Wednesday, February 3

If they're really "promising," they wouldn't do it

Someone explain to me how, when a young, college-age student or the like, commits a horrible act, they are referred to as, “promising” in the news coverage. Timely example: the college kids at Virginia Tech who are accused of killing that 13-year-old girl, are constantly called “promising, young Virginia Tech students.”
The way the media talks about it, you would think that the killers here are some kind of victims themselves, having had this crime thrust upon their once “promising” lives, and that they had seemingly no choice in the matter. There was another murder, or sexual assault case, or something years ago where the media also called the perpetrators “promising.” I want to say they were football players? Like, the narrative was that they were good football players, and the crime that they committed put an end to their “promising” careers. And that they would have done great things in this world, but for this one little hiccup of, I don’t know, killing or raping someone. And how if this one thing had just not happened, the possibilities for them would have been endless. … Sure, the possibilities of how many other people they may have killed (or raped) had they not been caught for this one crime would be endless.
I find it disheartening that since the victims themselves don’t have a voice in these situations, no consideration or feeling on how promising their lives could have been, is ever uttered. The victim’s actual life was cut short, rather than the criminals’ careers, and no one has the decency to call that life “promising”? No one can articulate what a shame it is that the victim’s purpose or potential impact on the universe is now a great unknown?
I find that if they simply removed that one stupid word, “promising,” from the vocabulary when discussing killers and rapists and other bad people, I would probably not have an issue with a lot of the news coverage. But the addition of that one descriptive word makes it sound so victim-blamey to me. Like, if that little girl had just NOT DIED, these kids could go one with their wonderful, possibly amazing, and certainly PROMISING lives.

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