Stop emoting

by Steve Wedd

Can we stop professionals emoting please?

When a tragedy happens, we all want to know about it. Some of us are sorry for those concerned.

I bet that I’m alone in thinking that I would rather that police officers and fire chiefs don’t express their condolences for the bereaved when briefing the press and other media.

I do want to know what happened, where it happened, to whom, when and why. I want to know because if that road is dangerous, or that airline at fault, or that type of gas boiler is defective, I can avoid driving, flying or heating with that service. I’m also nosy, and I confess my part in keeping the news cycle rolling.

BTW, I don’t slow down on motorways to view the carnage on the opposing carriageway, and I welcome the screens coming into use to shield the unhappy victims of RTAs from my intrusive gaze. Too often we hear on the radio that the major crash southbound is causing northbound delays because of rubberneckers, who themselves sometimes cause minor bumps from looking the wrong way.

I don’t want to know that the emergency services feel sorry for the victims of the event. I’m pretty certain that they don’t know the individuals concerned, or their families; and I don’t believe that they care about them to the point where they have to introduce their condolences for the bereaved.

I don’t actually believe that they are sorry for them. We can all claim to be sorry about this or that, but news happens to strangers, doesn’t it? We can tut and worry but we don’t know the people involved. We don’t go to the funeral, by and large.

Their job is to trace, rescue, and assist. They should be more like undertakers, who express professional consideration for the deceased, not tear-jerking sorrow.

What I want to know from a news conference is what, where, why and how. I do not believe that it is the business of professionals to emote about their missing victim, or their blocked motorway, or their burning tenement. They should be getting on with the job of finding, freeing, extinguishing. Doing otherwise is a distraction best left to those with a genuine connexion to the event and with genuine feelings for those departed.

And while I’m on it, why do politicians feel the need to attend major incidents? At the recent Germanwings Alps crash, the president of France, the German Chancellor, and the Spanish Prime Minister all attended. Three more flights, more security detail, distraction from the rescue and clear up for the rescuers.

Votes. They have to be seen to be doing something, to avoid the George W Bush effect.

What, where, why and how. Don’t emote.