There were 298 victims on the tragic Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. 298 lives - athletes, babies, nuns, aids researchers, moms, dads, sisters and brothers - 298 people. Lives that were shot out of the sky by a group that should not have had the means to do so, but they did, because sadly that is the world we live in now.
In the hours that followed I watched and searched for information on what happened. The information about the missile that ripped the plane from the sky seemed to come quickly. But, what came just as quickly after the crash, concerned me and had me wondering if we have all become numb to these tragedies. Numb to plane crashes, to school shootings, to kids killing their parents and stabbing their friends.
The first most tragic thing that I found as I was searching for information on the crash were pictures. Pictures of the crash. Now, I will say that site warned me that the pictures were "graphic", but I didn't expect what I saw, because who would have expected these pictures. The first people on the crash site had cameras, that's right cameras. They actually took pictures of the poor souls and their lifeless bodies! I almost dropped my phone as I opened the links to the stories. What news agencies felt that getting to the story first meant that they needed to share those pictures? Putting a warning in front of it doesn't justify the action.
Now, the pictures were not of faces. However, I promise you, that if my family was on that plane I would have recognized that arm, that back, that body, that pony-tail or that shirt. I promise you, you would have too. They didn't need to share those pictures to make us believe that someone ultimately died. That type of image is private, is sacred and is NOT ok.
The second story that I happened upon was one of a prank caller. This prankster called into MSNBC pretending to be an eye-witness to the missile launch and the plane crash. He was also pretending to be a member of the US Military. His brilliant punch-line? That the plane was shot out of the sky by...well wait, here is the quote: “Well, I was looking out a window and I saw a projectile flying through the sky and it would appear the plane was shot down by a blast of wind from Howard Stern’s ass." Really? I think even Howard Stern would be upset by the use of his name here...I hope.
Our caller then goes on to say to the news person, who was clearly caught off guard by the caller, “Oh you’re a dumbass, aren’t ya?” No, prankster may I offer to you, pot kettle, kettle pot!
The third story, was actor Jason Biggs and his insensitive tweets about the crash. After Jason heard about the crash he goes right to Twitter...like the rest of the world. He was not thinking, trying to make a joke and just Tweeted, "Anyone wanna buy my Malaysian Airlines frequent flier miles?" Trying to be funny? Sure. But, a bit insensitive? For sure! Think before you Tweet people, it doesn't always have to be (likely shouldn't be) the first thing that pops into your head.
When we hear of these tragedies, let's all stop and think about the people involved and the lives that have been changed forever. It's not an opportunity for a prank, a quip on Twitter or an ill-chosen photo-op.
Be thankful that today you were not involved and that your family is safe. Say a prayer, if you don't pray at least reflect on your luck today. Put down your phone, take your fingers off the keyboard and if you don't know what to do with your hands, reach out for someone else's.
"We have guided missiles and misguided men." - Martin King Luther, Jr.
image: Google Image unknown
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