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News Helicopter Tragedy 2

As you have already probably heard, two news helicopters that were covering a car chase collided in mid-air, killing all 4 people on board. This is very sad tragedy and is disturbing that the crash happened while on live TV (Warning – graphic). At the moment the two helicopters collided, photojournalist Craig Smith can be heard saying “Oh Jeez” while the sound of metal colliding can be heard in the background. The video momentarily shows the chopper spinning with debris everywhere, then you can hear their indistinct voices yelling something like “what the, what the” before the video is cut off.

Before I proceed, my sincere condolences go out to the families and friends of the victims of the tragedy.

Anytime I write about current events, I try to find a deeper lesson for myself, rather than simply reporting an event or a tragedy. The purpose of this website is to release many of my internal thoughts so I can look back some day and remember what was going on in my mind at a previous point in time. Alas, I proceed:

In this tragedy I wonder why there were 3 helicopters covering a stolen car pursuit? (Two helicopters that crashed and one helicopter that witnessed the crash). Is this really what viewers really want to see? Isn’t there more important crisis’s going on in the world that we should put our attention towards? I have an ever-growing resentment towards the Toronto Sun for its tabloid-like exploitation of news. Every day the front page of the Sun has a huge headline “Baby dies from 14 story fall”. But who am I to talk? Am I any better than the media for writing about this tragedy?

The lesson I’ve learned from this tragedy is that maybe people shouldn’t be so enthralled by cheap thrills such as watching a police chase. If you’ve read John Irving’s “The Fourth Hand“, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. In the Fourth Hand, mediocre journalist Patrick Wallingford becomes famous when his left hand is eaten by a lion. He goes on to try to find his soul throughout the book. Cheap thrills are always in our face, and it takes a little more self discipline to avoid becoming mesmerized over such trivial matters. Everyone has their own need for entertainment, but I think people need to look beyond shows like “Cops”.

Speaking of cops, the Police Chief has said that he is planning to charge the kid who stole the car with 4 counts of manslaughter for causing the deaths of the helicopter crash victims. To me this is beyond ludicrous and just goes to show how people in positions of authority are more about finger-pointing than they are at finding the root cause of problems in society.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04454437680686627778 Jim

    Update: Apparently they have pagers in the US that you can buy and you will get paged when there is a car chase on TV.

    It was pretty shocking to me that people love car chases so much that they would actually purchase a pager to be notified.

    “For years the car chase capital of the world, Los Angeles is addicted to its televised pursuits. Guaranteed rating winners for news channels, they form the lifeblood of the competing helicopter camera crews dedicated to tracking them from the sky.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?view=BLOGDETAIL&grid=P30&blog=losangeles&xml=/news/2006/02/06/bllosangeles06.xml

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04454437680686627778 Jim

    Here’s where you can subscribe to get the alerts:

    http://www.pursuitalert.net

    What a ridiculous concept.