www.whyville.net Oct 31, 2003 Weekly Issue

Times Writer & Whyville Senator

Making the News

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In all honesty, I should be in bed, and I should have fallen asleep long ago. Yet, there's something in the back of my mind that I can't seem to brush off and it's led to a tumultuous amount of thoughts, none of which are overly happy trains of thought. In my ponderings, I have once again come up with many more questions than I will ever be able to answer. But maybe I should start from the beginning...

This evening has been very awkward for me. My mother arrived home and informed me that at 6 o'clock she wanted to watch the news, assuming that I would be parked (as usual) in front of the tube doing my homework. While this was unusual for my mom, I did not ask questions because I simply didn't care what she would want to watch in the news. (I personally prefer the morning paper with a nice bowl of oatmeal to start the day.) Yet, my sister always has to ask twenty thousands pointless questions about everything, and the event in question was no exception. "Why?" she demanded, and I admit that I was slightly shaken when I heard my mother's reply.

As it turns out, there was a young man she worked with for quite some time at her full-time job. This morning, he parked his car and began crossing the street to began the daily tasks at hand. As he was crossing the street, he was hit by a school bus. He was pronounced dead earlier this afternoon in the hospital.

I have no connection with this man. I have never met him, nor heard my mother speak of him, but for some reason this has hit me really hard. Imagine walking to school in the morning thinking it was a day just like any other, when really, it will be your last. Imagine the shock. There are thousands of emotions and remarks that instantly come to mind, and yet I can not bring myself to understand.

But while I have sympathy for his family and coworkers, there has been something bothering me all evening: Who cares? Will it make the front page of the paper tomorrow? Unlikely, but not impossible. Maybe there will be an article tucked away some where in my morning read, but who will take notice besides his friends and family, the same people who already know what happened? Will I be able to read it in the Calgary Sun or the Toronto Star? No. Because who cares what happens in a small city in the prairies? Of course, if I can't find it on a national scale, then what are the chances of me reading about it on an international scale? Slim to none. No, many things will make the headlines tomorrow, but this does not survive the chopping block.

How do we judge what's important or not? One cow was found with BSE and all of Canada broke into hysteria, while the U.S. took a brief moment to notice and impose a ban on Canadian beef. For months, it's been mad cow this and meat bans that. Our farmers are living on nothing because they cannot sell their meat and no one will meat the meat because of the paranoia. One cow. Yet, it's the same people who cause this commotion that say that the lives of animals are unimportant, or at least, not as important as our own. So why is that for 3 months a single cow can hold so much sway over the world and the death of a single man means nothing?

Two Canadian soldiers made the front page of the local newspaper last week. They were killed in the war in Afghanistan. They died serving our country, and so their lives are significant. What about all of the civilians who have died because they are caught in this war? How come they are killed by the thousands, and yet none of them make the front page? How do we determine whose lives are more valuable? Because in the end we are all dependent on one another.

Last spring, my school bus was in a crash. I was fortunate to have caught a ride that day, but I inadvertently drove past the scene of the accident and was stunned to the point of silence. There were 35 children in that bus, as well as one of the nicest men I have ever met who was driving the bus. There was a mother and her five year son in the car which was involved in the collision. Forty people in an accident and the only space in the news that it earned was a picture that did not do the incident justice, and a 3-line caption. Yet another unfortunate event that's unworthy of a real broadcast. Who really cares, in the end?

My final comments in this rant about the journalistic woes of our society is my thought on the Colin Thatcher situation. For those of you who haven't heard, Colin Thatcher was a man convicted of killing his wife a number of years before I was born. He has now applied for parole and been granted a hearing. In all honesty, it looks as if he may get his freedom, although not for the reasons you think. He claims he's a changed man, I've read time and time again, and the fact that he was wealthy and had some influence on the government doesn't hurt him either. I see so many moral and ethical flaws in this situation that I am appalled. But it's his grandchildren saying that he should be set free because they do not have grandparents in their life and because of this, they say they themselves are being punished. Wait, whose fault is it that their grandmother is dead?

It really makes me wonder what kind of world we live in.

Morals, ethics and breakfast cereals.


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