Now's the time that the media can't find enough psychologists, grief counselors, sociologists, etc. Assuming you have the credential, how do you put yourself out there without feeling a little ghoulish?
It's a bit off-putting to think that someone would use a tragedy as an occasion for self-promotion, but it doesn't surprise me given the rampant uber-entrepreneurial North American culture. There are "helping professionals" out there who will do anything to get themselves and their services into the spotlight. But there are also some qualified therapists who make themselves available to media during a tragedy because they truly feel they can be helpful to the public. Whenever I hear a media interview with a therapist, I evaluate the person's intent by my gut intuition....I can usually gauge whether the person is coming from ego or from a genuine desire to serve. It's little things...like tone of voice, turn of phrase, body language (if on TV), that give away the motives...hard to put into words, but it's something I recognize when I see it.
I agree with Sharon, as far as listening to the professional speaking to the media...the ambulance chasers have a very specific quality to their body language and tone of voice. As far as personal responsibility; if considering putting yourself forward into a tragic situation...I think deep introspection is warranted..... Ask yourself, "Can I be of service here and if so in what way can I serve ?." Most often the service that is needed is out of the spotlight of the media.
Ambulance chaser is a good word, Jill. But, here's my spin: When a tragedy occurs, it is paramount to see the underlying message it is sending, and many times society has ignored the warning signs. Many professionals who try to sound an alarm have been "stereotyped", for lack of a better word, as doomsayers, profiteers, or even ambulance chasers. Emotions run so high when tragic situations occur, that no matter who is delivering the message, we tend to "shoot the messenger." Profiting off tragedy is definitely unacceptable, but exposing an issue that no one wanted to address before the event, is another. Sadly, many professionals see tragedies coming, and once they occur, they are simply speaking out with an "I told you so", which, of course can be taken the wrong way. But, that said, tragedies are fertile ground for some serious changes, and those "messengers" may seem like ambulance chasers, when actually, many are simply ringing the warning bell.
None love the messenger who brings bad news - but, we must never shoot the messenger. Just listen to their message and grab whatever positive that you can. That's recovery.
Saw a conversation this morning. Janet is right.
We place so much emphasis on the tragedy, the victims, and the "monster" we tend to overlook prevention in the future. All the interviewers wanted to talk about was stricter gun laws, and the message was, we have good gun laws, but we have few laws when it comes to getting people help when they have mental illness.
People who see the warning signs are powerless to get the help they need to prevent tragedy , parents, teachers and therapists. That aside...
When ever something bullying comes up, I'm on it, not because I'm a ghoul, but because I have strong feelings about the topic and want to be heard.
Anti-bullying programs are my passion and the direction I'm taking career wise, if I write about it and or someone wants to interview or write about my book or program because it's timely, great! It helps send my message. Can I use my expertise to get my message out by perusing attention following a tragedy? sure! Because that's the only time people will really listen.
Sangay, I agree with you about the bullying issue--that it has not yet reached the critical mass of concern needed to enact some powerful anti-bullying politicies/strategies. But I also think that reducing access to guns is also a preventive. In my view, the US does need tougher gun laws. The solution to curbing violence has to lie in a combination of external and internal factors, and most of all, structural factors.
I think people are really struggling with the Aurora shootings in terms of "why" is because the killer does not appear to fit the usual categories and he's not talking. We're at a loss to know what made this young man, a promising scholar, become a lethal mass murderer. None of the usual explanations appear to work--he was known as shy but was not a loner, he had friends, he was accomplished as a scholar, he seemed to have a future. Then suddenly he starts leaving weird messages at a gun club, and wants to join a gun club. There is a huge gap here--between the unprepossessing neuroscience scholar and the gunman who planned and executed a deadly rampage. So in my view, the experts are not really helping, because they just don't know what to say or to suggest at this point.
Bullying has reached critical mass here in NJ. We have the strictest laws in the country but no one understands how to comply to them.
Sure it's preventive in some crimes, but there's something wrong with the clockworks of someone who wants/needs to kill (or die) on this level and it's not that difficult for the same person to find supplies or a new means to fulfill the need.
The parents of the Aurora shooter said he was struggling with mental illness. There's no huge gap huge between a neuroscience scholar and the gunman, the signs are always there. Just like my daughter's bout with PTSD, it was so obvious after the fact that she was breaking. We as a society need to stop avoiding mental illness and start viewing it as something we all will encounter many times in our lifetime so let's learn to deal with it without sweeping it under the carpet.
The same can be said for the ambulance chasers on the anti-gun side (which I support to a point). Their experts are using this opportunity to scare us all into lobbying for their cause, which is drawing the attention away from the important issue of identifying people on the verge of collapse and getting them help before they cause serious harm to themselves and others.
I agree with most of what you're saying, Sangay. We do indeed need a society that stops avoiding mental illness and puts resources into combatting it. Has it been definitively established that the Aurora shooter is mentally ill? I know that's one of the explanations being circulated but other journalists are saying that nothing has been confirmed yet.
Nevertheless, even though mental illness can be a major contributing factor to these kinds of acts of senseless violence, I still think that there needs to be more gun control. A gun-based society will just keep becoming more violent. Guns do not belong in family households, unless one is a hunter or lives in a rural isolated area. In Canada, there is significantly less gun violence than in the US because we have stronger gun control. Unfortunately the conservative Canadian government is loosening those rules, which is garnering a lot of opposition. It's no coincidence that since the more gun-friendly government came into office in Canada, we're seeing an uptick of gun violence in Canada...just last week we had a mass shooting in Toronto (which police believe to be gang related) and a string of other shootings. Evidence is coming to light that many of the guns were acquired in the US. Canadians don't want to be a gun culture and have never understood the "right to bear arms" stuff in the US constitution in the sense that they don't comprehend why families think they need to have guns in their bedroom drawers or in their purse. Canadians are just biding their time until they can turf out the current conservative Prime Minister. As you can no doubt tell, I am anti-gun. I see no need to put guns so easily into people's hands, especially in light of the rising rates of mental illness which may be a factor in certain people deciding to avail themselves of easy access to guns. Guns belong to the police and to the armed forces, and in other controlled circumstances like legitimate hunts, not in the household or dashboard of any Tom, Dick or Harry who thinks having a loaded gun is cool.
I'm not going to argue gun control because I'm in the middle of the road on the subject. I can't judge someone for wanting one for protection while making late night bank deposits, hunting or preparing for doomsday... all legitimate reasons. Bad people will get them regardless of laws or border crossings.
The issue is using tragedies for promotion. One where I could use a tragic bullying indecent (any one of many) to rally people to my cause, anti-bullying and character building programs in the educational system.
And the other, where people are are using "mass shootings" (and there have been many more beyond Aurora) as an opportunity to scare us all into lobbying for their cause, stricter gun laws,
And then there's this... which again, I totally will get behind even though FOX news is not a favorite source of information.
Go deeper, and then go deeper. It is prescribed drugs + illegal drugs + food chemicals + the dark-side of the Internet that bought those guns and pulled that trigger. There's no simple answer and no quick fix until you get back to the basics of raising kids in a different environment. Guns??? They are fine in the hands of someone not over-medicated, incorrectly-medicated, or chugging pills down with a diet cola.
Oops...this post belongs on the BOOK PROMOTION thread-sorry, was on a mobile unit. Nonetheless, write, write, write, until you pass out on the keyboard-If you have an audience keep them engaged, entertained, and enthusiastic!
My answer is a question: Who is creating the tradegies and for what purpose?
All thought creates form at some level.