It has been a terrible week for the nation of Ireland. The entire country has been grief stricken by the awful accident that took the lives of 6 young people in Berkeley, California. I first heard of the accident when I was driving to work the morning that it happened. There was a news flash which announced that 5 young people died after a apartment balcony collapsed at an apartment in Berkeley, California. It’s believed all of the students are from Ireland (said with an infliction) and they had been celebrating a 21st birthday party at the time. It’s unclear at this moment whether or not they are students at the local University. Nothing too bad in that, right? I thought it was better that they didn’t lead with the fact that they were Irish because it’s irrelevant to the tragic circumstances.
Unfortunately, the press did not remain that respectful. The New York Times posted an editorial article, in which, the opening few paragraphs called out the fact that the young people involved were students from Ireland who were in America on a J1 Visa. Which is a Visa that college students use to come to America between college years. Some attempt to work for the summer, others just go to enjoy themselves. The article highlighted an incident which happened last year. A group of young men on a J1 trip to San Francisco rented an apartment in a very nice area and got it at a decent price for that area out of kindness from the landlord. A few days before their lease ended, they just left. They left the apartment completely destroyed in their wake. Thousands upon Thousand of dollars of damage. There was uproar in local SFO media and in the Irish media.
This obviously was in very poor taste. Why open an article about young people who died in a terrible tragedy just a day earlier and lead with a negative depiction of the character of those who come to America on a J1? Why? Is it because they are Irish and it’s a prejudicial thing?
No, it’s not. Was it insensitive? Certainly. Was this a once off flub on the editors part? Absolutely not. What the Irish people don’t understand is how callous the media and many people in this country area. The Westboro Baptist Church claimed it was due to Ireland legalizing gay marriage…but that’s expected because they die without attention. But seeing the Fox news coverage was pretty terrible..for better or worse, that’s a mainstream media outlet. And the comments were fucking disgusting online from the far right people. Everything from agreeing with the Westboro baptists church sentiment about God taking vengeance to blaming Mexican laborers!!
Even the USA Today websites comments bordered on the depraved. I know we should all view these as trolls but they didn’t seem to be trolling to me. They seemed steadfast in their convictions. They also were using their social media accounts, not just some nameless and faceless trolling account.
How could people in the country that this happened in be so cold? I know, it’s not everybody, so sorry for generalizing BUT I believe it’s because it’s ingrained in the culture here. People have been dealing with such abhorent violence and tragedy for so long that they are desensitized by it. They look at stories of mass shootings, plane crashes, accidents for a different angle which does capture their imagination and attention. To me that’s so disturbing and is part of the reason I really want to leave this country.
9 people were shot and killed at a Church in Charleston. It will be forgotten in a few days. Certain people and media outlets are already beginning to downplay the core of the story, instead deflecting attention away from the how and the why to simply looking at his character. This will be blamed on mental illness and then nothing will be done because the same people that claim that are the same people who don’t want to fund any form of affordable health care which these people would need.
The violence will continue….it’s by design