Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Read all about it? Or not.

This might sound strange coming from a news reporter, but I don't like to read the news.

My life is already so stressful, that whenever I hear or read about something horrifically tragic, I get way too emotionally involved. I just can't handle it.

There are too many murders. Too many freak accidents. Too many victims.

Whenever I learn about a horrible incident, I obsess over it. The story doesn't leave my mind, and I wallow in it for the rest of the day.

For example, about one month ago, I happened upon a story about a mentally disabled janitor who was the helpless victim of mistaken identity. His name was Otto.

Police had been notified that a man matching Otto's description had stolen money from an ATM at a convenience store.

Enter poor Otto. Apparently his usual routine had been to always buy a soda and Snickers bar from that store, after work. Unfortunately, he happened to be doing that when someone stole money from the ATM machine. The police arrived at the store, saw Otto, and without any warning, they struck him seven times in eight seconds with a baton and stun-gunned him to the ground.

The officers hogtied Otto, put a rubber mask over his mouth, and sat on him. Otto literally had no idea what was going on, while he was being brutally tortured. When officers taunted him, he breathlessly insisted he hadn't done anything wrong. He eventually lost consciousness.

The police later determined that he had not committed any crime.

He died the next day from his injuries.

Otto's last words had been "All I wanted was a Snickers bar."

A few weeks ago, the main officer at the scene was sentenced to only four years in prison for the wrongful torture and murder of Otto. Figure that one out.

I had the misfortune of reading this article before bed. It haunted me.

I felt sick to my stomach, thinking about poor Otto. I couldn't sleep. I tossed and I turned, my hate for those police officers and my fury at the world in general growing with every hour.

At 3 a.m. that night, Rian was astonished to turn on the light to see me curled up in my rocking chair across the room, sobbing.

"All he wanted was a Snickers bar," I wailed.


So, I stay away from the news.

Fortunately, as a reporter, I cover local government. I'll write a 20-inch article on rezoning ordinances over a brutal murder any day.

I think what freaks me out the most is that it seems like there is more bad news these days than good. Did we always have so many mass shootings? This many domestic violence killings? Police brutality?

Or maybe our ability to access every news story in the world only makes us feel that way. The internet has made the world seem much smaller. And more dangerous.

I'm not sure what's worse: being bombarded with every tragedy in the world or living in blissful ignorance.


So, am I the only one relieved that the big news story this week is Kate's pregnancy?


Sherin said...

Otto's story really put a tear in my eye! Such a sad story.
I agree: there is so much more bad news than good news. I swear it always wasn't like this, or maybe it's because we have 24 hour news channels that they need to fill the time with all the details of a story which gets to us even more.

Matea Saric said...

I completely agree with you, I can't handle the news anymore because I feel like there are no happy stories anymore, everything is sick and brutal and after reading it or seeing it I feel like never wanting to leave the house anymore.

So yes, hurray for Kate and William, at least one happy thing :D

Jillian said...

I'm exactly the same way. I tend to watch the news in the morning before work, so I can't really escape stories like this. There are way too many times when I'll hear a story like this and my stomach twists and turns in anger, confusion and sadness.

I read this book called The Corpse Had a Familiar Face. It's a fascinating read about a Miami-based crime journalist (nonfiction). Needless to say, there are a lot of disturbing stories in there that left me feeling...torn after I read it. On one hand, it was one of the most interesting books I've ever read. On the other, it left me feeling sad and disappointed with people.

This post kind of reminded me of that.

Yetti said...

Oh no, you aren't the only one darling. It happens to me too, but I try to be aware of what's happening around me, simply because as a 20-something-year-old grown up, I'm supposed to do so. Anything to do with children, distresses me... and so on.

I would say you'll get used to it, but with your kind-hearted nature, I know it'll be a lie lol. Maybe I should take your approach... or maybe only retrieve such news via twitter and word-of-mouth, maybe it'll soften the blow.

And considering that I am british YES I love that Kate is preggos!

Take care doll!

Bunny Moreno said...

I stay away from it too-its too depressing. My grandma used to watch the news in both english and spanish and spanish news tv is way worse bc they show the dead people and blood and ugh! So depressing. So now I try to be inform w/o letting it destroy my day. xox

Bunny Moreno said...

PS Congrats on reaching 900!!!! xox

Shannon said...

I feel like I could have written this (much less eloquently of course).

And now I'm off to obsess over Otto.

(And omg - could Kate be having TWINS!?)

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Yikes, what a sad, sad story. I similarly get depressed by the news (the latest here is about ethnic pricing for bus drivers and the horrid living conditions of Chinese ones, who get paid the least).
But yes that may be a reason why people are interested in silly things like someone else's baby. Or people are bored. We gotta stalk chic maternity wear and write articles about royal nurseries right?

Chic 'n Cheap Living

Chloe Moon said...

Poor Otto...R.I.P...I can't watch the news because of stories like this...and casey anthony stories and murders on this block or that town...hearing that homeless man who got shoes isn't actually homeless but still claims he isn't. I can' breaks my heart...

Sometimes I get mad that the Kardashians in the news or that Kate Middleton is having baby but other times I am happy Kim did something stupid and that there will be a lil bundle of joy for the royals...Some times you need the happy... =)

Ergo - Blog

Kate said...

That's why I read the fluff stories! I didn't have a problem with the news until I had my son then suddenly everything just seemed more real. So I read humor and satire articles and celebrity gossip to keep my sanity. You do whatcho gotta do! And yes, I do think the instant news from around the globe makes the world seem much worse. Think about the typhoon in the Philippines, 100 years ago we would never have known about it and now we get accurate to the minute death counts and high res photos of the destruction in a second.

Tights Lover said...

That is such a horrible story. I hate reading shit like this! I don't blame you for being upset, I think I am too now!

As much as you're relieved to not have to cover stuff like this, I'm sure you hear news stories like this and visualize in your head writing about it (or am I the only one who does weird stuff like that?). I'm sure this blogging can be therapeutic for you in that way :).

Wil Harris said...

I should not have read this, now I'm sad! :(

On a happier note, my sisters and I are super excited for the Royal baby!!


The thing is, no one is interested in happy and good news. It works the same way with celebrities. We get more drawn to stories of scandal, and drama, and stories of people failing than we do about the great things going on in the world. I do think the world is becoming more and more dangerous (result of materialism perhaps? ), but I think a number of great things are overshadowed by news of terror because, well, that's what sells!

I also think the news is highly skewed and bias. For starters, I don't read or watch anything from Fox "News"... I'm appalled by the lack of coverage on the atrocious crimes being committed in Gaza. One American dies, and it's all over the news, and the entire world must mourn. Thousands of innocent people are dying in Gaza on a daily basis, and we turn a blind eye, because it's not happening in America (the center of the universe), and well, it makes the Israeli's look pretty bad (the people who control the entire American media).

So yes, news sucks.

Josie said...

Jen, I'm totally with you. It's so scary and depressing... I watch the news occasionally but a lot of the time, I just can't quite deal.
xo Josie


Oh my goodness, tragic! What a sad story. I actually don't usually watch news on television, I read my news online. Although, there are terrible things happening in the world when I want to know the latest I prefer to read it online ... I feel a bit less stressed when I leave out the late night local news of horrific tales.

A BRIT GREEK said...

Eek, the news, I have a love hate thing with the news... I do hate the horrible tragedies and scary news... so I could do with the blissful ignorance.

Ah Kate, she's still at the hospital round the corner from where I am, it's nuts how the press are camped out there all day... I hope she uses the back entrance on leaving.

sherene said...

Life is like that, so unfair.
When my Father in Law was killed, our world crashed and it was so horrible we fear for our lives.
I cannot imagine how scared Otto was.:(

The Grande Dame said...

That really is a sad story...such a waste of a life.
On a slightly happier note... I just fell in love with that first kitten picture. I WANT IT.

Ms. Dainty Doll said...

The police are horrible, they sometimes do ore harm than help. It's such a shame this poor man died for no good reason. Why they felt the need to use so much force on a man who wasn't even resisting arrest when he had good reason to, is beyond me. I can't read these things any more either, I get pissed off or sad. We need more happy news :) Congrats on reaching 900 :))

Maddie said...

Another great post from you! I really enjoed it!

ravenlocks said...

Ah yes....the corporately owned biased news. I really hate watching the it...that's why I don't :) Ever wonder why they only show you the negative "news"? A frightened population is easier to control. If we're constantly bombarded with images of sex, drugs, violence, etc...we either become frightened or apathetic. Over time, your standards are lowered and your morals are skewed. You get "used to" the violence.

When I was in elementary school, I used to come home and watch cartoons daily. One day, I must have forgotten (either that or I came home later than usual). But I remember tuning in the following day and having the station interrupt Looney Tunes to say that they apologized for airing a man's suicide LIVE on TV. This was during the time Looney Tunes came on. WTF??? Thank God I missed it the day before. I never saw it but hearing them having to apologize about the graphic video they aired scarred me for life.

That video is now on youtube...along with other suicides caught on film.

Don't worry Jenny. Otto is in a much better place. Poor guy.



ravenlocks said...

I meant, "I really hate watching it." LOL!

PS. I'm surprised they published that article on police brutality. How much do you want to bet that it wasn't aired on TV? News articles are a little bit less censored than the boob tube. They usually don't like to talk about police brutality. At least not here.

Anonymous said...

Uh oh, and now there's a bad news story attached to Kates! Something about one of her nurses and a prank call!!! I agree and feel the same way however. I obsess too and then worry that other people are desensitised and don't care enough!

Jane Barry said...

Apologies but 'Anonymous' was me! I chose that by accident out of sleepiness : )

Mouthwash said...

Poor Otto! And only 4 years for his death?! Really? And since when do police use that much brutality over a robbery? Damn!
I don;t like police very much. It's not because I'm some Rage Against the Machine/Occupy fanatic, I just really don't like them. I think they think pretty highly of themselves. Just like the officer who shot and killed a young kid in Oakland a couple years ago: he was face down with his hands handcuffed behind his back, and the officer shot him - in his back - and killed him. The only reason the officer got any time in jail at all, was because people filmed it happening with their phones. The answer? BART wanted to cut cell service.
The officer was in jail for less than 2 years.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is scoot over. Lets share that rocking chair.