Barb Caffrey's Blog

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Archive for the ‘Truly horrible behavior’ Category

Tragedy in VA as Disgruntled Newsman Kills Two Journalists — On Air

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Folks, words like “tragedy,” ” horrific,” “horrendous,” and even “heinous” are overused in today’s day and age. But they’re the only words that come to mind right now after viewing, and hearing, about the cowardly shooting of two journalists at WDBJ channel 7 in Virginia this morning while they were broadcasting on the air.

Both journalists — 24-year-old Alison Parker and 27-year-old Adam Ward — died at the scene. The person being interviewed at the time, Vicki Gardner, was shot in the back and is said to be in surgery.

The reason for this senseless killing remains a mystery. Only cryptic hints have emerged thus far, as the gunman, a disgruntled former employee of WDBJ who I refuse to name, decided to film these brutal executions and put them on Facebook.

Apparently, this individual was in a white-hot rage about something. So he took his anger and frustration out on Ms. Parker, who was interviewing Ms. Gardner at 6:45 a.m. local time, and on Mr. Ward, who was filming the interview.

Irony of ironies, Mr. Ward got one last shot of his killer before he died.

What’s even sadder than the fact these two young journalists died is this: They were in the middle of a “puff piece.” Something about tourism, and the local Chamber of Commerce.

No one should die for something like that.

In addition, anchor Carol Costello of CNN — visibly shaken — reported that Ms. Harper was on her final day at WDBJ.

For whatever it’s worth, the latest news from CNN is that the gunman has been captured after apparently shooting himself. He is currently alive, in police custody, and is supposedly being taken to a hospital, condition unknown.

It is unfathomable to me that this happened.

I probably don’t need to say this to anyone, but I’m going to anyway: If you are so angry that you want to kill a former co-worker (as Mr. Ward apparently worked with the shooter), you need to get yourself some psychiatric help. Fast.

And if you have any room in your heart, please remember the friends, family, and coworkers of Ms. Harper and Mr. Ward. Pray that they find peace, if you can. Because many of them saw Ms. Harper and Mr. Ward in their final moments, during the middle of that puff piece, just another ordinary day in broadcasting.

Until it wasn’t.

And no one — but no one — should ever have to see anything remotely like that on the air.

——-

Here’s a quote from Mr. Ward’s alma mate Virginia Tech (via CNN) that sums up my feelings completely:

 “It is shocking and deeply saddening for this community to be again struck by gun violence. We deplore this senseless violence, now seemingly commonplace in our society.”

Written by Barb Caffrey

August 26, 2015 at 12:01 pm

Memorial Day for Sale: NFL Teams Take Money to ‘Honor’ the Military

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Is Memorial Day truly for sale?

It sure seems that way, after finding out that 14 NFL teams have actually taken money to “honor” military veterans — including my own favorite team, the Green Bay Packers.

I found out about this last Friday (May 22, 2015) by watching Keith Olbermann’s ESPN2 show. As quoted from the website PoliticsUSA.com:

In a lengthy monologue on Friday’s broadcast of ESPN2′s Olbermann, host Keith Olbermann took NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to school over the recent revelation that the National Football League has taken millions of dollars from the US military to promote the armed forces of this country. Over the past few years, it has been estimated that the NFL has received $5.4 million since 2011 to ‘honor’ members of the military at games and other events. As Olbermann pointed out, the main issue isn’t that the league took money, but that it pretended that it was honoring the soldiers out of true patriotism rather than love of money.

This disturbs me for more than one reason.

First, veterans of the armed forces deserve to be treated well without teams being paid to do so.

Second, that teams have been pretending they’re doing this out of the goodness of their nonexistent hearts rather than some sort of business-oriented motivation is incredibly hypocritical.

It is especially upsetting because fans are expected to be both patriotic and uncritical of the teams they follow. So when we see teams giving what surely look to be deserving shout-outs to serving military members (or honorable veterans), we think it’s genuine.

We don’t expect these “Hometown Heroes” shout-outs to be merely a matter of public relations.

But they are. And that’s wrong.

Olbermann isn’t the only high-profile person angered by this behavior. Arizona’s two United States Senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, are also appalled. In an article from the Washington Post, McCain was quoted as saying:

“I think it’s really disgraceful that NFL teams whose profits are at an all-time high had to be paid to honor our veterans,” he said Tuesday (via ESPN)..

Agreed. (To the Nth power.)

Taking money in order to salute these real hometown heroes is wrong. Just ask U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, as quoted in the Washington Post article:

“You go to a game and you see a team honoring ‘Hometown Heroes,’ and you think it’s some sort of public service announcement, that the team is doing it out of the goodness of their heart,” Flake told ESPN on Monday. “Then you find out it’s paid for? That seems a little unseemly.”

This, right here, encapsulates why I’m so steamed.

Look. According to Olbermann (see his YouTube rant here), the Green Bay Packers took $600,000 from the Department of Defense for this practice.

But even if the Packers hadn’t taken any money, I’d still be upset.

As a fan, I’ve always seen military members get shout-outs. They are feted, get tickets to games, often are highlighted on the scoreboard, and the impression is that the teams are doing this because it’s the right thing to do.

Sure, it’s all public relations. We know this, deep down inside.

But we don’t expect that teams would actually be crass enough to require payment.

That these 14 NFL teams have done so is truly shameful. A recent editorial at Jacksonville.com said:

…the Department of Defense and 14 NFL teams deserve boos over revelations that the federal agency paid the clubs $5.4 million over a three-year period to feature military members during games. According to the Defense Department and the 14 teams, the payments were merely part of mutually agreed “sponsorship deals” designed to promote the military in a flattering, high-profile manner. But in truth, the deals were simply “crass” and “disgraceful,” as Sen. John McCain — a military hero who bravely survived captivity during the Vietnam War — so aptly put it.

(Preach it, brothers and sisters.)

Why the Packers ever thought it a good idea to take money to salute the military makes no sense.

NFL teams make money hand-over-fist. They do not need to take money from the Department of Defense or anyone else to salute the hard-working men and women who comprise the United States military.

That they did was absolutely reprehensible.

******
P.S. Because it’s come out that 14 NFL teams have taken money to salute soldiers, it makes me wonder…are teams in Major League Baseball also taking money for this practice?

Have the Milwaukee Brewers actually taken money over the years to salute these “Hometown Heroes” in order to put them on the big scoreboard in centerfield?

I sincerely hope the Brewers haven’t.

Driver, Bystander, Shot and Killed in Milwaukee After Trying to Save Baby that Ran Into Traffic

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Folks, I have rarely been this angry over anything in my life. But this story, of a man, Ricky Chiles, who shot and killed a driver, Archie Brown, Jr., and his own nephew, Rasheed — all of fifteen years of age — because Brown had accidentally run over two-year-old Damani Terry after the little boy had run into the street is absolutely horrifying.

In this case, the driver, Mr. Brown, was described as “distraught” by several news reports here in Milwaukee (including at WITI Channel 6 and the channel I linked to, WTMJ Channel 4). He stopped and apparently attempted to revive little Damani. And the little boy’s uncle, Rasheed, also came out to try to see if there was anything either one of them could do to save Damani’s life. But as they were on the ground trying to figure out what was going on, the uncle of Damani, Mr. Chiles, came out and shot Mr. Brown — the driver — to death. In the process, he also gravely wounded his own cousin, Rasheed.

Then, of course, Mr. Chiles fled.

Look. As a licensed driver, I have seen many children run into the street before. I’ve always been able to swerve around them or stop before I’ve hit the child. Occasionally, I’ve waited until a parent or guardian can get there to make sure the child is in safe hands before I drive onward again. And I’d be surprised if anyone in the United States who drives a car — much less any driver in the known world — hasn’t had the same exact experiences.

Little kids don’t know that much about the world yet, you see. They have to be supervised for their own protection. Yet parents and family can sometimes lose track of their energetic little ones; it happens all the time. It doesn’t mean the parents or other family members are neglectful; it just means the little kids are so energetic, they can momentarily escape.

And that momentary escape is all it takes, sometimes, for a two-year-old to wander into the street. That’s what happened to little Damani Terry.

Words cannot express how angry I am over this tragic chain of horrifying events.

I said this on Twitter earlier today, but I’m going to reiterate it now: If you see an accident like this, call 911. Do not take the law into your own hands.

No matter how angry you are, call 911.

No matter if it’s another family member who’s lying gravely wounded in the street, call 911.

This did not have to happen. For all I know, that little boy might’ve been saved if 911 was called right away. But even if Damani was already dead at the scene, the other two — the driver, Mr. Brown, and the nephew, 15-year-old Rasheed — should not have been killed over this. Most especially as they were both trying, by all accounts, to save the little two-year-old’s life.

So please. For the love of all you hold dear, do not take up a shotgun and kill anyone after a car accident. Instead, call 911 and let the law handle it.

That’s what we pay taxes for.

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 15, 2015 at 7:35 pm

Washington School Shooting Leaves Many More Qs than As

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Folks, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m getting very tired of people being shot dead at public schools. It is despicable, it is wasteful, it is nonsensical — but most of all, it is appalling.

And it never, ever seems to end.

In the latest senseless tragedy, 15-year-old Jaylen Fryberg shot five people at his high school, Marysville Pilchuck High in Washington state, last Friday afternoon. Time magazine is reporting that Fryberg had asked all five to join him at lunch via text message.

Among those Fryberg shot were his cousins, Nate Hatch (14) and Andrew Fryberg (15), and three girls: Shaylee Chuckulnaskit (14), who remains in critical condition, Zoe Galasso (14), who died at the scene, and Gia Soriano (14), who died at a hospital on Sunday night.

As Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary said in the Time article, “The question everyone wants is, ‘Why?’…I don’t know that the ‘why’ is something we can provide.”

That’s because the usual answers that come to mind about the personality of a school shooter don’t seem to apply in this case. Jaylen Fryberg wasn’t a loner, and he wasn’t bullied. Instead, he was a football player, a popular kid who’d been named Homecoming King of the freshman class, and obviously was tight with the five people he asked to join him last Friday, or they’d not have shown up at his lunch table.

Then he shot them all, before turning the gun on himself.

There are absolutely no answers that will bring back Soriano or Galasso. There are absolutely no answers that will lessen the injuries of Fryberg’s cousin Andrew, who remains in critical condition. And there aren’t any answers that will allow Hatch to heal any faster, even though Hatch is the only one who appears to be healing at all.

Even if there were answers to be had tomorrow, what then? The two young ladies are still going to be dead. The two young men and the other young lady are still going to be badly injured for no damned good reason. And the guy who did it took his own life, so there can’t even be any punishment on this plane of existence — not that there is any sufficient punishment for doing this, or ever could be.

I’ve written a number of posts in the past about other senseless shootings, and I never have understood any of them. Every time — every single time — I think to myself, “When will the killing end? Why does this keep happening?”

And I come up empty.

All I know is this: If you have children, tell them you love them. Treat them with kindness and respect. Give them guidance, nurturing, and care. Let them know that even if they feel like their world is ending over a girl (as was apparently the case with Jaylen Fryberg), this will pass — and even if it doesn’t, it’s not a justification for taking the lives of others.

Because there is no justification for what Jaylen Fryberg did, and never will be.

Canadian Shooting Leaves Me Furious, Puzzled

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It’s been three days since a misguided, delusional man shot and killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a reservist in the Canadian Army, in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the National War Memorial in Ottawa. This same man then hijacked a car, ran into the nearby Parliament building and attempted to kill some more innocent people before he finally, mercifully was shot dead.

And in all of that time, I’ve been wrestling with my feelings over this.

I have many Canadian friends, but even if I didn’t have a single one, I would still be furious. How dare someone attack an unarmed soldier like Cpl. Cirillo for doing his duty? How dare someone attack the seat of the Canadian government?

I’m not going to name the attacker because I feel he’s already had too much publicity. Instead, I’d like to say a few things about Cpl. Cirillo, these garnered from one of the very few United States publications to accurately report what was going on in Ottawa on Tuesday, the New York Times.

Cpl. Cirillo was a 25-year-old man who loved to work out, play with his two dogs, and was the proud father of a young son. He had an Instagram account, posting pictures of himself in ceremonial uniform (complete with kilt and Glengarry bonnet) along with pics of his dogs. He worked part-time as a bouncer at a nightclub, occasionally worked as a personal trainer at a gym, and apparently enjoyed his life and everything in it.

Cpl. Cirillo did not deserve to be shot dead while guarding the National War Memorial. In fact, he didn’t deserve to be shot dead at all. He was just a normal young man, doing his military duty, guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as so many have done before him.

Cpl. Cirillo’s normalcy is exactly why I’m so furious. He deserved more time on this Earth, and his life was brutally ripped away by a thug.

Fortunately for everyone’s peace of mind — in Canada and out — once the armed thug was inside the Parliament building, Sergeant-At-Arms Kevin Vickers  was able to shoot and kill the intruder. Vickers, 58, was later commended for his actions, but deflected it.

But it never should’ve happened. And it puzzles me that this attack actually did come off.

You see, unlike in the United States, where ceremonial guards carry weapons with live ammunition, Cpl. Cirillo carried an unloaded gun. Had it been loaded, it’s possible that the Corporal would still be alive today.

If this were the United States, hand-wringing would ensue. Congresscritters of all sorts would be condemning the gunman, condemning the state of affairs in the country, blaming the President and goodness alone what else, and basically dithering.

Because it happened in Canada, the U.S. politicos have mostly been silent. President Obama condemned the attack and sent his condolences, as you’d expect, and a very few other politicians mentioned it . . . but as our Congress is out on recess, not much else happened.

And because the state of the media in the United States is so distressingly bad, very little additional information has come out regarding why, exactly, this occurred, why anyone in the Canadian government thought it was OK for a soldier in the performance of his duty to carry an unloaded weapon, or even much about the bravery of Sergeant-At-Arms Vickers.

There are many good sources about all of this, of course, including the CBC, the UK media, and a very few newspapers and magazines in the US. But for whatever reason, that’s not what comes up first in web searches; instead, what comes up is information about the gunman, information about what the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, is doing about all of this, and whether or not the Parliament building will now have much greater security than it did before.

Decent coverage, but it’s not what interests me most.

Instead, I want to hear more about Cpl. Cirillo. More about the brave woman, Barbara Winters, who attempted to save Cpl. Cirillo’s life. And more about what average Canadians think of this terrible tragedy, for that matter.

Those are the real stories, and they have been profoundly overlooked in the United States, possibly because of the lamentable state of contemporary journalism.

And that’s so sad, it’s heartbreaking.

An Update…Plus My Thoughts on Ferguson Shooting and More on Robin Williams

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Folks, it’s time to do a little catching up. And as I haven’t blogged very much in the past week, I figured now was as good a time as any to do just that.

What have I been doing with myself? Some editing, some writing (though the writing has been like pulling teeth). Some book promotion. Lots of baseball-watching — the Milwaukee Brewers have continued to play well, for the most part, and I’ve enjoyed that.

As always, I’ve been keeping an eye on current events. The stuff going on in Ferguson, MO, is appalling — an unarmed African-American teenager, Michael Brown, was shot to death by a policeman, and the circumstances behind this seem murky at absolute best. Brown had apparently just stolen some cigars (or possibly cigarettes) a few minutes before this happened, and no one knows for certain whether or not the policeman who shot Brown knew that. But the response seems disproportionate to the crime from everything we know right now.

Worse yet, the response from the Ferguson Police Department was about as badly bungled as it could be. Tear gas was shot at protestors for what seems like the flimsiest of excuses. And at least two reporters were arrested, merely for being present in a local McDonald’s while preparing to write their stories.

Fortunately, the state police have now been called in and things seem to be calming down in Ferguson. The fact that United States Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed someone to look into the death of Brown has also helped quell the unrest.

Compared to that — Hell, compared to the unrest in Israel, or the ongoing crisis in Iraq — my struggles with writing and editing seem remarkably trivial. Which is one reason I haven’t said much.

Also, I have to admit that Robin Williams’ death really disturbed me on many levels. It’s not just that a very funny and brilliant man is dead; it’s that someone as bright and funny and wealthy as Williams still wasn’t able to get the health care he needed despite trying with all of his might to make himself well.

The latest revelations about Williams and his health include the fact that he was battling Parkinson’s disease in addition to everything else. It’s been alleged that this may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back . . . but no one will ever know for sure.

And again — my struggles with writing and editing, or anything else — pale before the life-and-death drama of Robin Williams. So it’s hard for me to come up with something to write about under the circumstances.

That said, I hope to have a review for you later today of Victoria Alexander’s 19th Century English romance, THE SCANDALOUS ADVENTURES OF THE SISTER OF THE BRIDE, over at Shiny Book Review. (For those of you waiting for my take on DIGITAL DISCONNECT, that’ll have to go next week. I’m still sorting out my thoughts there.) Maybe a frothy romance might make everyone feel a little better for a little while . . .

But if not, it’s good that the attempt is made. (Yes?)

National Outrage Ensues After Ray Rice Gets Suspended by the NFL for Only Two Games After Domestic Violence Arrest

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Folks, there are some things as a human being that deeply offend me. Domestic violence against your life partner is one of those things.

Recently, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was caught hitting his then-fiancée, now-wife on camera at a casino to the point that she ended up unconscious from the blow. This was a senselessly stupid act in more ways than one, and he was quite properly arrested for it.

However, as he married his fiancée not long afterward (exactly one day after an Atlantic City grand jury indicted him, according to this New York Times article), and as Rice both pled not guilty and entered a diversion program as a first-time offender (this according to an article from Huffington Post), apparently the NFL did not think it needed to suspend Ray Rice for more than a mere two games.

Considering Rice’s suspension is less than your typical four games for using steroids or other performance enhancing drugs, this has caused a national furor. And not just from outraged female sports fans, either.

Take a look at this quote from this past Monday’s Shutdown Corner column over at Yahoo Sports, which points out that this particular suspension doesn’t make sense compared to other suspensions dealing with NFL players committing violent acts:

Cedric Benson once received a three-game suspension for assaulting a former roommate. Albert Haynesworth got five games after stomping on an opponent’s head in the heat of a game. Terrelle Pryor received five games in the Ohio State tattoo case before he ever entered the NFL. Tank Johnson was suspended half a season for illegal firearm possession.

Where is the consistency? Is there any scale at all here?

And when you consider that someone who’s used marijuana and been caught using typically gets a four-game suspension for a first offense, this particular two-game suspension becomes even more baffling.

Look. I know that pro football is a very violent game. I know that the men who play this game have a good amount of aggression in them — they have to have it, or they could not possibly play pro football at a high level. And there are very, very few men like the late Reggie White who are as gentle off the field as they are near-murderous upon it.

Even so, it’s wrong that a man like Ray Rice gets only a “piddling two-game suspension” (paraphrased from the words of Frank DeFord, who’s on record as asking if Roger Goodell is truly good enough to lead the NFL) for hitting his then-fiancée when someone who takes Adderall without first getting a therapeutic use exemption (or whatever the NFL calls it; I’m using MLB terminology as I’m much more conversant with that) gets a four-game suspension?

How can the NFL possibly justify only a two-game suspension for Rice under these particular circumstances? How is taking Adderall or smoking Mary Jane worse than hitting your fiancée?

Also, this sends a terrible message to any female fan of every NFL team. That message goes something like this: “We don’t care about you. At all.”

Because if they did, the NFL wouldn’t have come out with this stupid, pointless, ridiculous and utterly senseless two-game suspension for Rice. Instead, they would’ve ordered him into counseling — tougher and more stringent counseling than he’s already paying for on his own. They would’ve suspended him at least the same four games for any other first-time offense whether the police pressed charges or not, or allowed Rice into a diversion program or not. And they would’ve then gotten some counseling — big-time, major counseling — for Rice’s now-wife. (Remember her? The woman Rice hurt badly? The woman the NFL doesn’t want to talk about, because they seemingly want to see this as a “victimless crime” because Rice already is in counseling and he’s already married his then-fiancée?)

Right now, the NFL’s message is really bad. It says that their players can hit any woman they please and knock them out, and they will do almost nothing. Then, after giving the player what amounts to a mild slap on the wrist, the NFL will turn around and say what a tremendously wonderful human being the guy in question is (in this case, Ray Rice), and how this was an aberration and will never happen again.

And how do I know this is their message? Because their actions speak much louder than their actual words; they say, loudly and clearly, that domestic violence just doesn’t matter to the NFL. Or Rice would’ve at minimum received a four-game suspension, and quite possibly longer than that.

That he didn’t, my friends, is just wrong.

Two Young Girls in Waukesha Try to Kill Classmate to “Please Slenderman”

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Yesterday, news broke that not fifty miles up the road from me in Waukesha, WI, two twelve-year old girls had tried to murder their equally young classmate.

Their motive? To please “The Slender Man,” also known as “Slenderman.” This is a fictional character who’s often depicted wearing a black suit — with tendrils coming out the back — and lives in a mansion in the forest up North.

I’d never heard of The Slender Man before the two girls were arrested and charged. Apparently, this Internet sensation has been around since 2009. And as the CreepyPasta.wiki site itself said, most people know that The Slender Man is fictional.

However, these two twelve-year-old girls didn’t realize this. And because they didn’t, another young girl is in the hospital right now, recovering from nineteen stab wounds — one of which missed a major artery by what’s been reported as “a millimeter” by both WTMJ Channel 4 and WITI Fox 6 in Milwaukee.

As Jim Stingl, opinion writer for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, put it:

The pair of shaggy-haired sixth-graders, according to the charges against them, plotted a murder for the most outlandish reason. They wanted to please Slender Man — a make-believe demon that became real in their jacked-up imaginations — and run away to live with him in, of all places, the Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin. They had packed bags and were going to walk there after the slaying.

For most of us, it’s a freak show. For the 12-year-old victim clinging to life, and for her family and friends, it’s a nightmare worse than anything you’ll find on Creepypasta Wiki.

As a writer, I am appalled by this tragedy.

I’m frustrated that these two young girls could plan for what’s been reported as a year to kill a classmate without anyone knowing except themselves. (This according to just about every news person working for HLN Cable News this afternoon, including Dr. Drew Pinsky, Jane Velez-Mitchell, and Nancy Grace.) I’m shocked that anyone would believe a character clearly drawn as fictional (a really slim man in a dark suit with tentacles, whose face you can’t look at lest you drop dead on the spot) could be somehow appeased (or worse, joined) by killing a classmate.

But I’m also not happy with some who are blaming the website CreepyPasta.wiki for this particular crime, merely for having what’s the Internet equivalent of what used to be called “campfire horror stories” on their site.

As a post called “Fiction, Reality and You” from user Sloshedtrain at CreepyPasta.wiki says:

According to the story, the girls read about Slenderman here on this wiki, and of course the usual response lead to hostility and blaming towards the wiki by some “very concerned parents”. Some calling for the censorship and shutdown of the wiki.

Will these people succeed on their quest? Most likely not. These are the same people who think violent video games help create mass murderers, because it is convenient to blame and point fingers.

Besides the backlash, this incident shows what happens when the line of fiction and reality ceases to exist. When a person truly believes that Internet short stories are cold hard facts. When a person attempts to replicate works of fiction to the point others are harmed. And for this, I’m going to make myself loud and clear:

ALL WORKS PRESENTED ON THIS WIKI AND OTHER SITES (INCLUDING SLENDERMAN, JEFF THE KILLER, BEN, SONIC.EXE, ETC) ARE FICTIONAL STORIES AND CHARACTERS (Note: bold-face type and punctuation were rendered exactly as in the original document. BC)

So there you have it. Two twelve-year-old girls try to commit murder, because they cannot separate reality from fantasy, and are now being charged as adults.

It’s awful. It’s shocking. It’s disgusting. It’s distressing.

But as a fiction writer, it makes me wonder . . . will I start having to say in every post, “Remember, this is a fictional character we’re talking about” because I write YA fantasy and my target audience isn’t that much older than these two deluded young girls?

An Easter Week Disaster: South Korean Ferry Sinks; 49 Dead, 253 Missing

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Earlier this week, a ferry in South Korea capsized, then sunk. 49 people have been confirmed dead thus far, and 253 are still missing according to this report from CNN.

While there had initially been hopes that some of the missing might be rescued due to air pockets and the like, hopes are now fading. Worse yet, the South Korean government has not been forthcoming — shades of what’s happened in Malaysia due to the air disaster with MH 370 — and family members are extremely frustrated, to put it mildly.

This report from the Huffington Post shows the frustration of the families in full measure:

But the seeds of distrust were planted Wednesday, the day the ferry sank with 476 people aboard, 323 of them from a single high school in Ansan. . .

The high school initially sent parents text messages saying all of the students had been rescued.

Lee Byung-soo, whose son was aboard the ferry, was relieved by the text. . .

It was only when he arrived at the gymnasium that he realized his son, 15-year-old Lee Seok-joon, had not been saved. “I had to check every picture of the face of the rescued students before I realized that my son was not there,” he said.

People also were quoted in the Huffington Post article as yelling at the divers, who haven’t been able to do as much as they’d like due to poor visibility and other concerns, “Would you have done the same if your own children were in the water?” and “Why did you refuse to take the rescue gear and supplies that foreign countries offered?”

And then, there are these heartbreaking text messages that the high school students sent as the disaster was ongoing, as reported by CBC. Here’s a brief taste of that:

In another set of messages, a father tries to help his child.

“I know the rescue is going on, but try coming out if possible,” he writes.

“No, dad, can’t walk. The hallway is packed with kids, and it’s too tilted,” the student writes.

The passenger’s fate is unknown.

Note that if the ship’s crew had been on the ball, the halls wouldn’t have been filled with people. So perhaps more people could’ve been rescued — or, at minimum, the rescue would’ve been handled efficiently and well, rather than so poorly that people actually felt the need to send their families “goodbye texts.”

But the ship’s crew was not on the ball. Worse, their actions made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

So what have the South Koreans done thus far that does make sense? Well, they’ve arrested the ferry boat’s captain, Lee Joon Seok,  and third mate, a woman identified only as Park (along with one other ship member, a technician of some sort); the third mate was the one who actually was at the helm when the ship made what’s being called an “excessive” turn, while the captain is being charged with a number of violations according to the CNN report, most having to do with leaving his boat before all the passengers were either rescued or accounted for.

The oddest thing in all of this was that the Captain was among the very first people to be evacuated from the ferry by nearly every published report. When clearly, his duty was to get those passengers safely off the ferry — and he absolutely, positively, should not have left the ferry until every single last one of them was off, or every single last one of them was confirmed as deceased.

That’s what’s supposed to happen.

But it didn’t happen here. The families of the victims are furious — and rightfully so.

How in the world could something this awful happen?

So far, there are no good answers to that. But there is one very small ray of sunlight in that Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu has donated $100,000 to help those affected by the ferry disaster according to TMZ.

You see, Ryu is Korean. He has said publicly that he has a “heavy heart,” and he wanted to do something tangible that would help his fellow countrymen.

And he did so right away.

But that’s the only good thing that’s come out of this particular ferry disaster thus far . . . and while there’s always hope that a few more people may be rescued alive due to perhaps finding air pockets (as this has been known to happen in other sea rescues, why not hope for it here as well?), right now this seems to be adding up to yet another disaster.

During Easter week.

And that’s just wrong . . . especially as this didn’t have to happen.

A Plea to the Media: Leave the Family Members of those Lost on Malaysian Airways Flight 370 Alone

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For the past seventeen or eighteen days, depending on which side of the globe you’re on, it seems that every news person in the world has been covering the strange and sudden disappearance of Malaysian Airways flight 370, abbreviated as MH370 for short.

Every night, news organizations such as CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, BBC America, and others have breathlessly reported on any available lead as to where this plane went. Various theories have been expounded, some having to do with Visual Flight Rules and how they might apply (if you’re flying low, you’re on VFR), some having to do with why the pilots might have simulators in their houses, various scenarios about how the cockpit might have had a catastrophic accident, and many, many more.

During all this time, the various families of the passengers who’d boarded MH370 expecting a safe and sedate flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing have been inundated with all of this. They’ve had to try to remain calm, even as the reputations of the pilots have been besmirched over and over again; they’ve been told all sorts of conflicting information, as no one can even seemingly figure out exactly where the flight may have gone down.

Worst of all, the Malaysian Prime Minister, a man by the name of Najib Razak, seemingly says something different every single day. He can’t confirm anything, because the information is constantly changing, and the satellite data coming in from other countries seems to directly contradict anything he says anyway.

So when Mr. Razak said earlier today (as reported by Wolf Blitzer on CNN) that there is now “conclusive evidence” that MH370 went down in the Indian Ocean and that all passengers and crew must be accounted dead, who can blame the families for not believing him?

See, the families are in between a rock and a hard place. They want information; they have to know that it would be an increasingly long shot for anyone to survive in the cold ocean in choppy seas without land, even with floatation devices and possibly some food and a bit of water, after seventeen-plus days. But the information must be impeccable, must be comprehensible, and must be logical.

More to the point, every available authority should agree on it.

Because after all this time, with all of the information that’s been thrown at them day after day after day, the families of the passengers and crew of lost MH370 have to be completely shellshocked.

That being said, the families have reacted with dismay, frustration, loss, and a whole lot of screaming to the recent revelations by Prime Minister Razak. All of this is completely understandable.

What isn’t understandable is why the media insists on showing these poor people being carried out on stretchers, screaming at the top of their lungs while gesticulating wildly, or other scenes of pain, loss, and outright suffering.

Where is the decency of the media? Why aren’t they treating these poor families the way they, themselves, would wish to be treated if for some reason their family members and loved ones had gone down on MH370 instead?

Granted, not every media outlet is showing the screaming. MSNBC seems to have restrained itself, for the most part, especially in recent days, for which I thank them. Fox News has not shown a lot of that, either, during the past four or five days. I don’t think BBC America has shown much in the past few days (though it showed a lot more earlier), and that’s a good thing as well.

But CNN definitely has.

Worse, it keeps doing it, and shows no sign of stopping any time soon.

My view is simple: The media needs to leave these poor families alone. (Yes, CNN, I’m looking squarely at you.) They have suffered enough as it is.

And unfortunately, they will continue to suffer for a very, very long time, even if the current information is absolutely accurate and even if the bodies of their loved ones are eventually found and recovered.

The only thing CNN and other media outlets like them are doing at this point is to prolong the agony of the suffering families.

And that, my friends, is just wrong.