Yes, in the centre of Melbourne, Friday, a mentally deranged person drove a car in an unimaginable bizarre way, and then went straight down the pedestrian mall and the extension of the street, deliberately mowing down pedestrians. To date, four, including an infant, are deceased and 27 others are in hospital. Uncountable were treated and are at home, traumatised for, who knows how long. These include the people who assisted the injured before first response teams were able to get to the scene.
So, why did this happen, and could it have been avoided? Who is really to blame?
The perpetrator was known to police and had had family issues even that morning, in which he injured his mother's boy friend and later stabbed his brother in the street. His mental issues were also known. So, where did he get the idea to mow down pedestrians with a stolen motor vehicle?
Last year, in multiple news bulletins, we were repeatedly shown the events from Nice. There were graphic explanations as to how the crime was committed and pictures to illustrate the crime and the result. The perpetrator was repeatedly talked about and, once his identity was known, his photo was also on the screen. My question is: Was all that detail really so important for us all to be informed off?
Any person watching that, and subsequent similar events, who has criminal intent, or who has any mental issues, (as Friday's perpetrator seems to have), was given all the details of how to commit such a crime and shown the notoriety that would then follow their name. People who are for one reason or another, so affected, had all of it spelled out repeatedly, until they fully understood every part of it. And Friday we saw the result.
The people in the crowded mall, as well as numerous shop owners and employees, who were traumatised by the event, will have the trauma to deal with for a long time, maybe the rest of their lives. They have been robbed off their freedom to live a save life, as have many of their family members who now have to live with that trauma too. And on top of that, count the medical cost of treating the injured and all the affected people. Is Press Freedom worth that much?
Why do we live in a country where these horrific criminal acts are able to be taught as NEWS to those who are watching and have criminal intent, or to those who suffer from a mind that does not work in peace? And the rest of us, are we richer for the fact that we have seen all those images? Would our lives be poorer if we had just had a verbal mention of the incident, the number killed and / or injured and whether the perpetrator was known or not? The temptation to copy the event would not be given so easily to those who, for one reason or another, would be excited to repeat the crime and achieve the accompanying notoriety.
Is it time for us to take action, or should we just sit by and pay the cost while so many suffer?