THE 4 FACES OF THE PARIS ATTACKS (and the media coverage thereof)

BY DAVID B. GUMBS — NOVEMBER 29, 2015

Parisian Police securing a street during the attacks. PHOTO: Cesar Dezfuli / Demotix / Corbis

On the night of Nov. 13th, French and Belgian-born terrorists launched a series of coordinated shootings and bombings that ultimately claimed the lives of at leasts 129 people, and injured about 415 others, making it the deadliest attack on French soil since World War 2. By the time the sun rose over Paris the next morning, all except one of the attackers were dead, the city mourned its loses, the nation vowed vengence against the people responsible — ISIS — and the world stood with France in the face of a terrible, needless slaughter.

Members of the public gather to lay flowers and light candles at La Belle Equipe restaraunt on Rue de Charonne following Fridays terrorist attack on November 15, 2015 in Paris, France. PHOTOS: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty
Facebook and Twitter, along with many other websites, expressed solidarity for Paris attack victims by altering their logos. PHOTOS: Facebook and Twitter
Iconic landmarks and structures around the world illuminated themselves in the colors of the French Flag in a show of solidarity. PHOTOS: AFP, Reuters, Associated Press

… But while the response to this unthinkable tragedy has been mostly supportive, just like with most major news stories of recent years some of the more crazy, crass, and opportunistic controversies have sprung from what could only be described as a media circus so big they could put the Ringling Bros. out of business. In the end, the entirety of the coverage and discussion around the “2015 Paris Attacks” can be classified into 4 groups, in which we’ll look at now because stupidity has to be understood if it’s not to be repeated.

… Oh yeah, it’s gonna be one of THOSE articles…

4: THE POLITICIANS

Pictured above: A flock of Vultures in their natural habitat. PHOTO: CNN

Starting at the very bottom of the list are the various politicians and electoral hopefuls who immediately took what was for many people was a shocking and sobering tragedy and used it as a cudgel to hammer whoever they don’t like and promote their own agendas.

Whether it be Donald Trump declaring that gun control laws in Paris contributed to the tragedy or Ted Cruz proposition of bringing only Christian refugees into the country via some sort of Orwellian religious test, where normal people see a real tragedy with real dead people, these parasites simply saw another vehicle to secure their 15 minutes of fame. There are no words that I can use to describe the tasteless, slavering, perverted and extremist views of these politicians or of my deep-seated hatred of the way they shamelessly exploit a tragedy for personal gain, and it lightens my heart to see that I am not alone; in the end, I leave these members of the political elite a summary of my feeling towards their disrespectful and distasteful opportunism:

… It’s my votin’ finger…

3: SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS:

…Well, there are worst ways to waste your parents money at college I suppose…

… Sweet-Jesus-kissing-Christ this list is going to kill me… Let me start by says that I support freedom of expression and people’s right to protest, and I also recognize that there are plenty of terrible equality problems in America that needs to be addressed and brought to light, so that they may be overcome with calm and insightful discussion, as well as protests and democratic organization. That said :

… No sarcasm this time, I’m just telling them to fuck off…

I find the current racial movements to be — in my opinion once again –stupid, pandering, white-guilt-having, violent, intolerant, racist, classist bullshit. There are serious issues at the center of these things, but they find themselves quickly surrounded with a particular demographic of people who try to make EVERYTHING about race, and the tragedy around the Paris attacks are no different because why not.

Pictured: the opinion of people so inbred their parents must’ve been twins

Whether it be them accusing the media at large of racism for prioritizing the Paris Attacks over a similar bombing in Lebanon the day before, or Missouri Campus allegedly allegedly allegedly feeling that the attacks are taking away attention from their protests, to even a recent discussion in my journalism class where the race of the victims became a topic somehow, I would like to say to the people who belong to such rabble “Fuck off.” First of all, people — REAL people I might add — are dead. They are dead, murdered in the streets and it doesn’t matter what race they were, they are still human beings who are dead, and that’s what should matter; if you’re the type of closet-case who has who has who has to know the color of someone before you decide if their death was a tragedy or not, fuck off. Secondly, if you feel that other people’s deaths are a mere personal inconvenience and somehow taking attention away from your movement, then you need to Fuck off twice over, because you are an entitled, soulless prick. And on the topic of the Lebanon bombing versus the Paris attacks, all I can do is shake my head incredulously and say “Really? Are we really so cynical as a society that we’re actually in a competition to see who’s instance of mass-murder was the worst, as if we’re hoping to win some sort of world pity-party award?”

2: THE PANICKED, EASILY-MISLEAD GENERAL POPULACE

We talked about the politicians who are exploiting this tragedy for personal gain, and while the majority of the blame for the sheer amount of misinformation and fear-mongering rumors do lie with those soulless half-wits, we as the public must also acknowledge our own responsibility in in this hostile and fraud-filled climate. As free-thinking individuals, it’s our duty to stay informed, to research topics properly before forming an opinion and to keep an open mind and accept that that opinion may be wrong. Therefore, it’s nothing short of a shame that so many people are in the thrall of panic that they instantly turn against refugees fleeing from a hostile war zone despite all the evidence that the attacks had nothing to do with refugees, and are for keeping them out of the country despite that being a historically bad decision. In the end, that’s all I can really say on the matter of the public; if you are the type of blind sheep that instantly buys into whatever the politicians are selling without question and would gladly sacrifice somebody’s freedom for a false sense of security, then shame on you. Shame on you, you wretched soul, for fucking shame…

If you truly believe that refugees don’t have it hard enough, you’re just as bad as this woman

1: THE VICTIMS OF THE ATTACKS

Finally, in the number one spot of the goes to the group of people whom the conversation should be firstly about: the victims. And they should be first because it was their lives that were most affected by the tragedy. Ultimately, this is what truly matters at the heart of the tragedy, not the scheming politicians or pseudo-intellectuals looking to prove how “progressive” they are, or its effect on the everyday person or even the terrorists and their justifications; it’s about friends who lost friends, parents who lost children, and people who lost their limbs, or even their lives. These are the people who truly matter at the heart of this human tragedy.

The French President has spoken of trying to organize an international coalition to fight the terrorist group responsible — ISIS, and I truly hope something comes of those talks. Until then, the least we can do is mourn the wasteful loss of life that follows in the wake of such an event, help the victims and those who are suffering and perhaps call out some of the other groups of people who try to exploit such tragedies for their own ends and be aware of this sort of craven, desperate yellow journalism, for only through awareness and education can we see and correct this type of distasteful and gross behavior, and return the mainstream news to what it truly should be about: unbiased information and journalistic integrity.