By James M. De Vince, Writer & Advertising Executive
“The unthinkable happens. The unimaginable. The inconceivable. Not only are adults gone, but children, barely having passed kindergarten …”
Newtown was a tragedy that affected us all, whether living in Connecticut or California, in Russia or the U.K., rich or poor, male or female, with children or without. All were affected and all were hurting.
It is no wonder then that all of us should strive to find some way to cope, some way to respond, some way to make sense of it all.
There is no doubt that most all of us will agree that the initial blame rests squarely upon the perpetrator of the crime. The subsequent debates of underlying fault and how to respond, however; will continue endlessly with progressively more focus and passion.
Is this a result of the nation abandoning God? Too many guns? The lack of proper Social Health Awareness? Inadequate school Security Controls? Extreme violence in media and games?
And the list goes on.
It would seem that every proponent of the above theories will vehemently argue their case, absolutely convinced that their position is the right one.
Although I find some merit in every position above, I can only look to applications of which I am more familiar.
Everyone in advertising and media knows the influence that their respective media products have over the general public. Advertising attempts to manipulate such influence to make greater brand exposure and sales. Creative Media, such as film and television, are also well aware of how to “adjust” their products to shape their PR, themes, and viewer mental and emotional responses.
The freedom of “Artistic Expression” is something that should always be protected and encouraged. At the same time, the responsibility of having such expression should be equally protected and encouraged. As the saying goes … “With great power comes great responsibility”.
There is no doubt that there will always be media outlets that exploit the weak or dark side of mankind. And it is not suggested that media should exclude such weakness or darkness. Rather, presenting such frailties as things to overcome rather than things to worship would go a long way in tempering the surfacing of such within our cultures.
Even if the above statement should open the doors to contention, at the very least those producing such media must recognize the huge opportunity they have to bring hope and healing to the masses.
In a world where every culture, every social class, indeed every family has been affected in one form or another by the trauma of pain, suicide, or death; it becomes increasingly evident that the opportunity to help others is more than just a passing prospect. In fact, it is inherent in the very fabric of what defines our own humanity.
When thinking about my experience at Newtown and seeing the devastating grief in the eyes and hearts of those around me, I’ve come to realize how blessed and fortunate I am to be part of an industry that can help so many people make it through so many traumas in their lives.
Granting inspiration to those in need, light to the darkened eyes, hope to those who have none are privileges that don’t come every day. Those in this industry who take advantage of it can help more people than any other medium in the world.
We can be heroes where no other hero is able to go.
Let’s be heroes together and thus make the world a better place to live.
James M. De Vince