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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkEditorials | October 2009 

Grisly Mexican Photos Raise Serious Questions
email this pageprint this pageemail usWinnipeg Free Press
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October 02, 2009


The photographs of Sunday's killings put to rest any idea there is any glory or excitement in running with criminals.
Mexican newspapers ran graphic photographs of two Kamloops men shot dead outside a Puerto Vallarta condominium.

Nothing was censured as the photographer covered the death scene. The pictures were close enough to the blood-splattered bodies of Jeffrey Ivans and Gordon Kendall to show the bullet wounds. It would have been an excruciatingly painful picture for any family to view.

Those kinds of photos are simply not tolerated in Canada or even the United States. Providing even written descriptions with too much detail runs the risk of offending reader sensibilities. Canadians do not want to read, hear or, especially, see the nitty gritty details of violent attacks.

We don't blame them. In fact, this newspaper, like most Canadian newspapers, has clear policies on just how far to go in covering upsetting stories. Even with those policies, readers who believe we have printed commentary or photos designed only to "sell newspapers" criticize us.

While there should be nothing wrong with a newspaper operation wanting to sell newspapers since that is the business, news reporters think more about covering a story than selling the newspaper.

News people who cover crime may argue in favour of taking a page from the Mexican newspapers in order to drive home the ugly world of drug trafficking. Some people may be able to glorify the crime world by dismissing the notion it could harm them.

The photographs of Sunday's killings put to rest any idea there is any glory or excitement in running with criminals. While the two Kamloops men may not have been guilty of any crimes, they somehow came to the attention of killers either through mistaken identity or untoward activity.

Other media have reported that Ivans and Kendall are known to the RCMP although Ivans' mother questioned that he was in Mexico for anything more than legitimate business.

If we thought running photographs of what happens to people who get caught up in the underworld would help convince our youth that what may seem like a quick way to make money is too dangerous to risk, we might reconsider our policies.

Unfortunately, it's only the innocent who get the message and the families of the victims who suffer from the exposure.

Canadian newspapers can only continue to report the stories of gangland wars and hope the people who need to get the message will get it.

No one should take for granted the serious risk of dealing in drugs whether it's marijuana or cocaine. The photos in the Mexican newspapers demonstrate a horrific lesson.



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