Tuesday, December 12, 2006

James Kim: Blame the victim

Warning: This is an irk alert...

The people on the west coast of the United States probably have been following this story closer than I have. And, I wasn't going to mention anything about the tragic story of James Kim and his family. But, I read a story this morning that really put me over the edge.

For those who may not know, James Kim and his family (wife and two young daughters) were stranded in the mountains of Oregon for approximately a week. I believe on day five or six of their ordeal, which included hearing helicopters but unable to get their attention, Mr. Kim decided to venture out to try to rescue his family. His family was eventually rescued, but he was not.

The first set of media stories portrayed him as a hero - which is what he was. Initial stories called him "Superhuman." As I did more research, I found out he was a senior editor for Cnet.Com. And, I remember seeing this guy doing reviews for computer and electronic stuff. Great guy. He mentioned his daughter a lot when he did his video reviews for cnet.

Now, the media stories are shifting. The story that really got me going this morning had this to say about the Kim family...
When we finally reached the spot where the Kims' car stopped after a long, winding journey, our traveling companions -- Sgt. Joel Heller, Josephine County Sheriff's office, and John James, owner of the Black Bar Lodge -- both had the same exact thought: Why did the Kims continue down such a desolate path when they so clearly did not know where they were going?
This just fires me up! I mean, this family was lost. It was obvious that they have never been there before. It was snowing. The signs were not clearly marked. Even with all these facts, they are blaming this poor family? I don't get it.

For the rest of the article, I was waiting for the passage saying, "We're raising these questions because we do not want this tragedy to happen again to another family." The tone of the article remained on the Kim family.

I know I shouldn't let the media bother me like this, but I think of the two little girls that are left behind. When they read about their brave father in 10-20-30 years, what will their reaction be when they come across stories like this essentially blaming their father for getting the family lost and leaving them behind? In my view, media stories like this are irresponsible. That's my 2 cents worth.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more...not only is this somewhat heartless, but it also ignores the core fact that the family was LOST. When you are LOST you don't always make great decisions, because you don't know what the correct answer is. If the Kim's had become stuck because they turned around 100 yards from a safe exit, would people blame them for not continuing ahead?

The more I think about this, the more angry I get that someone cut through that barricade lock, making the roadway accessible when it should not have been. There is no doubt in my mind that whoever was responsible for that knows what they did, and they are going to have to live with the results. If it were me, I know that I would feel responsible and the feeling with stay with me for a long time to come.

-Marc

Anonymous said...

I think it is way too scary to admit that mother nature is more powerful than we are. It is so much more comforting, in a sad sadistic way to blame people for their own mistakes. If we start owning up to the fact that the world has it in for us... Well, it won't be pretty. This story is just so sad.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. It's such a tragic situation that I hate to even think about it. What really angers me is that I heard that the particular road involved was only open because vandals had cut a chain or something.

healthpsych said...

This kind of thing always happens. Same thing happened with two backpackers in the NT (Joanne Lees and Peter Falconio, the latter was never seen again). There was a pretty nasty backlash against her because she survived. It really makes me mad.

always learning said...

It's always so much easier for bystanders with hindsight to look back and add commentary on what he should/shouldn't have done. He did what he thought best for his family, and should be remembered for his courage.

Basey the Barber said...

Maybe we should check the weather,

Carol said...

I agree with you mostly. I think the Kims were unwitting victims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I guess what I don't understand is why they didn't have GPS in their car if Mr. Kim was a techie? I mean, the guy probably knew all about it...Not that it would have worked once their battery died, but we'll never know, will we?
Basically it was Mrs. Kim's cellphone that saved the rest of the family.

I also wonder if they did any research on their final destination before they left home? I saw a special on CNN on Monday night that said the place was very remote. They had to have known that.

But given all the whatifs, it's still a terrible shame because he walked so far (16 miles) and never really got any further than about a mile from where the rest of his family was.

Truly sad.

The Curmudgeon said...

I kind of wondered about the same things Carol did -- you'd think a high-tech guy like Mr. Kim would have had better gadgets available....

I do agree, however, that it is cruel to blame the victim in light of what happened to him.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. I sure do feel like it's time the American public, hold the Media accountable for what they say. But we've become a country that does not give two sh*ts in hell about anyones feelings, only getting the story out there, at all costs and selling said story. America is in a sad state of affairs and this is only one piece. I could go on and on but I will spare you. I do agree with you Doctor!