One is a tragedy, 76 is a massacre

SKS editorial staff

This weekend was marked by two major news stories: the death of Amy Winehouse and the massacre in Oslo, Norway.

While both stories were characterized by death, they are decidedly different.

In Norway, the death toll continues to rise as bodies are uncovered from the island of Utoya where Anders Behring Breivik disguised himself as a police officer and proceeded to open fire on members of a political retreat.

Winehouse, who has a notorious history of drug use, was found dead in her home Saturday. An autopsy released Tuesday proved inconclusive.

Messages of grief for Winehouse on Facebook and Twitter were met with criticism from those who felt it was inappropriate to grieve for Winehouse in light of the Norway massacre.

But why was it so inappropriate?

Is it because Winehouse was just one woman compared to 76?

Is it because Winehouse died of what people assume was a drug overdose while the victims in Norway were viciously gunned down?

Is it that the prospect of a domestic terrorist hits a little too close to America’s deepest fears?

We think it’s probably a combination of all these factors.

Nonetheless, we argue that in a world where media and news delivery is becoming increasingly personal, people can’t criticize someone for simply not caring about something.

How many Americans knew the Norway victims?

Conversely, how many Americans were fans of Amy Winehouse?

There are arguably more people who were touched daily by Winehouse than people who had stake in Norway.

After all, music is an extremely personal experience. Are the people who loved Winehouse supposed to ignore the death of someone they were invested in because 76 strangers in a foreign country were killed?

We don’t think so.

Would it be wrong not to care about the tragedy in Oslo? Yes. But we can’t make people care about it any more than we can make people register to vote or give up listening to Rebecca Black.

What is wrong is criticizing people for mourning someone they cared about.

No death should go unnoticed, and while a person may feel that the life of one person is more valuable than another’s, in the end it boils down to personal opinion.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.