Did ER go to far?

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I was talking to a few of my friends and we were discussing "May Day". They were mad that ER went as far as to reenact a school shooting. I agree that that was uncalled for. Columbine happened 13 months before they aired this but still I think they shouldn't have done that. One of my friends knows someone from Littleton, Colorado and when she saw it it brought back memories of Columbine. I'm surprised noone has brought this up. Why did ER do this? What good could possibly come from that? I don't know. So my question to you is do you think ER went to far this time by reenacting a school shooting? I do.

-- Cammie (rmaelhorn@home.com), June 14, 2000


I actually do too. Both my husband and I have noticed how much attention these school shootings (both Columbine and other copycat shootings) are getting from the new media and now from the most watched drama. I wonder if all this attention will keep spurring on more and more copycats. I think that we should stop glamorizing the violence (I know they didn't make it look good, but to these people any air time and attentions seems to be good in their eyes!)

-- Rachel (rachelrr@ivillage.com), June 14, 2000.

What good will pretending that it doesn't happen do? School shootings are terrible, horrifying events, but they have happened recently. ER is essentially reality based, isn't it? They address many others facets of society that are destructive and disturbing. By portraying a school shooting, they weren't condoning it, they were exploring a phenomenon that has recently manifested itself. That doesn't make it any easier to watch, or any less disturbing, but I don't think that they went too far in its portrayal.

-- KC (kcmd@hotmail.com), June 14, 2000.

Actually I was more bothered by the "All in the Family" episode. It was sensational, graphic, and seemed a cheap way to get some high ratings during sweeps. I know many people around here liked the episode, but I did not. Not about Lucy either--didn't care for her. With "May Day" I guess I was disappointed they didn't go further with the story. Once the victims were removed in the first ten minutes, the story was dropped, and the addiciton plot was picked up. Just thought they would have done more. As for why ER did this--they did it because it is a topical issue and would get high ratings. Sadly, this trick works.

-- Kelly (kmorgscrn@aol.com), June 14, 2000.

I don't think that they went too far. I was actually disappointed that they dropped it so quickly also. Yes, school shootings happen and they are very sad and disturbing, but this is TV. It was also the season finale and I thought that it was a good attention getter. It kinda set up the mood for the rest of the show. The shooting really wasn't that graphic either. I mean there was only 3 bodies at fist. I am not trying to say that school shootings aren't bad and I still get the chills when I am sitting in my high school classes and think about all of the shootings, but ER was just trying to create an attention getter and also a way to build stories for the characters (Luka and Benton).

-- Jill (Huckabe5@bellsouth.net), June 14, 2000.

I don't think they went too far. If tv shows never dealt with such issues, then they would be 'swept under the carpet' - 'let's not think about it until it happens again.' TV can be a great medium for dealing with topics like this. It can bring the realities home to many more people than a news reel. I was disappointed as ER did not go far enough with the issue. The plot never got off the ground. ER could have dealt much more with the emotional and moral issues involved. That was my problem with it - it was underplayed too much. But, I do appreciate the effort in trying to highlight the reality of the situation. Shootings in schools are the most terrible and horrifying things. But that does not mean they shouldn't be dealt with. I thought ER handled the issue with sensitivity and I don't think it was a ratings grabber. I think the Carter issue was the ratings grabber. Just my opinion.

-- Catriona (kitcat_1013@yahoo.co.uk), June 14, 2000.

I don't think ER went too far with the "May Day" shooting either. Remember, this wasn't a school shooting per se, but a holdup that went bad NEAR a school. If ER had actually portrayed a school shooting ala Columbine, et al; that would've been too far.

-- AmyE (roamyn@aol.com), June 14, 2000.

ER showed very little shooting, just injuries from it. I mean, the only shooting took place in the first 5 minutes. That's it. I was surprised -- I thought there would be a more intense saga. And it showed the pain involved -- not just people getting shot and that's it. It showed the physical suffering and the surgery and the work of the doctors...ER portrays reality and it sent a moral message I think.

-- Katie (writegrl@aol.com), June 14, 2000.

I don't think it really went too far. Like Amy said, it wasn't actually a shooting that happened inside a school, just near a school. And things like that unfortunately do happen in real life, so I think they were partly just reflecting reality, not trying to encourage it.

I used to think that Lucy's stabbing was sensational and unrealistic, but last week in my town I went to the funeral of a professor from my college who was stabbed to death in her house by someone she knew. Not that you can compare the two, because one was a fictional character and one was a real person, but I think ER just shows things like that because they really do happen in real life. They are horrible things, but they do happen. Now if ER showed stories like that every week, I would get sick of it because that WOULD be going too far!

-- Melanie (msintn@hotmail.com), June 15, 2000.

I can see how some people could be upset by it, esp. if they have experienced it first hand. I personally did not think it went too far, but I empathize with people who think it did. I also was surprised that the storyline ended so quickly...I mean, it basically consisted of the time before the opening music and then a few moments afterwards; then Benton and Kovac argued and that was the end of it. It seemed like it would be a bigger deal. I'm glad it wasn't though. I was worried it would dominate the episode.

-- Elaine (mrsclooney78@hotmail.com), June 15, 2000.

I agree with Amy and Melanie above...this wasn't really a school shooting in the way that Columbine was. It wasn't about some outcast from the school coming in a killing fellow students. Since it was an armored car holdup that went awry I think it is a little different. If they would have done the Columbine scenario that would have been a little too much. ER has always done stories like this...Carol getting held up in the store...the abortion clinic bombing...people getting caught in gang crossfire (like the pregnant woman whose unborn baby got shot)...riots gone awry...you could go on and on. This is dramatized reality based show (if that makes sense). Whether we like it or not things like this happen in real life. Law and Order does the same thing. You always hear on their previews..."ripped from the headlines". Sure it is somewhat a gimmick to get viewers, but it does get the word out that things like this happen and can happen anywhere, anytime and to anybody.

-- amanda (amanda.rehm@home.com), June 15, 2000.

ER, throughout its time on the air, has always been able to portray the other, less-viewed sides of ethical issues, particularly in the health services system. We as viewers see the medical staff's experiences when responding to riot victims, hazardous materials incidents, gang shootings, motor-vehicle collisions, attempted suicides, domestic violence, and poverty. What we saw in this episode the the medical/ethical conscience that medical professionals may encounter in an onsite response to a school shooting.

-- Karen Barry (karenbarry@aol.com), June 16, 2000.

I live in a small city near Nashville and there were two or three incidents this spring in Nashville where a school or several schools (in one case) had to be shut down because of violence nearby so the "ripped from headlines" story struck home, for me at least.

-- Diana (dilynne@juno.com), June 18, 2000.

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