For the first time on Planet Earth, a real life double murder was seen live on television when Two TV journalists were shot dead in the midst of a live telecast in Virginia on Wednesday-- the victims of an attack by a disgruntled former reporter who was apparently suffering from some mental imbalance.
Hundreds of millions of people all over the world were shocked and horrified when they saw the pretty, young and creative reporter Alison Parker (24) and photo journalist Adam Ward (27) being murdered. They were telecasting a live interview with an official from the local chamber of commerce when there was the sudden sound of gunfire and screams. The camera tumbled, and producers at the local WDBJ7 news station cut off the telecast, switching to a shocked-looking anchor in the studio. Both Alison Parker and Adam Ward died at the scene. The gunman also shot their interviewee, Vicki Gardner, the executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake regional chamber of commerce. Ms. Gardner survived and is in stable condition after surgery. The killer Vester Lee Flanagan (41) was a former TV reporter at this station and had telecast under the name Bryce Williams. After the cold-blooded murders the killer posted on the internet his own video of the attack, apparently shot with a GoPro-style camera.
The killer who is coloured and gay claimed he was discriminated and fired by this station because of what he was. He also faxed a rambling 23-page document to ABC News in which he made bizarre references to several other mass shootings from which he claimed he got inspiration, though it was more like incitement.
He connected the atrocity in Roanoke to the recent shooting by a white supremacist at a coloured church in South Carolina. He disclosed that he paid the deposit for the gun two days after the Charleston church massacre. The killer fled the scene of the shooting, sparking a manhunt that culminated, four hours later, near Washington DC. A Virginia state police patrol car identified the killer’s vehicle and after a brief pursuit, the killer shot himself and died in hospital two hours later.
The TV station manager said later the killer had during his stint regularly shown signs of issues regarding anger management. He was difficult to work with, and would quickly take offence.
TV Station Manager Jeff Marks summed up the feelings of journalists and others throughout the world when he told the Guardian newspaper “this is the worst day of my career – worst day of all our careers”.
The Guardian said that in a cycle that was now familiar to the people of the United States, the horrific, made-for-media shooting was immediately followed by calls for changes to the country’s lax gun laws that have triggered so many similar tragedies.
But with the Presidential election scheduled for November next year, the the hardline right-wing Republican Congress is not likely to take any effective action, thought President Barak Obama again appealed yesterday for laws to tighten gun control.
What are the bloody lessons for Sri Lanka? We are not able to buy guns legally but after the war guns are known to be available in the blackmarket at high prices. After the historic Presidential election on January 8, there were allegations that a controversial security firm controlled by a VIP had used end-user Government cover to buy powerful automatic weapons over which there was no proper control. Besides some tougher laws in this area, Sri Lanka needs to review the multitude of ways including television cartoon shows through which violence is promoted even among children Wednesday’s horror also reminds us of what could happen when there is a breakdown of the rule of law, throttling of the independence of the judiciary and police service as we saw in recent years.
Overall we hope the new National Government through its process of consensus and consultation would reinforce the country’s commitment to non-violence which is the foundation of all our major religions. Violence ceases not by violence but by compassion and peaceful resolution of conflicts.
Violence in the society is due to inability of the perpetrator to accept defeat. Srilankans should rethink the way the children are brought up-notion that they are the best ,used as a tool build up self confidence should be replaced.You are only one among so many.
Don Saturday, 29 August 2015 03:43 AM
Mental imbalance or not, if this sort of thing happened in Sri Lanka before the end of last year, the then opposition would have cried foul and pointed the finger at that Government and got the West
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