The tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary school has left me weary of any media consumption whatsoever. For better or worse, I can be very thick skinned when it comes to world events and tragedies, and often times I recognize tragedy, but am too desensitized to feel the actual pain associated with it. Blame it on the tonnage output by modern media, or the tabloid reporting styles exhibited by our most trusted media outlets, but tragedies that happen outside of my near-view life seldom have a major impact on me. I am not proud of this fact, but I cannot change my feelings. Hopefully, through transparent discourse, I can get to the bottom of these feelings, and in the process, connect with and help some of you who have simliar emotions.
Enter the events of December 14th 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary school. When I heard the news my stomach was in knots. The world looked a bit different that day. Each face seen on "the streets of everyday" became the faces of potential victims, and potential murderers. The fleeting nature of life was surfaced for the entire world and the inevitable question, "how can such evil exist?" became a popular question. Questions about human nature, gun control and government were all surfaced. It was overwhelming, but not so much so that if you stopped to look at the angelic young faces that lost their lives that day all concerns would be washed over by waves of utter despair and sadness.
Despite my want to ignore the media, I clicked on a link and began looking at the faces of the fallen. After viewing one brave teacher and two beautiful children, I was served an interstitial video ad. Take a look:
Knowing the online advertising business very well, I know how quickly ads can be changed. I know that this scenario could have been avoided. What I don't know is whether this display was one of ignorance or greed. If I were the publisher of USA Today, I would ban all ads from running along side such content. I wonder how the marketers at The New York Lottery feel about this?
I do not wish to get into a dialogue on branding, marketing, publishing or anything else that may insensitive to the tragedy at hand. The reason for this post is to allow people to understand how I felt when seeing this, and maybe spark some reaction so, in the future, publishers and brands can learn to be a bit more sensitive.
My feelings are with the families of those suffering from this awful tragedy. While I cannot know how you feel, I am willing to feel it as much as I can in hopes the slightest bit of consolation could come from knowing you are not alone.