Saturday, March 22, 2008
Why we ran a disturbing picture
A tragic event struck our community Wednesday. An estranged husband shot his wife then pointed the gun at himself, leaving them both dead and their children without parents. The Gazette ran this photo above shot by Gazette photographer Kevin Kreck with the story. Some readers were upset and responded on our website. One reader said "showing a picture of the bodies was tacky. Real tacky." Another wrote: "The Media in CS (Colorado Springs) disgusts me!" I understand why they were upset. They should be and that's why I feel we made the right decision to run the picture. Kevin's photo showed the tragedy of the event and made readers stop and think about it. Kevin told me today that he waited until the police blocked the view of the husband's head. He didn't want to show the man's disfigured face. It wasn't necessary. But showing the bodies told the reality of the violence. If one woman sees this photo and is inspired to get out of her own bad domestic situation or if this photo encourages people in our community to seek a better way to protect people in similar positions, running the photo was worth it. Maybe our society wouldn't be so numb to events like this if we didn't filter the news as much as we do. Don't get me wrong. Newspapers shouldn't run disturbing photos without a very good reason. But this was a very good reason. Kevin's picture still haunts me and it should because we should all be haunted by this story.
I think some readers were haunted too by their comments on our website. One reader wrote: "I think these pictures are horrific and graphic, but they show the frailty of life, and really makes us think about our own. Perhaps one could even go so far as it COULD be helpful to some abused women reading this, thinking about taking the restraining order off their abusive spouse/boyfriend. Seeing such a graphic picture may get them thinking they don't want to be the next one face-down in the grass."
Another reader wrote: "We live in a retched violent society and if we've any hope of raising the public's desire to force change we must first expose that very society to the truth." I couldn't agree more.