Once again, the ‘great british meedja’ have excelled themselves, printing names of accident victims before families have been told. We all like to be first with the news whether it be a family matter or the next political shamefest, but when it comes to rather more private and personal affairs surely there is a need to exercise some restraint?
The sport of rallying is small enough for news to travel rapidly right across the nation and we all know by now the personalities involved, but surely the families need time to absorb and cope with such terrible news in private without having it splashed across the nation’s news outlet headlines. It’s often said that bad news travels fastest and although the Police try to keep a lid on these things, there’s always someone desperate to break the news to a wider public.
For their part, the Police face a thankless task and it’s easy to be critical, but there are also legal reasons for names to be withheld. That’s why event organisers and officials are asked not to speak publicly about such events as Police investigations will have to take place and any rumours or ill-founded speculation can jeopardise the official investigation. We may not like it, but that’s just how it is, and it will take however long it will take.
You may not have been aware but this event was being watched with much greater ‘official’ interest than in the past. This was the first closed public road rally here since last year’s tragedy in the Borders. It was also the first to be run under the new safety regime, hence the official scrutiny.
As part of that new safety regime, the Civil Servant charged with working with the MSA on the Motor Sports Event Safety Review group, the Safety Delegate and senior representatives from the MSA were all in attendance at this event. Couple that with a Police force sensitive to criticism, which still has two ongoing motor sports accident investigations, and you can only imagine the painstaking analysis that is now underway.
It is to be hoped that they don’t get distracted by the perceived need to judge and act quickly, and stick to the facts. In this instance, individuals who knew the risks only too well were involved and while that doesn’t in any way lessen the tragedy it should focus minds and intentions.
Life is a risk, and while it’s right and just to try and reduce those risks, accidents will always happen when young men and women push themselves to their limits in whatever endeavour they choose to pursue.
So let’s grieve privately just now, think of the families and friends of those involved, and rise above the morals and shallow thinking of certain sections of the press and social media pundits.