Where’s the tape? Amer­ica re­sponds to video

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

We only re­spond if there’s video. That’s one les­son that can be drawn from the be­lated re­ac­tion to foot­ball player Ray Rice knock­ing out his fi­ancee in an el­e­va­tor. Rice was ar­rested back in Fe­bru­ary, and in July was sus­pended for two games. But once video of the ac­tual punch sur­faced this week, he was banned in­def­i­nitely.

Time and again, we are in­formed of out­rages — Rice’s do­mes­tic vi­o­lence; be­head­ings and rape by the fa­nat­ics call­ing them­selves the Is­lamic State; Don­ald Ster­ling’s racism; abuse of pris­on­ers at Abu Ghraib — but only grow out­raged and force ac­tion when video or audio or images emerge.

How many in­jus­tices get short shrift be­cause no­body’s recorder was rolling?

“It’s frus­trat­ing,” said Val­enda Camp­bell, who is in charge of cre­at­ing video and photo images for CARE, one of the world’s largest hu­man­i­tar­ian or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Camp­bell and her col­leagues at At­lanta-based CARE call it the “CNN ef­fect”: when TV cam­eras ar­rive at a cri­sis, do­na­tions start pour­ing in.

“We have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to help one another. Ev­ery day we see th­ese emer­gen­cies, and no­body seems to be aware of them,” said Camp­bell, whose or­ga­ni­za­tion is now re­spond­ing to hu­man­i­tar­ian crises in South Su­dan, Syria, the Cen­tral African Repub­lic and Gaza.

She has learned to work within this re­al­ity. Her job as se­nior man­ager for mar­ket­ing and cre­ative ser­vices is to doc­u­ment images of dis­as­ter and in­jus­tice — and the heal­ing that fol­lows — which help gen­er­ate the funds CARE needs to pro­vide as­sis­tance.

“It al­ways goes back to the old adage that see­ing is be­liev­ing,” Camp­bell said.

“We are visual be­ings, and more and more this is a visual cul­ture,” she con­tin­ued. “See­ing things pro­vides more in­for­ma­tion and puts a hu­man face on what­ever the sit­u­a­tion is, and helps peo­ple re­late on a much more per­sonal level to what’s go­ing on.”

In the Rice case, video was re­leased Feb. 19 of the Bal­ti­more Ravens run­ning back drag­ging his un­con­scious fi­ancee, Janay Palmer, out of a casino el­e­va­tor, after what po­lice de­scribed as an al­ter­ca­tion.

Rice, who mar­ried Palmer the fol­low­ing month, was charged with as­sault, which car­ried a penalty of up to five years be­hind bars. Charges were later dropped when Rice en­tered a pre­trial in­ter­ven­tion pro­gram. The NFL sus­pended him for two games, there was wide­spread crit­i­cism of the penalty as too light — and we moved on.

Then TMZ.com re­leased video from inside the el­e­va­tor, of the knock­out punch it­self. There was an enor­mous up­roar. The NFL sus­pended Rice and the Bal­ti­more Ravens cut him from the team. Many pre­dict he may never play in the NFL again.

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