Saturday, 20 April 2013

A Screaming Editorial

What is a newspaper without an hysterical headline and a screaming editorial.  We are particularly good at it in this country.  It will depend on the political slant of the newspaper.  But when horrific events occur, they can go into hysteria mode and blatantly ignore facts.  One example was the Hungerford Massacre, carried out by Michael Ryan in 1987.  More than a dozen were shot dead and more wounded.  Ryan, typically in situations like this, took his own life.  The blame for this outrage was firmly placed by sections of the media, at the feet of Stallone & Schwartenegger, due to their violent action films.

    Of course it had nothing to do with the fact that Police allowed Ryan to build up an arsenal of weaponry.  Ryan was also thought to be a bit of an oddball loner, and was even seen to be pretend stalking people with a gun.  Obviously not a huge red flag warning.  I remember media accounts saying that Ryan walked about with a bandana around his head, just like Rambo.  Absolutely NOT true.  Ryan was obsessed with violent films.  NOT true.  He did not watch TV much.  His obsession was with the military.  Reporter Kate Adie did an indepth investigation into the life of Michael Ryan, which completely demolished the media image of him.  Naturally, this never made it into newspaper reports.  Why did Ryan go on this rampage?  My opinion is that his life revolved around guns, he had no friends, no prospects of anything, and had formulated a plan, over considerable time, to go out in a blaze of glory.  Remember the stalking?  I believe that day he decided it was time and put his "mission" into operation.  After it was over, his mission had finished and he had only one way out.  Remember Columbine?  Harris & Klebold killed themselves after their mission ended.  Virginia Tech?  That guy did the same thing.

    It was only after the Dunblane Massacre that a real effort was made to try and limit gun ownership.  This has actually failed, in my view.  With borders coming down within Europe, guns have travelled between countries much easier.  What should not be forgotten is that both massacres were committed by men with LEGALLY held guns.  Some Police forces let gun owners do whatever they wanted, others took a tough approach.  Yet it took the slaughter of children in Dunblane before action was really taken.