Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Capitalizing on Tragedy

Capitalizing on Tragedy
The use of tragedy for not-so subtle socio-political agendas

Well another tragedy has occurred and its unfortunately time for the capitalizing of it for not-so subtle socio-political agendas. Time for the loonies and hatemongers to mount their specially-prepared soapboxes and let fly with whatever harebrained agenda of theirs that they can loosely tie this tragedy to.

From racism, gun control, 2nd Amendment, bias media coverage to conspiracy theories, various media spokespeople, politicians, and bloggers will find a way to use and manipulate this recent tragedy to fit into their agendas.

At least since 911, I have seen in a variety of media outlets and on the Internet similar efforts to use such tragedies to fuel barely connected situations and barely logical arguments.

Debate is one thing but these type of people seem less interest in debate and more interested in promoting their socio-political views using the current tragedy of the day as their platform.

This situation is of course nothing new going back centuries, millenia even. However, Internet media with blogs and video blogs helps to compound the capitalizing of tragedies more so than in the past.

On a number of sites, I have seen people commenting (some of them rudely) on why the Virginia Tech tragedy gets so much media coverage while people are dying in Iraq. These comments have come from ultra-liberals, pro-war supporters, and anti-Americans from my observation. Despite the different backgrounds they have the same thing in common: a lack of tact and common sense.

I have seen similar comments in the wake of other violent tragedies such 911, the London subway bombings, the Bali bombings, and the Madrid train bombings.

These kind of comments are not new nor are they terribly thought-provoking. Not for a moment did I then nor do I now believe that the purpose behind such statements were honest or sincere. They are just surprise attacks while people are reeling from an unexpected tragedy.

Different tragedy yet similar comments by some tactless person pretending to care when they really don’t. It’s when the TV show American Idol gets more news coverage than Iraq War violence that one should make such comments.

Other forms of capitalizing I’ve seen so far with the Virginia Tech tragedy are fanatics trying to tie this event in with the war in Iraq, immigration policies, gun control, religion, and terrorism.

Gun control, however, is less capitalizing in that given the nature of the tragedy, it’s only natural to debate over the readily availability of guns. There is a connection unlike the Iraq War, immigration, religion, or terrorism. But what is capitalizing is blaming guns for the tragedy as though they were the sole source of a much bigger issue – or the reverse: creating strawman arguments that there is a big movement out to ban all guns.

Racism has to be the worst thing coming from fringe groups and disturbed individuals who are using the Virgina Tech tragedy to spread their hatred whether against Asians or towards white Americans. The popular WebTV site, Youtube, has seen a small number of videos either praising the shooter or condemning all Asians.

The anonymity that the Internet gives users allows certain people to be more tactless than they would be in person. Thus message boards are targeted with hateful racist comments or displays of sick humor.

It is unforunate that such tragedies often brings out these types of opportunistic people who care less for the victims and more for their agendas. And we will more than likely see it again whenever the next tragedy occurs.

April 20, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, gun control, life, media, opinion, racism, tragedy, virginia tech


  1. […] Is it just me or does anyone else think that NBC were wrong to publish the sick portfolio that was sent to them by the Virginia Tech killer in the midst of his killing spree?

    The images and rambling monologue suffused with paranoia have created a chilling lasting portrait of the killer Cho Seung-Hui, that will stain the memory of all who witnessed it for a very long time.

    Does the world need to be haunted by the spectre of this mentally ill individual preparing to kill? Or should we have been protected and not subjected to this?

    Some may argue that we have a choice whether to view the material but actually… we don’t![…]

    For more see VT Killings: Has NBC and the media gone too far this time?

    Comment by tio catire | April 20, 2007 | Reply

  2. I can understand NBC’s dilema over showing it or not. I think they should waited longer and only shown excerpts heavily laden with commentary, analysis, and follow-up summary. By just airing it even piecemeal and so soon, they gave him what he wanted.

    As it turns out the video doesn’t really tell us anything new or ground-breaking: just the ramblings of a delusional young man.

    Comment by samuraidave | April 20, 2007 | Reply

  3. Nice blog!

    Comment by Livette | April 22, 2007 | Reply

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