Monday, June 18, 2007

Sainte Kelsey?

[NOTE: This post deals with a hot-button topic that some people are ultra-sensitive about, so if you're easily offended, reader discretion is strongly advised.]

At the risk of sounding like some jaded, insensitive clod, I have to get this garbage out of my system on this whole Kelsey Smith thing, which is beginning to border on obsession here in K.C.  This kind of story always manages to bring out the best and the worst in people, and what started off as a genuine outpouring of sympathy has turned into affectation, and I can't for the life of me understand the disproportionate media coverage this story has garnered, both locally and nationally.

Let me preface my remarks by saying that I'm not disputing what a tragedy this was.  No parent should have to go through a senseless nightmare like this, and I do have sympathy for Kelsey's family and friends.  BUT, having said all that, most people have seemingly gotten caught up in the moment here and made this girl out to be some perfect angel.  Yes, I'm sure she was a nice girl and all, but there are millions of nice girls out there and it's a sad fact of life that this kind of thing happens every fucking day to women of all ages—pretty ones, ugly ones, white ones, black ones, rich ones, poor ones, whatever.  So, why is Kelsey Smith getting the lion's share of attention?

Just when I thought the whole Kelsey hubbub was dying down, here comes the Kansas City Star with a feature-length article in yesterday's paper about how her family is coping.  Seems to me that if I were grieving the sudden loss of a beloved family member, the last thing I'd want to deal with is the media.  However, the Smith family certainly hasn't shied away from the media attention one bit, between the countless appearances on TV (both locally and nationally) and the two hours they spent with the Star reporter for yesterday's piece, which featured a photo of the family yukking it up over some memory of Kelsey.  '"When she got herself tickled, she'd wrinkle up her nose right here," Greg Smith [Kelsey's father] says, touching the sides of his nose.'  Do we really need to know all this?  'Missey [Kelsey's mother] wants people's lives to go on.'  Precisely my point, but you don't seem to want to let us...

Then you have all the opportunists and scapegoaters taking to this story like arsonists to a burning building.  Opportunists like the funeral home in the above ad profiteering off this thing, not to mention supermarket tabloids like that vaunted and respected publication The Globe whose cover Kelsey's photo now even graces.  And then there are the gun lobby folks who are trying to convince me that if Kelsey had been packing heat, she'd still be with us today, as well as the bleeding heart do-gooders who blame violent movies and video games for her murderer's actions.  Uh, check the facts, folks—it's well-documented the accused murderer, Edwin Hall, bounced from one foster home to another because no one could control him—he was fucked-up long before movies and video games could corrupt him.

And, "A beautiful life"?!?  Okay, Kelsey was a lovely girl, physcially, but other than being an ambitious teenager who aspired to be a veterinarian, what did she actually do in life to merit such lofty adulation?

I don't get it, folks, I really don't...

1 comment:

ArmandV said...

The Kelsey Smith case hit a chord in people, including me, who also have daughters Kelsey's age. If it could happen to her, it could happen to anyone.

I have been in contact with the Kelsey Smith Foundation and they are doing great work. People deal with tragedies differently. The Smiths are dealing with it in a positive way.

See my reflections on the one year aniversary: