Mocking a man with sexual dysfunction

Reporter David Knowles of NY Daily News wrote this lovely article.

I would like to draw your attention to the first line:

“He may not have been able to get an erection, but that didn’t stop a 70-year-old Florida man from standing his ground.”

Mr Knowles, I’d love to hear you explain how erectile dysfunction in any way relates to one’s ability to…well, to do anything, apart from the thing that an erection is typically used for. I’m sure it’s hard enough to live with this affliction, without the added burden of knowing that society was mocking and emasculating one for it.

A man’s life, in 10 judgemental words

I was looking for videos of deaths on escalators (don’t ask, I’m a very strange person!) and I came across this news report by Heather Graf of King 5 news of Seattle. Note: the video does show a man dying, but it is blurry and not graphic.

The thing that struck me about the reporting was the final words of the narration in which Ms Graf said that the victim died “with a half empty bottle of brandy in his pocket”. Why did she feel the need to mention that specific piece of information? It implies that the victim was an alcoholic.

Does this information help the viewer in any way? If the influence of alcohol is what caused him to fall, then that would be useful information as it would remind people of the dangers of using an escalator while drunk. She doesn’t say that though. From her report, we don’t know if his implied  alcoholism is a factor. I can only jump to the wild conclusion that Ms Graf trying to make viewers feel better about the tragedy by saying that even though there was a horrible accident, it happened to a drunk bum so there is no need to get too upset.

If you really must summarise a person’s whole life in one sentence, try not to make it a value judgement.

82-year-old Australian entertainers living in Berkshire, London

I’ve seen several media reports lately of a recent arrest on suspicion of sexual offenses.

Let’s not jump to conclusions, it could be any 82-year-old Australian entertainer living in Berkshire, London.

It’s all a bit farcical really. It also raises several of questions for me:

  1. If the media aren’t allowed to name this person “for legal reasons”, why are they allowed to release so much information that it narrows down to just one person? Eventually a line is crossed where the person is identifiable, which defeats the purpose of the law.
  2. What if there are multiple 82-year-old Australian entertainers from Berkshire, and the wrong one gets vilified because everyone assumes the category is so specific that it could only be referring to a single person?
  3. What if the person is completely innocent? Named or not, there is now an 82-year-old Australian entertainer who has been permanently tarred with a tainted brush, even if he is innocent (as he must be presumed to be until found otherwise in a court of law). If he is guilty, let him be tarred with the brush after it is proven, not before. If an accused is believed to be at serious risk of committing further crimes…well that is what the bail system is for.

One of the issues with the type of crime in question is the extreme social hysteria towards it. For example, this article talks about at least one innnocent man who committed suicide on the mere accusation of looking at child pornography (when in fact he was innocent). Others have lost their jobs and/or wives. And the same thing could happen to any one of you innocent readers out there. Society needs to take a chill pill; we can still catch the monsters that ought to be punished, but we have to be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
With the right approach we may even prevent some of the abuse from happening in the first place.