What's the difference between these two opening paragraphs from the BBC's news website?
"The family of a man mistakenly killed by police hunting London bomb suspects is calling for a public inquiry."
"The father of murdered policewoman Sharon Beshenivsky has visited the spot in Bradford where his daughter was gunned down by armed robbers."
On the face of it nothing. Someone has been shot and killed and their family is now grieving.
However, in only one of these cases can we realistically expect the police to do their utmost to find and prosecute the perpetrators.
And only in one case will the media (as the example above demonstrate) describe the death of the victim as a MURDER.
The dictionary defines murder as
1. The unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice.
Sharon Beshenivsky was shot and killed on last Friday, as she responded to call at a Travel Agency that was being raided.
Despite the fact that the last time a female officer was shot and killed in the line of duty was over 20 years ago, I'm certain she would have considered facing an armed assailant at some stage in her time as a police officer a possibility.
She knew this risk yet still volunteered to be a police officer. Her murder was dispicable .
The person who shot her did so with the knowledge that it was likely he would kill her.
Jean Charles de Menezes was an electrician that was shot by plain clothed police officers on a train at Stockwell Tube station on July 22nd this year.
He was an innocent man that had been incorrectly identified as a potential terrorist.
In a stark contrast to the misinformation released by the police at the time of Jean Charles murder;
- he was not challenged until he was wrestled to the ground and shot.
- he was wearing a light jacket, not a big suspicious looking coat.
- he did not jump over the barrier at the tube station and run down the platform.
The police officers followed him from his flat to Stockwell Tube, down to the platform and as he entered the train he was pushed to the ground and shot repeatedly in the head and chest. He was murdered with extreme prejudice.
Yet despite his story the case was and is repeatedly referred to as 'an accidental shooting'.
No, wrong, JUST LIKE SHARON BESHENIVSKY, he was MURDERED. Just because it was the police that did it, doesn't make it not so.
Yet have those who committed the act been charged? It's still under investigation. Do you think the police, who arrested 5 men and 1 woman in conjunction with Friday's incident will take as long to decide if there is grounds for prosecution? Hardly.
Yes, of course it's a tragedy that a police officer was murdered, but I fail to understand why it's deemed a more heinous act than killing an unarmed, innocent man on a tube train and warrants a more explicit 'SHE WAS MURDERED', rather than just 'She was intentionally shot...'
Of course it sells papers and grabs the opening spot on the News for a couple of nights, but it doesn't help us grow as a society and live up to the principle of our leader's God, that we are all created equally.
We pretend we're oh-so more sophisticated than our predecessors, with our access to wider information base, and our media savvy ways, yet still we put up with or simply fail to notice this manipulative double standards - even from the BBC (which I still try to hold in high esteem - but then again, after the Andrew Gilligan incident it appears the Beeb are now running scared of another Hutton enquiry and another kicking)
The fact of the matter is we can't and we shouldn't allow a situation whereby the Watchmen become more important than those they serve. Because we all know how that story ends...
It we certainly shouldn't allow the media to control our emotions the way they do - they should stick to delivering facts and allow us to respond in our own instictive way.
But they don't and it's all becoming newspeak.