Monday, April 13, 2009

To Be Honest (a bit of a rant)


Fraudsters, Con Artists, Scammers, Shameless, Ruthless People - there’s no doubt they’re among us; some of them are responsible for the recession and indeed collapse of economies worldwide and their names are in the news, big and bold. Some though, are a little less infamous and perhaps, maybe, some don’t even know who they themselves are.

I too often feel there are just too many occasions when I wonder about that last grouping. I mean, do some people really believe the crap they do is OK?

Where do we draw the many lines that are needed in life, to demarcate what is actually reasonable and honest, what has integrity and what is dishonest, ruthless, shameful?

I wish people would think about it a bit more often. I’m no angel, none of us are, and we’re all human, we all make bad judgement calls at times and do things that at the time seem ok. But there are also times when we should know better. And if we as individuals don’t realize that, then someone, or some people – society perhaps, needs to point it out.

Several things have caused me to focus on this more than normal – there’s probably several posting’s worth of them, but one in particular, the most recent, is the one that caused me to write this ‘rant’.

Yesterday evening, I received an email with photographs of the dead and dying victims of a tragic - even if caused by recklessness - accident. I did not look at the photos, I had already heard about them and knew roughly what they showed. But I could not help seeing them to some extent as I scrolled down to reply to the sender giving my thoughts about these photos - I'm not normally given to cursing in my writing, but WTF???

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

So you have a camera and you take photos on the spot. Maybe you were in shock and your brain ceased functioning for a while, but you’d think it would come back to life before you went so far as to put the photos of peoples brothers and sisters, daughters, sons and loved ones, broken into body parts, bleeding to death, out to all your pals in an email? Whoever you are, I guess you never stopped to think about if that was your family, or you in the photos.

It’s bad enough that our TV stations in St. Lucia for sure, (and maybe in other islands, I don’t know) put out pictures of twisted corpses and badly hurt victims on their news casts, and it always turns my stomach to see people craning and straining to get a chance to see what’s going on – who that is, how ripped apart their lifeless body is, etc. But this last thing took the lifetime achievement award for being a heartlessly asinine moronic thing to do.

And it cuts to the core of the hypocrisy of so many of us. We (and I use that term loosely because this is one thing I don’t do) take plenty time off work to dress up in black to ‘pay respects’ to people who we have but a passing acquaintance with. We quietly file into whatever Church, glance at their dressed up body in their coffin (maybe making a note to gossip with someone later about how good or bad they looked, or how cheap the coffin was or something equally empty), and we sit through the ceremony – some even go so far as to make the sacrifice of turning off their cell phone. Some don’t. Rest assured if you meet up with the family, ‘condolences’ will be offered, and relax in knowing that the grave will be covered in wreaths of flowers – at least until the last funeral-goer has left the cemetery. I wouldn’t even go into what happens at the home or rented venue after the cemetery. And I know some of us aren’t like this, but a few too many fit this description and more.

But regardless of the bad things we do while we ‘pay our respects’, the fact remains, we as a society, claim we respect the dead. I have to wonder.

Those of you who have these photos of the recent accident victims, if you have not done so already, delete them please.

Those of you, who may find yourself in a similar situation in the future, please stop and think – don’t the people, dead or still hanging on to life, have the right to some privacy in their time of tragedy? Are you helping anyone by taking and distributing photographs or video? And newscasters, reporters, station managers, it’s not even like we have much choice who we watch! You not going to lose viewers - Do you need to show these pictures? Would any of you want this for yourselves?

This is just one of many things we need to take time to consider what judgment call we should make. The Internet has put many doors in front us – those of you who read this Blog regularly know how I feel about it for the opportunities it offers the Caribbean. But some of the doors are ones we should not open, even though we can. Some doors, once opened can never really be shut again, so think, hard, with some honesty and integrity, before you act.

As always, and even more so because of the seriousness and complexity of the subject, your thoughts, questions and suggestions are very welcome.

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  1. You could not have said it better, I heard about this,but everyone who called started with 'you should see those pictures from an accident in St.Lucia'. We have become so de-sensitized that those gruesome videos and pictures no longer affect us. Like you said, we should first think of how humiliating it would be if those people were our family. Let us start showing our outrage by deleting this email and sending a 'loving' message to whoever sent it.

  2. Thanks Valerie, for airing your views here - I think it's important that people speak out and talk about these things.

  3. I am Kenny's aunt and I was shocked to see how some persons took a family's pain and made it the entertainment of the day through these picturs. We loved Kenny and are deeply hurt. To those who are enjoying these pictures, please remember that it could happen to your family too. No one is immune.

  4. Thank you for commenting here - I hope some of the people who have not thought about what they're doing, read your words and don't make the same mistake again.

    My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, many members whom I know, and with those of the others who died on this tragic day.

  5. Come on people - Why don't we make better use of our cameras, phones, computers. Look around St Lucia, there is beauty all around. Visitors come to the island and trust me they take lots of photos. We can do that and lots more with the natural beaty that surrounds us. Please be sensitive, be civilized and stop hurting and humiliating our fellowmen and women. Stop forwarding these photos, delete them asap. We must respect the living and the dead at all times.
    Finola, thanks for the write up.
    To the family and friends, I know it is tough, but be strong.


  6. thanks for supporting this plea - anyone who feels so inclined - please feel free to email this post (click the little envelope) to those who sent the photos to you - with your own intro in your email. Lets change a few minds for the better of us all - this is really all it takes to make changes - one small action, by you.

  7. I have always hated those emails. I make a point of telling my friends to never forward me any. I don't get why we cannot afford people some dignity in death. The other thing I cannot take is the forwarding of nude pics of some girl who trusted the wrong person. Why would anyone want to be responsible for further humiliating another?

  8. Thank you for asking The question that I can't see any reasonable answer for, and what we should ask ourselves in situations like these

    "Why would anyone want to be responsible for further humiliating another?"

  9. Oh.I forgot to say I tweet as brownsugawoman