Like many of you I have been following the tragic story of Kimberly Pisaturo who was killed by a school bus yesterday while walking to school. Having brought her up, I offer my condolences to her family and friends for their loss. But I mention this tragedy as a way of raising another topic, specifically, the way in which the media is quick to find fault with the victim.
The Projo article concerning this accident points out that Kimberly may have had a hooded sweatshirt on (suggesting that her vision was impaired), that she may have been looking down at her cell phone at the time of the accident, and that an Ipod was found on her person (both suggesting that she was distracted). The latter is particularly ridiculous because it is certainly not worth mentioning that she had an Ipod if no one is sure that she was listening to music at the time of the accident. To make matters worse, next to this article online is a link to another article stating “most agree Ipods and cell phones are “in” but they can be a distraction.”
Does it reduce the tragedy if we walk away from the article believing it was the victim’s fault? Is this article written by a defense attorney intent on painting a beneficial picture?
I was involved in a high profile case in Boston as well, in which a student was struck by a passing vehicle. Similar to this story, the Boston Globe highlighted how the student was listening to an Ipod at the time of the accident and according to witnesses, was not paying attention. The comment section of the newspaper was in a frenzy blaming the victim!
Reporters please – present the facts as you find them, but realize that if the victim is unable to speak for him or herself, then you are presenting an imbalanced version of events.