Tuesday, August 5, 2008
A tragedy nearly out of control
While some may think differently, I do not derive any pleasure from having to take these types of photographs. Emotions soared Sunday afternoon in Webster, Pa., when 12-year-old Terrence Carlock of nearby Donora drowned after being swept under by the currents in a dangerous stretch of the Monongahela River.
Volunteer firefighters at these scenes can lose all sense of rationalization when they see someone with a camera taking photos of grieving relatives, as was the case after Terrence disappeared while swimming with a group of unsupervised children.
Like it or not, everyone in America has the right to free speech and stand in a public place to shoot photographs or videos. It’s among our federal privileges that some of us in journalism work hard to uphold.
Often in these situations, news photographers end up with shots of rescuers in boats or concerned bystanders watching from afar. Or, they get there too late and settle for a long shot of the scene after everyone has left the area. But, I just happened to be in the area when the emergency sirens flared.
And, this photograph would never have been taken had someone taken better charge of the situation and not allowed the victim’s 11-year-old sister to be given a police escort to the riverbank, only to witness her brother’s lifeless body being pulled by a scuba diver from the water.
It's not like I was hunting her down or in anyone's face. I was just doing my job.