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Thread: Father kills his 3 year old daughter. Media coverage, is it appropriate?

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    Politics.ie Member Druidess's Avatar
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    Default Father kills his 3 year old daughter. Media coverage, is it appropriate?

    Something has been bothering me for the last few days and I have hesitated to post as the events are so fresh. However after reading the most recent Irish Times coverage I feel compelled to.

    As we all probably know by now, a horrible event took place in West Cork where local farmer Martin McCarthy drowned his three year old daughter and then himself. Apparently he planned to kill his daughter because his marriage was disintegrating and he feared his wife would take the daughter away from him. This was written in a long and detailed explanation note which his wife found and which sparked a search, leading to the discovery of the bodies of father and daughter.

    Family in shock as Cork father who drowned his child defends himself in suicide note
    Community mourns father and daughter - The Irish Times - Fri, Mar 08, 2013

    At the funeral which was today, framed photos of Mr McCarthy and of little Clarissa holding a flower were placed upon the coffin along with a cuddly white sheep.

    Chief celebrant, Fr Anthony O’Mahony spoke of the loss in the following terms:
    "We never know what goes on in a person’s head - if we did, maybe we wouldn’t be here," said Fr O’Mahony as he remembered the popular farmer and the daughter to whom he was devoted and who clearly lit up his life with her arrival in 2009.

    Fr O’Mahony told the packed church with mourners spilling out into the church yard that although God "did not call Clarissa and Martin", now that they were with him, "he will not turn away from them but will look after them."" It is said that Mr McCarthy’s in-law told the funeral congregation how devoted he was to his daughter. The events are spoken of in terms of a 'tragedy.'

    I find the sympathetic narrative that invariably surrounds such events, where men and women kill their own children, to be entirely inappropriate. It seems that the basic fact of the matter, that a child or children deliberately had their lives snuffed out, is avoided. It seems that much of the media coverage is referring to the killing of an innocent three year old girl by one of her parents as an 'accident' and a 'tragedy.' In my mind it is neither of these things. Obviously something drove the man to do such an evil thing but the fact remains - he and he alone is responsible for ending the life of this little girl.

    Is it really appropriate to speak about what a great father he was and how much he loves his child at the funeral? Is it appropriate for the media to highlight it as a tragedy and an accident?
    The facts and nothing but the facts.

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    He killed himself and his daughter as he didnt want her taken away from him? Stupid, stupid man.

    RIP to the poor child.

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    Politics.ie Member DavidCaldwell's Avatar
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    I don't know what is the best reaction.
    An East Irish

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    Politics.ie Member Mr. Bumble's Avatar
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    Perhaps it is too soon to be wondering about the media's role in this tragic case. Perhaps the people involved should be left alone to try to come to terms with this horror. I hope this topic sinks without a trace.
    Cry your hardest now, it opens the lungs, washes the countenance, exercises the eyes and softens down the temper. So cry away.

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    I would agree with the priest, when he said "We never know what goes on in a person’s head - if we did, maybe we wouldn’t be here''
    But to answer your question.. ''Is it really appropriate to speak about what a great father he was and how much he loves his child at the funeral? Is it appropriate for the media to highlight it as a tragedy and an accident?''

    It's my belief that it's only appropriate to highlight these tragedies, if we as individuals and a society can learn something from them.
    RIP
    Last edited by max99; 9th March 2013 at 02:25 AM.

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    Politics.ie Member Morgellons's Avatar
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    What I read in the Independent today kind of shocked me:

    Tragic Clarissa McCarthy (3) buried in her father

    I don't think this is appropriate either. It's absolving the man of responsibility. It sets a bad moral precedent. I know the Christain ethos is to forgive, but quite honestly I found this weird and morbid.

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    Politics.ie Member Druidess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Bumble View Post
    Perhaps it is too soon to be wondering about the media's role in this tragic case. Perhaps the people involved should be left alone to try to come to terms with this horror. I hope this topic sinks without a trace.
    That was my initial reaction. Then as I kept reading the media coverage that seemed to skirt around the issue I thought of similar cases of parents killing their child or children. This made me question whether the narrative surrounding such events is actually a good thing? By ignoring it and treating it as a private family matter, we are not helping at all. We need to analyse why and how some people end up thinking they have the right to kill their own kids when events are not going their way
    The facts and nothing but the facts.

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    Politics.ie Member Druidess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgellons View Post
    What I read in the Independent today kind of shocked me:

    Tragic Clarissa McCarthy (3) buried in her father

    I don't think this is appropriate either. It's absolving the man of responsibility. It sets a bad moral precedent. I know the Christain ethos is to forgive, but quite honestly I found this weird and morbid.
    I feel judgemental saying it, but yes, the man who killed his child is absolved of all responsibility in the coverage. Is this really a good thing? I think not, anymore than glorifying suicide is a good thing. Perhaps by absolving such people of responsibility, more are encouraged to follow suit? I don't know, but like you I find it glaringly weird.
    The facts and nothing but the facts.

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    Politics.ie Member westernyelp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Bumble View Post
    Perhaps it is too soon to be wondering about the media's role in this tragic case. Perhaps the people involved should be left alone to try to come to terms with this horror. I hope this topic sinks without a trace.
    Burying your head in the sand helps no one

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    Quote Originally Posted by gracethepirate View Post
    Killing your own child just to "get even" with your spouse it utterly wrong. It's as if the child is the murdering parent's possession not a human being with his or her own destiny. I don't think I'd mourn the murdering parent at all, and if s/he was still alive I'd hope s/he got the highest possible sentence.

    There is a recent case where a Saudi imam abused and killed his very young daughter (3 or 5 yo - cannot remember). There was such public outrage, even Saudi Arabia, that the royal family did get him jailed rather than just paying a fine.
    Yes I read about the Saudi case. He horrifically sexually abused the tiny girl after divorcing the mother and refusing her access and was then released after paying a fine. I am happy to hear that he was actually jailed after the uproar.
    The facts and nothing but the facts.

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