I switched on my television around 10am this Sunday morning to watch something inconsequential while I ate my porridge. What I saw made me reach for my remote control and stop eating my porridge and wondered, not for the first time, what a strange community we have become.
I saw: a man, being viciously, slowly strangled by another man, while a baptist preacher looked on. They were all standing in a river. A communal baptism had been underway and this happy event had been interrupted by the murder. All of the participants of the baptism looked on in shock and horror and had grimaces on their faces that pretty much matched the one on my own at that moment.
The images continued for another 10 or so seconds before I managed to find the remote and switch it off . The final scene was of the murderer showing his police badge to the immobile onlookers. A policeman had committed this murder on a Sunday morning.
It was drama. It wasn’t real. But everyone involved showed the shock of the moment when a man apparently died in front of our eyes. And I don’t mean they gave the impression that a murder had taken place a la Hercule Poirot or Agatha Christie. It was fully detailed with every eye bulge on full display. Is this acceptable? Yes I can switch it off, no it’s ‘not real’. But is it acceptable? Or reasonable to switch on to something like that with no warning, no disclaimer … danger, danger… you are about to see something horrible the memory of which will stay with you most of the day.
It seems immoral or perhaps just incredibly sad to be able to watch these terrible incidents early on a Sunday morning or perhaps any morning. If one was to actually commit this type of offence, you’d get 25 years to life if you’re caught. But you can watch someone simulate it. At 10am in the morning and with regular repeats.
I can choose what I watch and don’t watch but that doesn’t stop it being shown for anyone else to watch, and absorb or get upset about or perhaps even worse, to accept it as … normal which it seems it is swiftly becoming.
Perhaps in future, I’ll eat my breakfast outside in the garden with my cats for conversation – they are generally much more entertaining and understand what is required to make your morning turn into the right sort of day.