There is no shame in being a victim


Yet another senseless tragedy has befallen the United States in the form of a shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. on Monday. Aaron Alexis shot and killed twelve innocent people as they were simply going about their lives. Media attention in the aftermath is focused on the dozen victims rather than the killer. This is a new approach to covering these heinous events, rather than provide the perpetrators with the attention they may crave – I say may crave as we usually have to assume this because few shooters survive the ordeal – the media now concentrates on those killed. I say this is new, and as an example consider millions of people are familiar with the Boston Strangler, but I imagine few, other than family members, know the names of the victims.

While it can’t be said that all who are victims of terrorist attacks, rapes or muggings are heroes, I believe it is fair to say that all who carry out these acts are cowards.

In the course of piecing together the lives of people who have been killed in these all to frequent shootings, family members are interviewed. One such interview with the daughter of a man who was shot and killed in the Navy Yard showed her asking the interviewer to please not refer to her father as a victim. “He was never a victim in his life,” she said through her tears as though there was something shameful about being an innocent victim – there isn’t.

To my recollection this concept started with those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks and were referred to as heroes. I have no doubt there were many in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the downed flight in Pennsylvania who did heroic things in an effort to save lives, including all who entered the burning building to assist with the evacuation, but one does not become a hero simply by dint of having been the victim of an attack. The women raped and killed by the Boston Strangler were victims, not heroes. Other than in the twisted minds of some religious zealots who would have you believe that a woman who is raped has brought disgrace on herself and her family, there is no shame in being a victim.

Other than in the twisted minds of some religious zealots who would have you believe that a woman who is raped has brought disgrace on herself and her family, there is no shame in being a victim.

Why is there this sense that a victim is weak? If you walk down a street and someone jumps you from behind and before you know it makes off with your wallet, you have been the victim of a robbery. There was absolutely nothing you could do to defend yourself, you weren’t a hero but an innocent victim. You’re not weak, perhaps given a fair chance you would have made short work of the attacker and still have your wallet, but he didn’t give you the opportunity. It wasn’t your fault.

While it can’t be said that all who are victims of terrorist attacks, rapes or muggings are heroes, I believe it is fair to say that all who carry out these acts are cowards.

Logo_3DCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that. a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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