Oops, we did it again. We triggered someone, and on the third day of 2021 we already have an incoming communication for the “STUPID FILE.”
Sunday morning, January 3, 2021, an anonymous reader must have read the initial CARDINAL NEWS article (Shooting in Volo on US 12, Fires in Chicago; Developing Overnight News in Chicagoland) published at 9:15 a.m. that included breaking information about the Volo shootings. The breaking news from an early morning (3:00 a.m.) incident did not yet provide information that the two gunshot victims were suspected auto thieves. The article was an obvious briefing of overnight events. A second CARDINAL NEWS article (Two Shot in Volo on Route 12: Lake County Sheriff’s Office Investigating Fatal Volo Shooting, Stolen Auto) published at 11:04 a.m. included the information about the alleged auto theft.
Apparently, the triggered reader was hyperventilating because CARDINAL NEWS described the gunshot victims in Volo as “gunshot victims” as if to make a point that the auto thieves weren’t worthy of “victim” status. LESSON TO BE LEARNED: Gun Shot Victim, or GSV is a military term and medical term used regardless of the judgmental connection or legally liable status of the injured person. In the medical world, if patients are criminals; paramedics still classify them as gunshot victims, and doctors and nurses still classify them as gunshot victims. And health care professionals still attempt to save these gunshot victims’ lives. The wounds that gunshot victims (GSVs) have are called gunshot wounds (GSWs). These abbreviations are common notations in quick medical communications or notes. GSV is used by a former paramedic here on CARDINAL NEWS without any consideration of worthiness, guilt or innocence.
Apparently, the triggered reader was also hyperventilating because CARDINAL NEWS did not have all of the information from the case when published in the breaking news brief this morning. LESSON TO BE LEARNED: News unfolds and reveals itself with facts from observations, evidence, personal connections, physical evidence, and much more. Hopefully police departments and news companies are on the same side, but police have the upper hand as soon as they define, secure and contain a crime scene. You don’t see news media inside the crime scene tape taking a tour, or interviewing people within the crime scene perimeter (although you might see it on a Hollywood motion picture (e.g., Runaway with Tom Selleck, 1984). Police eventually release a statement for the public, and get prepared to process the scene with evidence for a trial.
News personnel relay the official statements by police, but also cross-check information to verify the statements made by police. Hopefully, news media personnel add some of their own observations to reports from authorities. But sometimes the news delivered to you is just a “copy and paste” of the official statement from authorities.
THE NEWS STRUGGLE
News “is what it is,” and is what it can be under a variety of circumstances. News is challenged by rapidly-spreading social media rumors. News is challenged by obstructions because of sensitive details or is challenged by officials withholding information because of circumstances that might harm investigations. Meanwhile witnesses close to an incident can disseminate these details via social media without any regard for the security of the scene. News is obstructed by evil actors — people, politicians, businesses or governments that don’t want the general population to know the facts that could reduce their power, reveal their guilt or liability, harm their agenda, or harm their profits. News is a never-ending revelation of layers of information (true or false) that eventually becomes historical knowledge.
Here are three important pieces of information to summarize knowledge about news and breaking news — particularly applied to this morning’s case in Volo.
#1. GUN SHOT VICTIMS (GSVs) are still known as “victims” … even if they are criminals. GSV is probably more of a medical or physiological term (as mentioned above), referring to the assault on the body and physiological processes that are harmed — not taking into consideration justice, guilt or politics connected to the mind associated with the human body that was injured or destroyed. So technically, criminal gunshot victims are still gunshot victims. Offending subjects involved in a crime are still alleged suspects until they are found guilty in a court of law. Most law enforcement agencies — when they release case information — remind the public of a suspect’s innocence until they are proven guilty in a court of law.
#2. BREAKING NEWS. Information that is breaking news means there is a good chance that information is missing or not yet revealed, or that a witness observed something incorrectly, or even lied. That’s why there are police investigations and eventually court trials that apply the burden of proof to determine a case beyond a reasonable doubt in order to affirm a conviction in a criminal case. Any news report produced within minutes or even up to four to six hours of an incident, and before an official statement by authorities, should be taken with a grain of salt. To hold a breaking news report to the standards and expectations of a police investigation with criminal forensics resources is idiotic.
#3. PUBLISHING AND POSTING. Someone will say, “Don’t report things until you get all the facts.” It just doesn’t work that way. At what point do you decide when a news story has enough facts. If there is intense police activity, people want information. If someone wakes up and runs an errand and sees that Route 12 is blocked — with police all over the place — that person is going to want to have some idea of what has happened. Evolving news reports fill that need. There’s no shame in curiosity; it’s human survival instinct to assess danger and risk. Some governments will simply refer to an incident with little if any essential information, which probably causes more fear than necessary in the general public. People deserve to know at least parts of what authorities are learning — parts that won’t harm an investigation. If you believe that every incident should only be described by a tidy statement from law enforcement (often supervised by your local government leaders — sometimes even several hours or even days after the incident), good luck with living in that society. Imagine a society that operates without any professional news influence and without independent investigation — and that only relies on a stream of information that includes short statements from authorities, and is rife with rumors, jokes, wild speculation, deliberate nonsense (trolling), insults and harassment from crazies on Facebook.
Always remember this about NEWS. News is only the first rough draft of history. This is an expression that has been understood dating back to at least the first decade of the 20th century.
News personnel work to quickly find what happened. Sometimes news personnel help police discover facts. Sometimes news personnel help keep governments and law enforcement honest and forthcoming. We can hopefully trust that law enforcement and investigators apply rigorous standards to serve the truth and justice, and provide us with information that helps us reduce risk and reinforce good judgment in our lives. It is our rights as citizens to know the truth (whether about local crime or a worldwide pandemic) and see justice served and proper remedies performed with respect for our input in the democratic process.
Whether the target is a television news station, a print newspaper, or an online news source … there is always someone attempting to shame these news sources. But in many cases, it only reveals that the “shamer” doesn’t understand how the new process works.
In 2021, members of our society have reasons not to trust some news media sources, suspecting them of providing fake news — that’s another subject and article for another time — but if the public and news media and authorities can’t agree on the simple facts, such as those outlined here … we’re doomed. And to the shamers that want to criticize the people that struggle to overcome the difficult process of finding the truth about a news story … you’re just fools in your own make-believe peanut gallery. Your peanut gallery offers nothing except some worthless giggles and support of your confirmation bias.
For all those good citizens who have provided tips, “heads up” or photos; and support CARDINAL NEWS … THANK YOU!
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