Let’s talk about the news media

TW: Depictions of brutal killing. CW: anger and bad language. I am angry.

Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.

William Congreve
The anger of the gods – Magritte

“Killer who threw petrol bomb on Brisbane bus driver Manmeet Alisher appeared ‘settled and stable’ before attack, inquest hears” – The ABC

“Inquest into horrific death of bus driver Manmeet Sharma told killer held bizarre union delusions” – news.com

“Man who firebombed Brisbane bus driver tried to access mental healthcare before attack, inquest hears” – The Guardian

“Bus driver killer’s shock confession” – news.com. Honestly, sensationalist fucking nonesense

“QLD man felt ‘justified’ about fiery death” – MacArthur Advertiser

“Inquest hears man who killed Brisbane bus driver urged police to detain him” – 9NEWS, This one had photos of the actual bus engulfed in smoke

“Attacks on Brisbane bus drivers increase in wake of Manmeet Sharma petrol-bombing death” – courier mail, topped winh video footage of another tragic bus fire.

Each of these headlines have popped up in the last 24 hours, following a recent inquest into the death of the bus driver, Manmeet Sharma, on the 28th of October 2016. My blog comes with a trigger warning. The news does not.

My blog comes with content warnings. But victims of this crime, at least this one, were not even warned that this inquest was happening. That the worst day of their lives (potentially) would once again be dragged through the news media cycle.

This case was/is primarily about the killing of an innocent bus driver who was doing his job, and going further by pleasantly greeting patrons as they entered his bus. What is left out of this story, and what seems to be forgotten through all the hype, is that this man was also charged with 14 counts of attempted murder. Counts that involve 14 other people, still (hopefully) alive and kicking, who are trying to move on with their lives while maintaining some sense of self outside of fucking trauma.

I do not disagree that this inquest should have happened. I have come a long way in my years of therapy following this event and am accepting of the fact that the man who did this was unwell and not at fault or in control of his actions ot that day. Accepting of the fact that someone, somewhere dropped the ball on his treatment. It is 100% necessary for the family of Manmeet Sharma to get nome closure on this, and push to find out exactly where this fuck up happened.

My disagreement is with two things: The lack of warning the rest of us affected by this received prior to the inquest taking place in the courts, and the incredibly descriptive, sensationalist, insensitive, and unthoughtful reporting on the inquest.

Members of my family had never seen actual photos or footage of the day they almost lost me, but now, thanks to diligent reporting by news media, the photos and footage that plague my nightmares on a regular basis have been published, dragged back up, and thrust upon us by people who likely care less about the victims and more about clicks.

The fact that I found out about this inquest after my sister received a call from my crying mother who saw it on the fucking television is utterly ridiculous. I am furious and if there’s one thing that I wish to be public about all of this is that.

This is not an isolated incident and does not even begin to describe the appalling shit I saw as I was trying to leave the hospital emergency department on the day of the attack. The news media frequently drags peoples trauma out from the dark place it could otherwise have been left undisturbed, or quietly dealt with, and puts it on display under the facade that “the people need to know”. Fuck off. The people who really need to know what happened on this day (and many others) are the victims, their loved ones, Mr O’Donohue, his loved ones and those responsible for providing his care. And I’m putting it out there loud and clear, right now, that news dot fucking com or a TV broadcast is NOT who we would prefer to hear it from. With words like “firebombed”, “shock confession” and “fiery death” … I mean, “shock confession”?! Are you fucking serious?! Do better.

Today was going to otherwise be a nice day.

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