Going in when you should be heading out

Oftentimes I don’t understand why people do the things they do: rushing into a burning building to save people, battling in war to defend your country. Why don’t I understand? Because they are incredibly risky careers and I don’t know that I would have the balls to do so.

Don’t get me wrong, I have tons of respect for the men and women in uniform, whether they are working here in Manitoba or somewhere else in the world. But a story in the news has focused on the dangers of journalism after an American was purportedly beheaded on video thanks to U.S. involvement in the Middle East.

Let me start out by saying I am not blaming the victim, Jim Foley. He was doing his job as a journalist. I hear that, I respect it, but once more, I don’t understand it. I will also admit that I don’t fully understand the current drama overseas because, quite frankly, I’m more concerned about the crap happening in our own backyards here in Canada.

When there is crisis in war zones and security experts tell untrained military folks to get the heck out of there, journalists often do the opposite and set up shop to capture the story for people back here at home.

This beheading and the threat of more deaths of “innocents” in the Middle East once again raises the question – a question asked by the thousands on some of the news websites featuring this story – is, “Why don’t they get the heck out of there?”

I can appreciate the fact that Foley’s parents consider him a hero but is that heroism overshadowed by the public video of your son having his head cut off? Where is the dignity in that? Knowing the dangers – and Foley had previously been captured – why go through it for the sake of telling the story when, arguably, the majority of the American population doesn’t care in the first place?

As a journalist you aren’t fighting for our freedom, you aren’t bringing any value to our country like you would if you were a member of the military. The story can be told from a distance – a safe distance.

So again, not to blame the victim here, but many of the 6,769 comments on the news article I just read are questioning (some calling it reckless) that a writer would risk his or her life just to cover a story despite governments telling citizens to steer clear of Middle East war zones.

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