The events in Newtown sparked a lot of discussion on gun control and the media's representation of children following violent events. However, as is the case with most well-covered human tragedies, mental health discourse was decidedly missing from the reporting.
"Evil visited this community today," the Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said following the shooting. Such words are not uncommon following acts of violence, but their prominence still made me cringe. I have to ask, whose "evil" are we talking about when we classify this tragedy as such?
Just shortly after the news that 20 small children were killed in Connecticut, the White House Press Secretary said "today is not the day" to engage in a policy debate over gun control. But it hardly matters if we all agree that shooting schoolchildren is terrible if we don't do anything to prevent it in the future -- and that is difficult to do in a society that promotes gun culture to even its youngest members.
In the wake of the tragedy in the Newtown, CT elementary school, we are all left speechless. In the midst of the chaos that ensues, we rely on news media to guide us. But in order to get as close as possible to the story, sometimes news media pass the line of what is acceptable.
Today, there were many instances of reporters talking to little children. Eight- and nine-year-olds. A little child who has just experienced a tragedy like this doesn't need a microphone in his or her face. What we don't want is the use of little children as a means of getting viewers. Those children need love and care first. The story should always come after.