it to shore."

This is not true. The 13-year-old made it to shore -- one of only two people in the group wearing a PDF, and I think the only member wearing a PDF that fit.

As for the comments section -- ugh, those people all need a smack upside the head.