|Image courtesy of The Guardian|
I am not normally one to jump on the super-hot topics in the news, but this one is perhaps the necessary exception. For those of you not from Britain, and therefore unfamiliar with the maelstrom unfolding here, please read the story here.
In summary, it has become clear that a private detective hacked into the mobile phone mail-box of the murdered teenager, Milly Dowler - while she was still missing and before her body was discovered some months after her tragic disappearance.
The technician at the centre of this revelation cited pressure and the expectations of the News of the World to produce results as his 'mitigation'. I grant you that he did apologise which is more than many do.
I wasn't always a priest, so know a little about the pressure of delivering results. I even acknowledge that most trades have their 'dark arts' (those ways we maximise on 'opportunities' in ways that are not necessarily recordable). In this I am a realist. I also know that a man would not have desecrated the agonies of a family searching for their missing child without the tacit approval of someone higher up the food chain. I do, though, find myself wondering how the mental processes took place. The technician at the centre of all of this, Glenn Mulcaire, must have made some choices. They will have revolved around that "all in day's work" thing, and as I am quite expecting to discover, to have been acts in line with an endemic moral failure of the newspaper concerned.
The condemnations of Mr Mulcaire and his titian-be-curled boss are many and varied and I need not add to them, but I find myself wondering what else is ignored or tolerated in largely normal walks of life. I would gamble that most of us have been bystanders to a malpractice or two in our time (even the ones that seem minuscule by comparison); I know I have. I am normal and I have had to pay the bills, so of course I have. While we shake our heads in justifiable disgust at this greed-fuelled abuse of privacy, we may also wonder what has passed us by in the past, so that we all may not be bystanders in future.
I would contend that buying the News of the World newspaper is to condone and support the actions of Mr. Mulcaire and his employers, incidentally.