Sometimes the media crosses the line

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By Jennifer Corbett

By Jennifer Corbett

Summer Intern

On June 25, horror swept through the town of Henderson, Ky., after a shooting took place at Atlantis Plastics leaving five dead, including the gunman, Wesley N. Higdon.

Now, almost three weeks later, WHAS 11 has reported that the video has surfaced due to a Freedom of Information Act filed by the Associated Press.

The video WHAS 11 showed was edited, and the main things I saw on T.V. were Higdon walking around Atlantis Plastics with a gun in his hand and an employee calling 911.

Higdon allegedly starting shooting after he had gotten into an argument with his supervisor about not wearing safety goggles and using his cell phone on the assembly line.

The story went on to get reactions about the release of the video from the residents in Henderson. And most of them were disturbed and outraged.

Even people who didn’t know workers at the plant said the footage brought up bad memories from that fateful day. They just want to move on from it.

I must say that I completely agree with those people. Seeing their reactions made me think of how the media can take it too far sometimes just to get a story.

I do admit that after seeing portions of the video, it did bring the incident to life for me. It gave faces to the people experiencing the shooting. I imagined how they must have felt that fateful day. The portions of the video I saw did make the story more powerful, but I just couldn’t help thinking that maybe this video shouldn’t have even been released in the first place.

As a part of the media, I do believe the public has a right to know about certain issues. But I do think there is a certain line that shouldn’t be crossed. Only with the proper permission should private details such as those be published.

One employee at Arlington National Cemetery recently got fired for, what she thought, was an invasion of privacy.

The Washington Post reported that Gina Gray, who was the public affairs director for Arlington National Cemetery, was abruptly fired after she changed restrictions on allowing media to cover funerals for soldiers.

Beforehand, the media had to keep a certain distance from the funeral service to a point where they could not see or hear anything.

Gray then changed the restrictions to allow media coverage of funerals only if the family members would allow it. With the permission, Gray believed the press and the camera should not be kept so far away from the funeral.

I do see where the media is coming from on the standpoint of covering funerals of soldiers. It does give a face to the soldier and their family members. It also reminds the country that a war is going on.

But losing a loved one is a wound that doesn’t heal overnight. That kind of grieving should not be broadcast in the media without the participant allowing it.

It brings me back to the song “Just a Dream” by Carrie Underwood. The message of how the death of this young woman’s husband is powerful, but imagine if media cameras were around during the funeral.

In my opinion, something like that would take away from the grieving process. That is such a personal family matter, and if I was in the situation, I wouldn’t want the media there, either.

Incidents like this remind me of the videos I have seen about Sept. 11. I remember clear as day, I was in second period Biology during my freshman year of high school. The first plane had already crashed into one of the towers, and after a few minutes the second plane crashed. For the next 30 minutes, my class sat in silence as we saw the towers in flames until both of them fell to the ground.

I later remember reading an article about a teenager whose dad died in the towers. She said she didn’t like watching the videos of Sept. 11 because, to her, it felt like she was watching her dad die over and over again.

If I was in her situation, I wouldn’t watch the videos either. However, I do think the videos of Sept. 11 should be open to the public, but not of the funerals of the people who died that day.

In the end, I just wish that the line of privacy wouldn’t be crossed by the media. It is important to get a fresh new angle for a story, though I know I wouldn’t want any cameras at my funeral or for any of my family members.