Grrr. In looking around for that last post on the 2004 Shinchon stabbing incident involving the American GI who was apparently attacked by 5 Korean assailants (this is all in the court records and isn't a matter of dispute, but rather an interesting glossing over by Korean media), I came across some interesting stuff. This one, from Joongang:
November 24, 2004 ㅡ The Seoul High Court of Appeals yesterday upheld a 30-month sentence given earlier this year to a U.S. soldier for the attempted murder of a Korean man.
After drinking with friends, Private First Class John Christopher Humphreys became involved in a quarrel in the street in the Sinchon area of Seoul on May 15.
A Korean man, identified as Mr. Park, intervened in the dispute and was stabbed by Mr. Humphreys.
I love how the Joongang Daily skips over that neatly by saying he "became involved." Surely had he been on a drunken rampage, attacking innocent passersby, there would have been something more descriptive and colorful than "become involved." Let me tell you that I have nearly "become involved" in many incidents on subways and other public places. Funny thing was, it was always me not starting the yelling, screaming, , pushing, spitting, or grabbing. And I don't even have a shaved head or flat belly.
This whole post started, however, when I came across this post from Oh My News, a "news source" with which I've never been friendly, in my followup looking around for the post below (and hence written before) this one.
They have an interview with the "photographer" who seems to want to spend more time trying to be a political tool pundit lauding the need for more anti-Americanism and "coming to understand it" after he, in his own words, ran up on the incident well after it started, after he heard someone say, "That bastard is stabbing someone!"
More than talking about his craft as a "photographer" – of which his tool of choice, prominently featured in the picture, is the same 3.2 megapixel point-and-shoot Canon that I recommended my mom buy for her vacation trips – he talks about how he understands why people should categorically hate America.
Hey, that's cool – I'm one of American society's biggest critics, but I try to base my critiques (not categorical hatred) on reason more than blind, uninformed prejudice, exemplified in his being literal "witness" to an event that he only came up on the last part of.
Again, he wasn't around when to see the fight, which even the court acknowledges was started by the Korean men in question. Funny how that never made the paper, how the word of a hack "photographer" who didn't even witness the incident in question gets priority over the actual court proceedings that are available as part of the public record (2004-go-hap-936 from the 22nd Criminal Dept of the Seoul Central District Court).
Yeah, pretty damning stuff. Considering that they were all taken after the fact. Hey, I wasn't there, either, but apparently the testimony is all there in the court record, none of which asserts that the GI's were anything but attacked first, and by several men. Here's a version of the story you haven't heard. Sure – it has an agenda. But AntiMigun.org, Voice of the People or USA Crime don't?
By the way, just so you all know, a group of nerdy and nice Fulbright English teachers were going into a bar, talking amongst ourselves and not-yet-inebriated (remember, we were walking in, not out) when one of the last members of the party was hit on the back of his head with a metal folding chair, while his two Korean attackers ran off.
Good thing they did, since we wouldn't have had the chance to defend ourselves and end up in Korean jail.
Now, I'm not defending that GI's bad judgement in carrying around a knife – hmm, I wonder why he would ever think he'd need it, though? – that would only get him in worse trouble than any that would find him. But come on – the newspaper and that "photographer" saying "he bows down his head before the bravery of the victim" (yes, he really said that in the article) is just wrong – how can you play witness to something you didn't even see?
Ohhh. That really gets me. Netizens describe him as a "hero" and as "brave". For snapping a picture after those in question had been subdued and as part of the crowd? Whatever it is – he's just a guy in the crowd with a party camera in his pocket who took some rubbernecking shots, then got lauded for his "bravery" as a "citizen journalist."
I know I'm coming to this all late, but damn.
That really chaps my hide. No matter what poor judgement the Shinchon GI did or didn't exercise in carrying a knife with him or for using it (I wasn't there, either, of course, there were certain hugely mitigating circumstances that call into question the notion of the "crazed American GI tearing up the streets", which certainly should shed doubt on the Korean media's labeling the Korean guy who did the attacking in the first place any sort of "hero", which should call into question that hack with a toy camera – Bae Sang Beom – being a "photographer" or a "journalist", and should definitely cast doubt as to whether Oh My News is really even a "newspaper."
Bae Sang Beom – you're not a "photographer" or a "witness" or a "documentarian," nor are you journalistically honest enough to admit to yourself that you actually didn't see (or photograph) anything but a couple of GI's being held by a large crowd, waaaaay after the fact. Sounds familiar to me, from what I've seen with my own two eyes and with my own cameras.
I'm a photographer and I know photographers, and you, Bae Sang Beom, are not a "photographer" or anything but a one-hit hack. Enjoy your 15 minutes of luck-based fame.
Ooooooooooh, I'm irritated.
Man, oh man! I'm just on a roll of snappy posts this week, ain't I?