The Shame of the Drone Era

Here at Tewspaper I’m committed to covering a range of topics in and relating to the news.

Personally I think one of the biggest news topics of our time should be the use of drones by the American military.

There has been a surprisingly limited amount of discussion on this topic, which, given our history of vocal opposition to human rights abuses in other countries, is startling to say the least.

The first modern drone strike was launched by the US against a small region in Afghanistan in 2002. The CIA purportedly believed they were attacking Osama bin Laden, but of course, the ‘tall robed man’ they had in their sights was not the terrorist leader. But the floodgates had been opened – the first sanctioned killstrike by an unmanned aerial vehicle.

Thus began our descent into madness.

The most troubling aspect of this whole process has been the assumption of guilt always indicated by the government.

After that strike, Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clark said, “We’re convinced that it was an appropriate target.” But she added, “We do not know yet exactly who it was.” Gen. Tommy Franks told ABC News that he expected the identities of the three to prove “interesting.”

[from a report by The Nation]

What does that even mean?

As far as I can see, it means that the official policy is shoot first – from a long distance – and ask questions later.

This is an incredibly flawed way to operate a war, both increasing the moral culpability of our military and the likelihood of widespread, justified retaliation from the people we are fighting.

The use of drones removes the humanity from the situation. This is not a new claim – psychologists, veterans and even the military recognize this.

It removes the empathy that might stop you killing another person, children, innocents – and makes everyone a ‘legitimate’ target in a war with no clear direction and no clear outcome.

It’s an outrage and I think it’s high time the media started to hold the Pentagon, CIA and military heads responsible for what is essentially a transgression of basic human rights.

The Role of the Media in Mass Shootings

Every couple of years there are a spate of school shootings that break out across the country. I’m sad to say that 2014 has been one of those years, with several shootings so far.

It’s become a horrible pattern that the media has to own its culpability in.

You see, one shooting is a tragedy. But so often, what motivates these young people who open fire on their teachers, fellow students and families is not some disproportionate response to teen angst. The driving factor is a desire for recognition.

And the media gives it to them.

Every time someone follows this despicable path, the media circus goes into overdrive. There is blanket coverage in every part of the country, guaranteeing that these previous nobodies become household names.

The result?

That multiple “copycat” killers pop up and wreak their own havoc in pursuit of fame and recognition.

So many more people die or have their lives ruined because the members of the media don’t have the foresight or self-restraint to suppress the names of the previous perpetrators.

In my estimation, this is criminal irresponsibility. Every time a shooting happens, psychologists, criminal profilers and often even the police come out in droves to request that the name of the shooter not be used in media reports, in order to prevent the deadly repetition bound to happen in a few days’ time.

And only once in recent history has that request been honoured by anyone in the media.

The recent Moncton shooting in Canada was met with outrage – and while some outlets reported the shooter’s name, Sun News decided not to run his name or image anywhere in their reporting.

I applaud them for their responsible and respectful approach to an issue that needs much more careful attention from this industry.