Let the family have their time. This is their tragedy, not ours

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News Editor

Friday, March 22 2013

When a tragedy like the one this past week happens, it is human nature to want to know who was involved.

We are wanting to know what level of grief we should feel. We ask, "Was this someone close to me? Or was this someone for whom I would feel sorry, but not be affected much in my day-to-day life?"

There is no reason for anyone to publicly publish the name of the woman involved in the incident without the permission of the family. Whether that's in print, broadcast on radio or on TV or posted online, the family has requested privacy. We don't know why. We don't need to know why. At the core of it, this is their tragedy, not ours. 

Some may argue that in a small, tight-knit community like Gabriola, we have a need to know. But in a tight-knit community like Gabriola, we will know. Eventually. When the family is ready to share that with us. But it does not need to be published now.

Right now, and especially for the next week or so, the eyes of more than Gabriola are on our island (and our online community boards). People are watching those boards just waiting for someone to put her name up there so they can publish it saying it was made public knowledge. If we are the tight-knit community we claim to be, we will respect and protect the privacy of our own islanders above and beyond whatever potential worry we might personally be feeling around these events.

The family has no wish for this woman’s name (or their names) to be part of what is already national news. We have to respect the choices of the living. They are going to live with the consequences of Wednesday’s events far longer than any of the rest of us. They need to be able to grieve. Not be bombarded by the questions of a media system too eager to tear in to a story, rip it (and those involved) to pieces and then move on to the next body.

For now, we need to let this family, the ones left behind, have their time to themselves.

Their pain is greater than any worry or concern any of the rest of us can possibly be feeling.