Over the past few years the trend to hold ‘candlelight vigils’ for child victims of crimes or accidents seems to have accelerated. Within hours of the admittedly terrible event, the media announce that a vigil will be held at the local school, footpath, bush setting or other nearby/relevant location to where the event occurred.
At first pass, the vigil allows those affected to express their grief although it could be said that the funeral service is a more appropriate opportunity. In any case, the media duly report on the vigil with interspersed comments from assorted attendees who sometimes knew the victim but more often, appear to have had no relationship to the victim other than they lived on the same street.
Whilst some may find it cathartic to attend, the trend to bring along their young children is disturbing. The media cameras capture images of ashen-faced kids standing next to their weeping parent and I can’t help but wonder what impact this trend has on the child’s developing psychology.
By example, the recent death of Charlise Mutten saw a vigil in which numerous adults were desolate with grief yet in their subsequent self-description on television, commented that they didn’t actually know the victim but the circumstances were “so sad”. Well yes, but the accompanying young children appeared bewildered and frightened: was it because of the tragedy, or their parent’s overwrought reaction?
I wondered whether the child had a direct or meaningful relationship with the victim and if so, was a public vigil the best way to express their grief? Shouldn’t young children be insulated from the periodic brutality of life and have the circumstances explained in a more private setting rather than a hastily arranged vigil complete with media present?
Cynically, I pondered the underlying question whether the parent’s attendance was a genuine expression of support for the victim’s family rather than compliance with some call-out issued via Twitter. Non-attendance, and an insufficient expression of grief on attendance, may be ‘noted’ by others in the social media circle.
We all know that terrible events can strike down the life of a child and this is both tragic and unsettling to the community. But a child’s growing awareness of mortality and the evils that lurk in society should also be managed. We protect our children from the worst of the internet and social media by shielding their exposure to what is ‘age appropriate’. In my opinion, no good will come from exposing them to a media event as a consequence of a tragedy. It is a disturbing response that may adversely influence the child’s developing view of the world and their safety within it.
As parents, it is our responsibility to protect children from danger and as they grow we caution them against various circumstances and hazards. It seems to me that young children should believe in unicorns and that Father Christmas, Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are all the real deal. As children age the occasional cruelty of life will become all too apparent but their ability to mentally process this knowledge is a gift of maturity.
27 thoughts on “Guest Post: Speedbox – A Disturbing Trend”
it’s the Post Modern mate.
words mean what one want’s them to mean.
and actions without double-plus-good words aren’t even a gesture
a vigil ticks all the boxes.
Fairy tales once performed that function, under the guise of events happening in another time and place (“Once upon a time…”) they gently introduced children to the presence of danger, evil and death in their own world.
As did Bible stories, particularly from the Old Testament (not that I’m suggesting Bible stories are fairy tales!).
Well said Speedbox. I share your concerns, but there are so many virtue signallers in the world today ….
Some childhood deaths are publicised and public mourning encouraged, others simply won’t be mentioned.
Two little girls dead after jab on Gold Coast
I saw the same footage and thought exactly the same thing.
Well said, Speedie.
FFS, people die. Some die under more distressing circumstances than others, but that doesn’t make them more worthy of pity. I’d like to be reassured that the people who contribute to these events actually visit their parents and grandparents, rather than just grandstanding.
Excellent post Speedbox..thank you.
I have to admit that when I see those vigils on television, I feel anger because I believe these vigils are empty, shallow and meaningless, they are all about making the person attending the vigil feel good. They’re classic virtual signalling.
The predominance of these vigils is a sign of a post-religious society. At times of tragedy, people yearn for symbols and rituals and these vigils provide them with that….except that, unlike belief, they’re empty of any meaning. A person or persons will attend a vigil for a child brutally murdered and it somehow makes them feel better…..after it ends they go away and forget about it. They don’t ponder the circumstances that led to the tragedy, they don’t demand answers as to why it happened, they don’t seek justice, they’re not angry at why is happened, instead it’s all about exhibiting feminine emotion. And then after the vigil ends, it all goes into the forgettery box.
It doesn’t provide justice
As Matrix said, it’s an extension of post modernist thought.
All about the subjective feelings of the individual.
Get vaccinated has been the “call- out” lately.
Rituals and festivals that mark cycles of life – birth, marriage, childbirth, death – and cycles of days, months, seasons, and years that place us within time and the universe – and that bind us within our family to the distant past and the distant future – are manifestations of a deep unspeakable understanding that’s associated with religion. Atheists attempt to invent rituals for some of those moments but their always one-offs, temporal, pinned to a locality, and personsl. No civilisation can be built or can continue on that.
So CL at 6.10 pm can see the issue clearly re the Mutten case, but can’t / won’t view the Abdallah case in the same light ?
We are to remember the death and resurrection of Messiah each week. This is not a sad affair but an uplifting one as we consider his victory and imminent return.
Being Australia most likely these parents are not doing this (being involved in church services) so it is a form of substitute for faith.
The mantra for Generation Now.
I see this even in those closest to me. It saddens me beyond words. I pin my hopes on those who appear to be untouched by “the vibe’.
Katenjammer- totally agree, looking for something but cannot shake Christianity. For the most blatant rip off of the Catholic Archbishops check out the pretentious knobs – the university lecturer in the gowns on graduation day – listen to their speaches – it’s a vacuous bore
Louis L – Yes, but from a Jewish view I can see the role of ritual in other faiths.
Why would a Christian be so concerned with death?
You’ll never meet Jesus if you don’t die.
These fake remembrances are beyond me.
Good post, Speedbox.
It is ALL about “conditioning”.
If you are not seen to be “concerned” enough, or “mourning” with sufficient intensity, you will be subject to “attitude adjustment”, either by your erstwhile “friends” or publicly, by the self appointed behavioural guardians of the Filth Column fourth estate.
This phenomenon has a long history. One of the more spectacular examples was in southern Africa, over a century ago.
Shaka, “king” of the Kwa Zulu, was a strange but interesting character. Violence and “discipline” were the keys to his power.
When his mother died, he ordered huge numbers of cattle (Zulu wealth on the hoof) to be slaughtered and invoked “compulsory mourning” for an extended time.
Those seen to be NOT “mourning” with sufficient intensity were clubbed to death by the “enforcers”.
This went on for MANY weeks, until a brave soul, who probably figured that his life was already forfeit, marched up to Shaka and told him,”Stuff a stone in your stomach”. Essentially, like the modern idiom of; “Swallow some cement and harden up!”.
This was an unprecedented act and Shaka actually laid off the seriously crazy, concentrating, instead, on expanding the imperial power of the Kwa Zulu.
EVERY time some LSM “opinion shaper” or Pollie-muppet, tells you how you MUST behave and that you MUST comply, EXACTLY the same game is in play.
“Im doing something”
As they sit and do nothing.
Kim’s dad has been dead a decade but if a peasant doesn’t mourn on cue he can be executed.
North Koreans banned from laughing as country mourns Kim Jong Il’s death (17 Dec)
This sort of thing seems to occur with secular despots who think they are gods. Caligula and Nero were like this too. It’s horrible.
Perhaps more a public display of how this tragedy has affected ME.
Di’s appointment with a pillar in the Pont de l’Alma started it all.
Now Australia is multicultural we need to all be firing AK47’s into the air on such occasions.
Even more pathetic are the candlelight vigils after Muslim terrorist acts. As if it will spread peace and love to the Islamists instead of show weakness. Idiots.
Yes, disturbing, and contrived, even though ritual is about contriving, an attempt at giving shape to what is incomprehensible. The roadside or footpath events are what happens when people are poor, really poor, reduced to or preferring idolatry, and making do with what is not quite sacred but near enough. Candles, flowers, and maybe a line from a favourite song. Bells and smells in one form or another.
Great post, Speedbox.
MT +1 and add in the ubiquitous fb.
Councils do, and have for a long time, employ people to foster such things. Complete with KPIs.
“FFS, people die. Some die under more distressing circumstances than others, but that doesn’t make them more worthy of pity.”
Indeed – I quote CS Lewis again:
“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, you & all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: & quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways.”
It is a sad but true accounting of the realities of the world. Life – and the world – goes on, even when some of us do not, and regardless of the “rightness” (or not) of any death. This is not to say that some, perhaps many, or even most, are deserving of empathy – even pity – for their loss. But regardless of how many protest, or how many laws are written, such tragedies are inevitable in our imperfect world. And, perhaps regrettably, all attempts to date to produce a perfect world have only made things worse – often significantly so.
And that is the dichotomy we must all recognise – that it is a worthy task to chase perfection, but it is also an unobtainable goal. We must recognise when our striving for perfection causes more damage than what we are trying to “fix”. If not, we have already passed the peak and are on our way back down in terms of that very perfection we seek. And also that we do not have and likely never can have an objective measure of where “the line” is – we needs must attempt to asymptotically approach that line, without knowing its exact position and knowing that “the line” also moves in fickle and unpredictable ways over time.
Exhalent post Speedbox, add to that those memorials on the side of the road.