... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

From  my cousin Donna's   fridge

DG-CHOOK.jpg (32497 bytes)

This is the last of Donna's magnets
--a chicken leg holding up a photo!

* Discussion *

Talk about it here.


Deja Dead
Kathy Reichs

(not for the squeamish!)


Whose Line Is It Anyway?


Samples of two of the
slide shows I've been making
can be downloaded from
this ZDNet page

Pictures from the Cincinnati are now up at Steve's Club Photo page.

Pictures from our Family reunion are on my own Club Photo page.

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That's it for today!


31 August 2001

By now probably most people in the country have heard about the Ukranian immigrant who went on a killing spree in Sacramento and murdered 6 members of his family, including three children and his pregnant wife. Nikolay Soltys was caught today, hiding in his mother's back yard, following a national manhunt and a feature story on America's Most Wanted. The media has been having a field day since the murders were first discovered.

Human tragedy brings out the worst in the media. From the moment the murders were reported, there was a news helicopter flying around over the area, the cameras zoomed in with close ups of police activity. Special reports replayed the scenes over and over again, with somber-faced newscasters repeating the same thing over and over, endlessly.

As the extent of the tragedy began to unfold, the media had more to work with. They discovered the body of 3 year old Sergei in a box in some empty lot. I couldn't believe the reporter in the helicopter was apologizing for the fact that they couldn't get a close-up of what was in the box. The scene was replayed many times on the noon news, the evening news, the next day's news, and periodically on summaries of the whole tragedy.

There were also photos of the murder scene, with each bloody pool shown in all its gruesome horror. We've seen outlines of bodies and watched tearful friends who thought the suspect was such a nice guy.

When there was nothing to say, nothing new to report, there would be recaps. Endless recaps. More shots from the helicopter, more shots of the blood spattered bedroom.

[One might point out that the only reason I know about all this is that I've watched it. Actually I haven't. The TV is on for company all day long and it goes from news reports to other shows, and breaking in for special reports. I haven't actually watched more than a glance, but I've heard the comments in the background and occasionally look up in astonishment at the kinds of things they were showing about this tragedy.]

Today came the capture, with a Special Report breaking into the Today Show, and reporters desperately trying to get the right position for the perfect shot of Soltys being loaded into the police car, and then taken into the police station for questioning. The commentators talked endlessly, making speculations about what was "probably happening" inside the building. They were loathe to return to reguar programming for fear they might miss something.

When there was nothing to show but a building with cars parked around it, they switched to distraught neighbors, living near the mother. Everybody thought they'd seen him, or remembered the children, or were still in tears about how they would all feel in the aftermath of Soltys' capture.

The day school started, there were psychiatrists on campus to help children who might be upset at the murder of their friends. And the ubiquitous cameras in the classrooms, a constant reminder to the children about the tragedy, while the newscasters solemnly talked about what a shame it was that the children were going to have to be dealing with this terrible tragedy. (It did not, of course, prevent the newscasters from interviewing some of the children to ask how they felt about having lost a friend.)

If one takes the media to task for overly in-depth coverage of human tragedy, the answer is always that the public has the right to know. The right to know what? Do I have a right to know what the dead body of a 3 year old massacred child looks like? Do I have the right to see all the bloody spots in the bedroom of the other murder victims? Do I have the right to share the angst of some neighbor who is sad that her neighborhood is forever changed? Do I have the right to listen to a child's fear because her friend was killed?

Is there no limit to what the public has a right to know?

There was a time when the media was discreet. When there was some respect for people's privacy, when nobody felt that everybody had the right to know everything about the most intimate details of everybody's life. When a family could deal with its grief without a cadre of cameramen parked on the front lawn and reporters beating down the door.

I miss those days.

One Year Ago:
There's No Place Like Home

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 8/31/01 by Bev Sykes