Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Should the Killer Whale Video Be Released?

A KILLER WHALE killed a trainer at SeaWorld during a performance in February. Security video captured the entire episode. Should it be made available to the public and shown on broadcast news (and the Internet)?

The video was taken into custody by sheriffs, and therefore became a part of the public record. A judge put a temporary ban on the film's release, appeasing the family of the victim and SeaWorld staffers. Over the past week, the two sides were trying to negotiate a deal for the media to see the footage but not publish or air it.

Is there any benefit to the public by showing the video? Does the public have the right to see it? Should the media be allowed to access what is now public record? Or does the family have a right to seal the video showing the death of their loved one?

15 comments:

Dan P. said...

I don't see anything wrong with the footage being sealed. It's not like there's a criminal case or any real purpose in releasing it.

I actually wrote about this incident in my blog recently...
http://danpov.blogspot.com/2010/03/killer-whale.html

Christopher Malo said...

I think it's up to Sea World, not even the families.

Also worth mentioning my shock at the shock of people when a wild animal in captivity with the name "killer whale," kills...

Dan P. said...

That's part of what I wrote about...the only orcas (they are actually a species of dolphin, not whale) to ever kill people were captive ones; it has never happened in the wild. Which is part of the reason I argue that orcas should not be kept in captivity purely for our entertainment.

http://danpov.blogspot.com/2010/03/killer-whale.html

Berryman, A said...

I feel as if revealing the footage publicly is a problem, the media can be a hold of the information to broadcast it, but not the video. I feel as if the family memebers of the seaworld workers should not have to go through with people having excess to there video.

Theodore Wohlsen said...

It is wrong to prevent this video from being released. It has a large quantity of scientific value and makes the public aware that Killer wales are not play toys. The wales are there to observe their behavior scientifically. People are getting the wrong idea if they think they are there for strictly the entertainment of the public. The moral of the story... "Free Willy". The whales want out. This girl was in the business of science (biology), and if you ever heard of giving up your body to science, that's what she did. She would have wanted it this way, i.e. to be publicized. Lesson of the story. Stay the hell away from animals that could swallow you whole or squish you like a bug because they will. Idiots. I do believe we have the technology to observe nature without jailing it and risking our own lives. Hopefully this story will bring us all back to the realities of science. If your going to domesticate an animal make it an animal that you can physically control. In the past year there was a story about a domesticated primate that went apeshit all over their "mother". Those pictures were released and trust me, if your squeamish don't look it up, here is that story. http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/02/17/chimp.attack/index.html. Lesson of that story... don't domesticate a large chimp. These people are idiots. Lesson learned? This is absolutely important information. Is the video footage necessary? The more information the better and the greater the impact. Scientists can watch it. Why can't you?

Dan P. said...

There's literally no reason for keeping orcas in captivity other than entertainment. Although orcas are considered endangered, organizations like Sea World can't claim they breed orcas for conservation purposes because captive-born orcas are dying faster than they are being born and are more likely to suffer from all kinds of health problems that wild orca rarely have to deal with. More importantly, orcas can't function in the wild without a pod, the formation of which doesn't happen in captivity.
Putting these animals in captivity puts them in a dangerous, foreign environment that is so unlike its natural habitat that no useful scientific data can be gathered from observation of captive orcas.

Feel free to read Spectacular nature : corporate culture and the Sea World experience by Susan Davis

Theodore Wohlsen said...

For even more information watch South Park FREE. VOD is awesome.
"Free Willzyx
Episode 913 (Original Air Date: Nov 30, 2005)
A “talking” whale inspires the fourth-graders to risk everything to return him to his family. With the police on their tails, the boys enlist the help of a foreign government and embark upon an adventure you’ll not soon forget. One in which the boys learn just how far you would go for a friend."

Tim said...

I think they should ask the family before they would release something like that. Example, the Olympics were wrong in showing the the luger basically die on film. That isn't something people want to see everyday. Ask the families first and see if it is appropriate.

Theodore Wohlsen said...

Tim said "That isn't something people want to see everyday". People aren't forced to watch the video.

Anyway, a large part of the population has been desensitized to the point where seeing the luger accident was no big disturbance. As for the still squeamish population they can turn away or change the channel like they usually do. Watching the video is important because it gets the audience as close to the event as possible without actually being there. Watching a video without commentary is as objective as it gets because the audience can gather the information of the event directly. I wanted to see it for myself. To generalize that "people" don't want to see is wrong.

Gillian Francella said...

I don't think there is anything wrong with showing the video, although why would anyone want to watch someone die? Really it is not helpful for the public, seeing as the public was not involved other than spectators to the event so I don't think that it's a "right" of the public. This is totally up to the family in my opinion.

Dan P. said...

Yea I agree that it doesn't really seem like an issue of rights to me. I don't really see any real benefits from releasing the footage. I wouldn't even use it in an attempt to gain support for groups that want to ban using orcas for entertainment.

http://danpov.blogspot.com/2010/03/killer-whale.html

Jeff J said...

I believe the if the family consented to have the footage released, it should be since many people are curious about the truth. However, this is not the case, and as a media with a conscience, journalists should leave the footage with the family. Otherwise, it will merely become a worldwide Youtube phenomenon.

Coffee said...

Benefit? Sensationalism. Eat it up.

Do I agree with it? That's another story.

Michael Stoltzfus said...

I don't know that's a tough call. As far as sensitivity to the families in regards to showing footage I think it's unecessary to reveal footage of the actual incident. We don't need to see that to get a comprehensive overview of the story. The footage they showed in the clip was fine though i think.

Someone else mentioned that these trainers are working will wild animals, and it shouldn't be a shock when something like this happens. I would have to agree with that, there are certain risks involved with this job and the trainers and families of the the trainers understand that. However, if this whale has a history of this kind of thing I don't know why they continued to keep it in circulation. It's like they're asking for trouble.

Frankito29 said...

why would anyone want to see someone die in a video?

No. they shouldn't release the video. its a lack of respect for the family and the guy that died.