The reaction to this event continues to dominate national news; now of course we are repeatedly hearing what a good man the victim was, what his dreams were, how tragic it was, being shown 'selfies' that people took with him at the monument, etc. I am sure that the man (I won't repeat his name here; it's everywhere anyway) was indeed a fine human being, loved by many and admired by more. I don't question that at all. His murder is as vile an act as any other, no matter what state of mind his killer was in.
What bothers me is how the victim has been somewhat hijacked by the media (in a predictable fashion), a strategy which I suspect owes far more to the desire to keep the top story running as long as possible as it does to honouring the dead man or his family. I find this repeated treatment of victims rather distasteful, because it's not honest, and the use of the tragedy to manipulate the public's feelings (or should I say, the media companies' customer's feelings) is something that we have been repeatedly subjected to over the years. Don't agree? That's fine, but consider why the CBC would have on its website only hours after the event, a video (taken by some sick b*stard on their phone camera) of passers-by trying to save the soldier's life using CPR. Think about that for a moment.
I'd love to hear a convincing rationale for posting that voyeuristic, distasteful, obnoxious piece of footage on a website. What news value does it have? How does it inform the public? How does it improve the quality of the information about the event? Of course, it doesn't; it's merely a piece of morbid, hugely inappropriate voyeuristic titillation.I didn't watch it it; I didn't have to - I know what real CPR looks like, and it's not pleasant. I only hope that the victim's loved ones didn't see it - the real thing isn't like TV, folks.
The fallen man is now being referred to in the media as a hero. That overused word again. Now I would never seek to comment upon his family's regard for the man, and of course if they feel that he is a hero, then they are entitled to hold that view. However, to label his death as that of a hero is, I think, to dishonour all of those men and women who have died heroically. The simple fact is that not all soldiers die heroically, even in war. Being bombed or shelled is not a hero's death, for instance. A ship sinking in a storm, for another. A military transport plane crashing upon take-off...Tragic, yes; a waste of life, of course - but heroic? I don't think so, not really; not if we are being honest with ourselves.
A hero's death in my opinion is one which happens while saving another life, fighting against impossible odds, protecting the vulnerable, etc. - I'm sure you get my meaning. 'Hero', after all, cannot realistically be a blanket term we should use to describe all our armed service personnel.
These days, it has become a habit of the media (and it seems, a great many people) to describe all members of the armed forces as heroes. Firefighters, for example, embrace the label with much enthusiasm, just for wearing the uniform. It is, sadly, a dreadfully overused word, and that misuse of it is a sad thing. It's sad because I believe that it dishonours the real heroes and heroines, whether it be service personnel or ordinary people performing extraordinary acts of compassion and bravery. The term should, in my view, be preserved for such deserving acts and the person who performs them.
The murdered man in this incident died in the service of his country, true, but that alone does not make his death heroic. It was tragic, horrible, appalling, unforgivable, yes, but remember the context: he was performing ceremonial duties, unarmed, at a war memorial. The circumstances as reported suggest that he didn't even see his killer coming. He was, therefore, likely shot before he even knew what was happening. That's not a hero's death, I don't think. By painting it as such, the media defiles the memories of those who have committed genuinely heroic acts and who deserve our undying memory and gratitude for their extraordinary feat.
I know that many will disagree with me, but let's be brutally honest with ourselves here: do we want to paint everyone as heroes in order to wring the maximum amount of grief from the public (which, I submit, is what the media companies are up to), or can we agree to only use the very special term 'hero' to recognise the few very special people who deserve it, and with it our admiration and recognition?