Saturday, February 17, 2007

Anything to give their lives some meaning, in the evening

It's strange how personal history can fail to match up with the recorded version.

The other night one of the articles I read on the radio was about Port Arthur. The article noted that staff decidedly prefer not to talk about the 1996 massacre or answer questions from tourists. Visitors may be directed to a memorial at the site of the cafe where many of the shootings occurred, but the staff make a firm point of their decision not to discuss it. This is not only because many find it painful, some having lost family and friends, but also because the gunman sought infamy, likely inspired by earlier similar events such as the Dunblane massacre. Not talking about it is an act of rebellion against his desires.

The (fair warning: it's long, detailed and of course horrible, also needs editing)Wikipedia page lead me to a couple of interesting sources. A TV program transcript indicates that his jailers have much the same aim, trying to reduce his feeling of self-importance by not allowing him access to information about himself and how he is perceived. I can't find the other article I wanted to link to - the link from the Wikipedia page seems to have broken - but it expanded on the idea cited there that "the saturation media coverage provides both instruction and perverse incentives for dysfunctional individuals to imitate previous crimes."

What shocked me when I read this article was that I had no idea that it had happened on my birthday. This thought distracted me as I was reading live on radio and I struggled to reign it in when I realised my thoughts were heading down this new track as I continued to read out the article.... sometimes you can get away with this, but it's a pretty good way to stuff up.

In my own personal version of history, I remember my 21st as not a particularly great birthday. I did have a party (would have been the day before, Saturday) but wasn't sure what was so special about 21. I guess I may not have heard about the massacre til at least the next day (Monday), so it't not that suprising that I didn't connect it with my birthday.

The other odd thing is that I have visited Port Arthur. During a family holiday a few of us went down at night-time for the ghost tour (which was really fun). In my personal history, I definitely visited there BEFORE the massacre ever happened. If it was AFTER, I am sure I would remember being conscious of it and looking out for things like the memorial. I've been thinking for years that I was there before the massacre. But it turns out that that family trip was in 2000. Huh.

1 comment:

Kuka said...

Hey =)
I believe in all that rain I left the dvds in your cars - whoops =s
Watch anything if you want and I'll grab them next time =)
Thanks again for the lift =)