Thursday, April 19, 2007

The "Right" to Know?

This whole VT massacre has been horrible. I feel so bad for the families and students and staff of VT. I can understand all the questions running through the minds of people in the rest of the country because I am right there asking the same questions:

How could this have happened?

How could anyone do such a thing?

Where were the parents?

We want to know everything about how that day happened. We want to know why this man decided to take 32 lives. We want to know why the police and campus security didn’t stop the second killing spree from happening. We want to know the names of those killed and the circumstances and whether they were brave or not. We want to know what kind of people they were and the kind of lives they lived before this maniac ended them. We want to know what they studied and how many siblings they had and WE JUST WANT TO KNOW!

But do we have the RIGHT to know?

Is it any of our business?

I am just as nosy and worried and concerned as the next person. I admit to tuning in when the news pipes out the very latest dramatic information. But just last night I was watching the nightly news and a reporter was interviewing the brother of one of the slain students. A single tear slid down his cheek and anyone could see that the poor guy was barely keeping it together, but the reporter held that microphone. The guy is gulping and can barely speak, but the reporter keeps asking questions about his dead sibling. “What were her goals? What did she want to be?” Finally, there was my favorite: “If she hadn’t been murdered, where do you think your sister wanted to be in ten years?” Finally, mercifully, the camera turned away.

And I had to wonder what kind of world we live in that this awful torture counted as news. Not just news, but entertainment. What right do we have to ask such obviously painful questions? Do we really have the right to know such personal, painful information? And what about the cost to those who should be allowed to grieve in peace?

What kind of people are we?

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