May 23rd 2017
Today I woke up to the news that 22 people were killed at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester by a suicide bomber in an exploding nail-bomb vest.
I want to be able to write something profound and moving about the tragedy, but it’s just beyond comprehension. At least ten of them were kids. One of them was eight years old.
I don’t know why it makes it worse that it was children, but at the same time it’s obvious why it makes it worse. It’s horrific.
People react to these kinds of situations in different ways.
Some people go immediately selfish and shallow and tweet shit like “I was in Manchester last week, that could’ve been me!” and the immediate reaction to tweets like that is “shut the fuck up, people died, you self-important scumbag”. It’s obviously in very poor taste, but I think that that’s slightly unfair. It’s not that they’re not showing compassion, I think those kind of tweets are more to highlight the fact that this kind of thing could happen to any one of us, at any time. And that’s a sobering reality.
The media reacted in the way that the media do. They immediately went fishing for every conceivable facet of information that they could find, and they get a fascination with the victims. Once they get a name they call out and harangue family members, friends, teachers to get a quote about a dead eight-year old girl. It’s vile. Look at this:
That’s just one of hundreds, if not thousands, of tweets in the same vain that are trying to get an exclusive out of a mourning friend. I don’t blame CNNJustin personally, I blame the culture that has deemed this necessary. Justin (or whoever) is just a man (or woman), sat at his (or her) desk in New York, or Washington, London or Atlanta, doing his (or her) job. The state of the news media requires that his boss gives him an assignment to dig up as much as he can on the victims. Why? For profit, of course. The news is not a public service, it’s a business. It’s AdSense and it’s revenue and it’s exploitation and of grief. And it makes me sick.
For further reading on this vulgar, barbaric, parasitic media scumbaggery, this is a good thread:
As well as that, fuck the people posting fake tweets and hate speech.
There was, however, some positive social media reaction. A video of an interview with a homeless Mancunian (named Steve) went viral this afternoon. Immediately after the attack, Steve ran to help treat the wounded. He picked nails out of flesh, and stopped possibly fatal loss of blood by elevating a girl’s legs. He said he just did what anyone would have done in that situation, and what he hoped anyone would have done for him.
Steve’s actions were admirable, but they were human. Because they were human. He’s since had a GoFundMe page set up by the public, and over £10,000 has been raised to help him get off the streets. Of course, in the moment he didn’t think about that. He didn’t have any other motive than his natural human instincts.
Well, the instincts of any decent human – like the rest of the helpers, the volunteers, the emergency services, the hotels offering free stays, the taxi drivers offering free transport. Not everyone reacted abhorrently, in fact it was largely weighted the other way. But some people like to take these tragedies and politicise, glorify and exploit them.
And that’s sub-human.
And, although it does not need to be said, so is the person responsible for this.
Until tomorrow, all my love to the victims, their families, and the people of Manchester.