SFChronicle21 karma2021-05-26 17:56:59 UTC
As a news reporter, I can't give opinions like that. I just report.
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SFChronicle20 karma2021-05-26 16:08:24 UTC
It's a weighty responsibility -- that's foremost in your head as a reporter witnessing an execution. You need to be accurately observing everything so you can be the eyes and ears of the public, so you control your emotions as much as possible while it's going on. That having been said, it's always a very sad thing to watch. Relatives and friends of the victims are in the room, and you acutely sense their anguish. Usually, a relative or friend of the killer is in the room, and sense their anguish, too. Whatever happened that put this man -- and it's always been men since executions restarted here in the early 1990s -- on Death Row was a horror for the victims and their loved ones, and a waste of a life when it comes to the killer. You think about how a lot of somethings somewhere went wrong in his life to propel him to murder, and how tragic that is as well. The most important thing is to do the best job you can watching an execution so that we as a society know exactly what we're doing when these things happen.
SFChronicle20 karma2021-05-26 17:09:27 UTC
That is a fascinating, and absolutely relevant, thing to talk about. I agree that heavy coverage of crime leads to unrealistic fears -- you see endless stories of shootings and killings and car crashes (in local news, in particular), and you begin to think disaster is around every corner. But actually, your chances of being involved in some horrible event are very small. For the same reason, I also think there is too much fictional crime on TV and in films. So yes, it is good to contextualize stories when you can -- but that is difficult to do often. We have space and deadline constraints, and context has been shown in media studies to be one of the first things to cut when you have to cut for space.
In the Doodler series, I and the people working with me on it thought it was very important to make the context and history of the times, as well as the humanity of the victims, key components of the narrative so that it wasn't just a scary crime mystery. It can be frustrating at times, though -- there's always more context, more information, you wish you could include.
SFChronicle19 karma2021-05-26 17:45:12 UTC
I'd say they all have a psychotic (to one degree or another) impulse to hunt down and kill people that somehow fall into a category for them that stems from their own psychological problem. Ted Bundy had a twisted rage rooted in a messed-up childhood that he turned into a hatred for women. Unabomber Ted Kaczynski had a mental illness that warped him toward thinking technology in society was oppressing him, and everyone else, so he targeted people who were tech reps in his mind. Freeway Killer William Bonin was raped and abused as a kid, and chose to act that out on kids when he got old enough to do so. And so on.
None of that justifies anything a serial killer does. Understanding the demented motives helps explain a bit, but the bottom line is that psychotic serial murder is just that -- off the hook, not fully "explainable," and terrible by any definition.
SFChronicle14 karma2021-05-26 16:43:54 UTC
Of course, no. Please remember that every murder, even those that have had movies and endless stories written about them, involves real victims with real anguish and pain. I don't joke about these things. Not something to make light of.
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