There Are Boundaries In Blogging
Several years ago in the midst of the second intifada and the horrors of terrorists engaging in suicide bombing someone put together a YouTube video of the aftermath of the attacks. The first time I watched it I felt pieces of my humanity fade away and my blood began to boil. I stared at chunks of flesh, burnt clothing and these hideous looking carcasses that were once human bodies. I stared at it and remembered watching the video of Daniel Pearl’s murder.
You have to understand that I never intended to watch Daniel, but I did. You have to understand that he and I grew up in the same neighborhood. We went to the same places and the same high school. He was older than I am, but not so old that he was unknown to the older siblings of my friends. I watched that in horror and recognized that it could have been me. I have a BA in Journalism and I could have been kidnapped and murdered.
The bombings in Israel are things that I take very seriously. There is no insouciance or game playing there. I have family and friends all over the country. I have been all over the country. I know people who were murdered in the attacks and have relatives killed in the wars. Sadly I can write similar things about the Holocaust- but this isn’t about any of those things.
I look at those areas and I am sad, but I see murder in the name of religion and politics and that is different than what I am about to introduce. It is different because tonight I saw the video of the father who died at a baseball game. Tonight I saw a father standing next to his son fall over the railing at a Texas Rangers game.
His son was standing next to him when he fell. In some ways this is one of the most horrific things that I have ever seen. I can’t help but put myself in his position and wonder about his poor son and really my heart breaks. He watched his father fall and die.
And I find myself staring at this screen and thinking about what is appropriate to share and what isn’t. I could use the name of the father and I could embed the video but I choose not to. I am not interested in generating traffic from searches for his name. In the years to come I don’t want his children or loved ones to find my blog and ask themselves why they need to relive something so painful here.
I am not sure if I have always been sensitive to this sort of thing. I don’t think that I started to really consider the boundaries of blogging until a couple of years ago, but I am trying to do my best to be good about it. There are some stories that aren’t mine to tell or to share. There are things that are best left unsaid.
The children and I speak frequently about the internet and how it can help and hurt you. The words we post are only safe and secure until we hit publish. It doesn’t matter if you write about copyrights or publish other paragraphs/badges that are supposed to protect you because not everyone honors those. So you have to assume that once you hit publish it is fair game and you can’t control where it will end up.
That is part of why I worry about boundaries. I have already had my work plagiarized and seenÂ people take my words out of context for the sole purpose of trying to discredit me. I accept that this is a part of blogging and understand that there is risk. And it is because of this risk that I wonder aloud about where I need to draw those lines. What is truly mine to share and what is not.
In the quiet of the dark I ask you, what do you think?
TheJackB July 17, 2011 at 10:41 pm
@ExpatDoctorMom Hi Rajka. It was exceptionally painful to think about how awful it must have been for that poor boy to see his father fall. I hope that he is able to recognize now and in the years to come that he bears no responsibility for such a terrible accident.
It is just terrible. As long as it can be discussed in a respectful manner I see a reason to do so, but as you mentioned some people will exploit it. Just terrible.
ExpatDoctorMom July 17, 2011 at 10:56 am
I had heard about this father second hand. The comment amongst all of us parents was the horror of knowing the son saw his father fall to his death and that the father was doing this for his son…. I almost cried as I read this.
So you have shared this in an appropriate manner (that is what I think)so that we can reflect, discuss and grieve for this son and family. It is a shame when situations like these get exploited…
TheJackB July 9, 2011 at 5:48 pm
@bdorman264 I really do question the lines that are drawn or should I wonder where we should lay down the mark.
I am a big believer in free speech and an aggressive/open press but there has to be some kind of guideline to follow. I haven’t quite decided where I think that line should be.
bdorman264 July 9, 2011 at 3:43 am
Interesting, as sometimes it is just too much. With internet instant access, go anywhere capabilities, you can certainly see anything. But at what point is it really not newsworthy? At one time I might have had a morbid curiosity to allow myself to view some horrific, tragic shots, but after a few; no more.
We just need to maintain some decency and common sense which seem to be in short supply at times.
TheJackB July 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm
@subWOW It really has stuck with me, the horror of seeing him die in front of his son. Such a sad tragedy.
subWOW July 8, 2011 at 5:27 am
I can’t even imagine the horror. I totally agree: there are acts that are legal, and there are those that are the right thing to do. The two don’t always equal each other.