An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Tuesday, August 19, 2003  

Murder or tragedy?

A son arrives at his parents house in rural Roscommon and finds his parents shot dead. Its immediately clear that his father shot his mother and then himself. A murder and a suicide. And a tragedy. Today, Women's Aid criticised elements of the media for describing the incident in Roscommon as a "tragic domestic incident". They say its a murder. And most female victims of murder are killed by their husbands/partners/boyfriends/ex's. So when does a murder become a tragic domestic incident?

In contrast, also on Sunday a guy is shot in a pub in Dublin. The descriptions used in the media to describe this are: execution, murder, gunned down, and assasinated. These are dramatic phrases depicting a criminal act committed by an evil force. But 'tragic domestic incident' indicates an accident, an Act of God, a terrible mistake. And yet, the wife was murdered by her husband. Of that there is no doubt. Yet nowhere will you read that the husband 'gunned down' or 'executed' his wife before turning the gun on himself.

I believe that the Roscommon incident was a tragedy, but I think its fair to ask why the murder of a wife is treated in a sympathetic, delicate manner and the murder of a man in a pub is dramatised.

posted by Sarah | 14:06 0 comments
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