Letter: Outpouring of grief

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Will Deborah Orr ("Death by television", 28 April) kindly speak for herself when she insists that "we" all mourn Jill Dando even though we did not know her, just as "we" were supposed to do for Diana, Princess of Wales. While obviously concerned at this brutal murder, I am not in the slightest bit personally involved.

As with Diana, an outburst of mawkish gushing, not from the people but from journalists, obscures the real issues. The Princess was driven to her death by someone under the influence of drink and drugs and driving too fast, in a badly signed tunnel not built to the best standards. This scenario is all too typical in France, where three times as many people die on the roads as here. I drive round Paris several times a year and might have hoped that Diana's death would provoke a discussion of these issues. Instead, we get an outburst of cod grief.

In the case of Jill Dando, the villain of the piece is the BBC. Programmes like Crimewatch look at crime in a manner both prurient and sanctimonious. They create the myth that we can all catch criminals and improve society if we are vigilant enough and in so doing sideline the real reasons for rising crime. Meanwhile, the likes of Jill Dando are sitting targets.


London N10