Perhaps There’s a Good Reason

I’ve thought a lot about the people who were killed and injured in Arizona, but I haven’t been bothered by the fact that most of the detailed reporting about the condition of the injured has been about Congresswoman Giffords and not about the other victims.  There’s a difference.  Giffords is a public servant — a public figure — in some ways you would expect that more information would be available.  The other people are private citizens.  Their medical condition is private, whether or not there is a demand for more information about them.  This is even true for the public servants injured.  It was only today that Giffords’ family allowed any photos to be released.  No matter how curious or truly sincere in their concern, it’s up to the family to decide what private medical information is released for public consumption.

With that, I bring you our good friend Michael Berry, who has a very different take on privacy, the responsibility of the media, and clearly a hunger for gory details.  Pray for him or think positive thoughts for him (or not):

I asked Chad today, as futher proof of my point that the only person that matters in all of this is the United States Congressman (sic).  We don’t care about other people.  Their lives don’t matter.  I asked Chad to check on the status and he had to look for a very very long time.

I’m disappointed in Chad.  I heard a report both yesterday evening and this morning on this FM radio station we have here in town called KUHF.  It carries NPR.  There’s a television station in Houston that broadcasts the PBS Newshour. Last night and the night before, there were reports both about the hospitalized victims and their families’ concerns about privacy.  In all seriousness, it troubles me that there was in fact very sad information available, particularly about the woman who had taken the little girl to the event.  The poor woman will be tormented by this tragedy for the rest of her life, I fear.

But Chad couldn’t find four reports that took me a couple of seconds to find.  It’s a pity.  Perhaps it would have changed Michael’s mind about what he planned to say on the air:

And MSNBC has an article at the very bottom not really part of the article they have a box with pictures of the people as an afterthought not as the body of the article but we have had constant updates of the congressman (sic) and I hope that she does make a full recovery for the sake of her and her husband and her kids (sic) and her district and our republic I really do but her life is not more valuable than the other thirteen who were injured and yet we’re getting constant updates on her and nothing on anyone else.

Again, this is not true.  But he continues:

So we found an article coming out of Arizona one of the few that actually mention the fact that anyone other than her was shot and in the sixth paragraph after five paragraphs of the congressman (sic) the paragraph reads as follows other than congressman (sic) Giffords five patients we don’t get their names it doesn’t matter other than congressman (sic) Giffords

Perhaps the families were not ready to have their names released?  Perhaps there were relatives they hadn’t gotten in touch with?  Perhaps they didn’t want the publicity?  It’s it up to the families of private citizens to decide if they want their names released to the public at this point?

five patients remain in the hospital well ok what’s their status with three listed in serious condition and two in fair condition following Saturday’s rampage what about their names it doesn’t matter they’re in serious condition did the bullet enter their brain or exit their brain was their skull blown off will they make a full recovery what all have you done for them it doesn’t matter we don’t need to know we’re not going to know because they don’t matter they are not members of congress

Using the royal “we” has always bothered me.

I never thought about needing to know their names in order to care about them.  I remember being relieved when I heard that some of the injured had been released on Sunday.  I didn’t need to know their names or the specific nature of their injuries.

oh but there is reference to one of them one victim gets his name mentioned among the victims still hospitalized is one of Giffords’ staffers oh good Ron Barber he’s a congressional staffer so we get to know his name well did they ask the doctors how he’s doing no his family says that they’re hopeful he’ll make a full recovery that’s the status update we get on him none of the other injured they may all be about to die they may make it who cares it doesn’t matter we don’t need to know if they were shot we don’t even know what happened to them they are not a congressman (sic) this one guy we get to know his name but only because he’s at the right hand of the throne he’s a step and fetch it for the congressman (sic) we get to know his name and we don’t bother to ask the doctors how he’s doing family says that hopefully he’ll make a full recovery we don’t know if he got his arm blown off or not

A this point, I will insert a little article I found while looking for something else:

Three employees at the University Medical Center in Arizona have been fired for accessing the confidential medical records of victims in the shooting rampage.

Hospital officials said Wednesday that three clinical support staff members inappropriately accessed electronic records at the facility where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and other victims of the mass shooting are being treated.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a contracted nurse also was fired by her employer. The families of the patients have been notified.

Hospital spokeswoman Katie Riley wouldn’t say how many patients were affected. Officials say they aren’t aware of any confidential patient information being publicly released.

Wait wut?  People have gotten fired for accessing the private medical information of the victims.  Fired?  But Michael Berry and whoever “we” is want to know that information.  How is that right?

Can’t stop Michael Berry from making his “I’m the little guy just like you” point:

it doesn’t matter because members of congress if they’re a Democrat are more important than you are and don’t you forget it.

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5 responses to “Perhaps There’s a Good Reason

  1. I’ve read about the others who died. One shielded his wife, and a few of the injured have already been released. The photos of those who died were in the news and all over the Internet. They are private citizens so it makes sense that their medical condition will be private too. I guess the person who ‘s complaining about the lack of reports on the other victims’ condition is merely nitpicking. Just my humble opinion.

  2. It’s painful to listen to Berry slowly & ponderously & ineptly get to his “point”. Which has nothing to do with caring about the other victims of the shooting but is to stick it to a Democrat (who happens to be in the hospital with a gunshot wound) and to insult one of her aides (who is dead). And his need to know whether any of the other dead had their “skulls blown off”? What a creep.

  3. I meant to say this in my earlier comment but will say it now: this post is a very good example of exactly the kind of “reasoned” & “civil” tone that everybody seems to agree we need. No hysteria, none of that childish “I know you are but what am I?” sort of reaction, but a simple recitation, point by point, of the facts, and proof-by-proof refutation of lies & misunderstandings (to be kind) etc. Good job.

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