It seems that many people want to hang the blame on someone. Surely there must be someone to blame?
What about the radio announcers? They did it. Let's blame them. But is it really their fault? Should the buck stop with them?
I am a radio producer and I can tell you that the buck does not stop with them. It was a pre-recorded “interview”, most likely put together and approved by the producers and also approved by the 2DayFM legal department. It wasn’t an “on air, live, spur of the moment thing” by the announcers only. It may not have even been their initial idea – producers often come up with ideas for a radio show.
I have used the term “interview” above very loosely. Did the nurses they spoke to know the call was being recorded? Did they know it was going to be played on air? Perhaps if this discussion occurred after the pranking it may never have gone this far.
But this is all speculation. Just like everyone else I am speculating as to what actually happened.
Regardless of the speculation and who should be blamed, there has been a terrible tragedy. A tragedy that noone could have predicted. No amount of speculating will ever bring this mother back to her two children.
What makes a person take their own life? How long is a piece of string?
The tipping point for some is so tiny; like a twig that will snap with the slightest amount of pressure - whereas for others there is a much larger margin; like the solidness of a tree trunk.
We, nor the radio announcers, or her colleagues, or perhaps even her family knew of Jacintha Saldanha's tipping point.
But sadly and tragically, for her and her family, it was reached.
So, now I ask, is the loss of one life worth another?
The public hatred towards the two announcers has been vile and incredibly vicious. I’m certainly not defending what they did – prank and gotcha calls can be mildly amusing, but unless they meet all the broadcasting rules they should never go to air.
Leaving that to one side … just what do the public want from these young and inexperienced announcers?
Their scalps? Their heads on plates? An eye for an eye?
Yes, they have made a mistake and will now have to live with the consequences.
Do we know what their tipping point is? No we don’t. Nonetheless, we really should care about it.
Last Wednesday … a vibrant, beautiful, talented, caring woman; a daughter, a sister, an aunty and a friend; someone I count as my friend … took her own life.
For most of us this has come as a great shock.
There was no person more vibrant, happier, confident and full of life.
However those in her inner circle knew her torment. They knew of her battle with mental illness.
For most of us, we didn’t.
We assumed she was happy. She was okay.
Her tipping point was last Wednesday.
No one knew.
I am sad and reflective.
I tweeted this last night.
“Often it's the person you least suspect who may be sad & trapped in their own private mental hell. We should pay more attention to each other.”
It was retweeted a lot.
The message is important.
We should play a lot nicer together.
At the end of everything, we are all the same. We arrive in the same way and we leave in the same way. We just have different stuff that happens in between and we all make mistakes along the way.
Every single one of us.
Let’s start caring a little more about each others stuff and tread a little more gently when mistakes are made.