There's a particular type of story that the press likes to focus on and it goes like this: a man kills his children, then himself. I don't remember reading so much about stories like this years ago, though presumably it's not a new phenomenon. But if it is a new development, that could be down to a couple of things: either there is some kind of force being put on men that has driven them to this; or, possibly, the media coverage has resulted in copycat behaviour.
No prizes for guessing which theory proves popular with Mailites commenting on this story, which leads me to a question: is it tasteful, or right, or appropriate to let everyone in the world make ill-informed comments (many of which have a particular agenda) about a story of private grief and tragedy? Is now the time to think about things like that, particularly when people aren't in full possession of the facts?
Another question: how do we benefit from details of the mother's frantic 999 calls? Why is it important that we should know this? If you or I were in the position one day to be making such a call, would we be comfortable to know, hours later, that details of that had been blabbed to the press, either by police or by call handlers looking for a few bob on the side? Would it be right to publish that, not legally but morally, given that it is a time of extraordinary grief and pain for the family concerned?
No such qualms at the Mail, obviously.
Mother's 999 call came too late to save two young daughters murdered by their father
I guess the Mail would claim 'public interest' - you know, the kind of public interest that wouldn't be served by real investigative journalism, which they can't be bothered with in the slightest, but which is vitally nourished by knowledge of how people died and the minute details of families' lives at the time they are most vulnerable and in shock and mourning. Public interest - really? Or public prurience? Or rubbernecking? People might slow down their cars when they drive past an accident - the police don't point you to where the corpses are in the wreckage because it's 'public interest', do they?
At present as I write this the comments appear to be locked up, perhaps due to reasons of taste and decency - well probably not, but you never know. But many views seem to be driving in a particular direction:
My bitter ex-wife made sure she did everything she could to prevent me seeing my son and now he is 15 and I have not seen him nor spoken to him for 18 months because of the vitriolic way that she has poisened him over the years. Like every comment what he did was evil, undoubtedly, but spare a thought for the thousands of fathers who want to be dads to their kids but cannot and its not through want of trying. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and they use it.
- Al, Luxembourg, 22/9/2008 12:23
But we don't know if anything like this has happened in this case. We don't know anything at all. Is it responsible - is it right, even - to link the behaviour of this commenter's wife with the wife in this case? The implication is that the woman was somehow responsible for the deaths of these children and the husband - but surely it's wrong to do that? We don't know the facts at all. We don't know what went on. We don't know, either, if this man had mental health issues which may have caused him to take these appalling actions. Not that that mattered earlier:
My thoughts and prayers are with the mother of these poor children, the selfishness of the father is unbelievable, I hope the man is roasting in hell now.
- mary, Stirling, 22/9/2008 0:34
Yes, just selfishness. Silly me.
Very sad indeed, the government MUST do more to guarantee access rights to fathers who break up with the children's mother or we will be reading of more tragic stories like this. It's a very hard life having your kids poisened by a bitter ex wife and losing them as a result, I can tell you first hand! Fathers for justice deserve recognition by this government we need action NOW!
- Robert Morgan, Houghton-le-Spring,Tyne & Wear, 22/9/2008 7:29
And there you see the agenda being woven into the comments.
It's our curropt government and feminists like Harriet Harm-men that are to blame for this state of affairs.
Abolish family court (as well as other feminist pork bills like 'domestic violence' laws) and we would have more couples working things out between themselves, rather than the state.
- Gerry, Lancashire, England, 22/9/2008 4:44
Is it really right to be making comments like that when we don't know the facts? To be fair to the Mail, they appear to have suspended comments for the time being - but surely they could have predicted what could have happened? Surely there are some stories that are too raw, too sensitive, to need comments on them to help our understanding of them? It just feels like a feasting on the grief and misery, with completely unfair accusations and implications being thrown at the grieving mother in this case. Surely everyone does deserve some kind of privacy... don't they?
Is this really what the Mail was fighting for when it complained about the Max Moseley verdict: the freedom to stick the boot in to the vulnerable?
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