Monday, October 26, 2009

Trial by media

Like much of the nation I was riveted to the news accounts of the flying saucer shaped balloon as it soared across the sky and felt dismay at the idea that a small boy could be inside. While it was still in the air I mentioned to several people that I hoped the boy was hiding somewhere because he was afraid after he let Daddy's big balloon lose that he'd be in big trouble.

When it landed and was empty, I felt relief and when they began reports of the ground search I thought they should start the hunt at home under the boy's bed and then expand to the yard and even check the dog house if they had one. When he was found hiding in a garage attic I laughed. Yep, laughed. Now that was the kind of thing either of my son's would have pulled at that age.

Immediately the hue and cry began that it had all been a hoax. Tonight they had a whole show about it with the "experts" interviewing some guy who sold copies of emails from the dad and saying they were proof of the hoax. Then they played some horrid rap video of the three boys using foul language to impress upon us how horrible this man is as further proof of the hoax. They have already convicted him and are wanting the powers that be to extract payment and punishment from the Father and they hope, the mother based on all the "evidence" they have uncovered.

So, what exactly is all this evidence? They show me that this family is in need of some real counselling, and Daddy needs some intensive therapy. From their "evidence" I see...

1. Daddy is a wannabe scientist.
2 Daddy is a big time publicity seeker.
3. Daddy was creating a flying saucer shaped helium balloon in the back yard and (IF) the emails are genuine he planned to use it in a publicity seeking stunt.
4. That the boys were aware the balloon was part of a plan for a TV show.
5. That Daddy had yelled at the boy earlier for playing in his precious project.

Hmmm, So Daddy had plans for a publicity stunt with a helium saucer...

OK, I've heard of brighter ideas but since the silly thing was still tethered in the back yard no stunt had been perpetrated yet. BUT, since it was capable of carrying the weight of a small boy it was obviously a dangerous thing to leave unattended with three very active boys about. So, I could understand a demand for an investigation into child endangerment.

But did Daddy plan the stunt to be that his son was missing and might be on board the balloon or did the boy prevent Daddy's hoax from happening by releasing it, hiding because Daddy would be furious, and inadvertantly created a bigger "hoax" in the process?

According to the trial by media, Daddy is guilty. I think they are wrong. I do not believe Daddy told the boy to hide or that this was the particular Hoax he was creating the saucer for. Who would trust a child that young to remain voluntarily hidden while all the fun was happening without poppin his head out to see what was happening? However, I would expect him to stay hidden if he thought he was in big trouble. And with what they have shown of this family Daddy would be a pretty scary man to face when he saw his big balloon flying off before his scheduled performance.

So, do I think they need to drop the whole thing? No! I think the media needs to back off and that Child protective services needs to step in before Daddy gets one of them killed.