It was an image nobody needed to see.
Yesterday I saw the face of a young woman moments before she died.
At first she had a look of confusion on her face. She was unsure. Perplexed. What was going on? But then a change. A change in her eyes.
The horror in her eyes.
I didn’t want to see it.
I turned from it and clicked away. I tried to erase its imprint on my brain by swiveling in my chair to gaze at photos of my children. But it stayed burned into my thoughts.
The face of a women before she died. It’s still there. When I close my eyes I can still see it.
Did you see it too? Unintentionally? Like me.
I first saw it as the rest of my household slept, in the very early hours of the morning, just an hour after she died. I was up writing the news for Mamamia and breaking was the horrific story of a TV reporter and Camera operator in Virginia in the US gunned down live to air.
As I worked I couldn’t escape the images. Her face. The gun. The terrible moment the realisation dawns.
As I scrolled through Facebook there she was again.
A beautiful 24-year old woman moments from the end of her life, now a viral video. It’s repulsive in its intrusiveness.
The news we woke to this morning was shocking in the telling.
Alison Parker, a young, hard-working reporter, her fun-loving camera operator, 27-year old Adam Ward, dedicated professionals.
The facts were hard enough to grasp. How could a former colleague do this? What could possibly motivate such a horrendous act? It was unfathomable.
But then the images compounded the horror.The gunman, Vester Lee Flanagan had filmed the murders and as he ran, cowardly fleeing from his dreadful crime, he uploaded them to social media, manically justifying his actions.
To its credit, social media giant Twitter removed the video as soon as the source was determined. They also suspended his account.
Facebook too removed the video. But it hasn’t stopped it being shown and shared.
It hasn’t stopped major news organisations right across Australia and throughout the world taking screen shots of the moment before Alison Parker turned and ran and splashing them across their front pages and using them as stills in the news bulletins.
It hasn’t stopped some of the greatest and most powerful media outlets in the world showing the footage on repeat– albeit with a warning “Viewer discretion advised.”