Posted by: Martin Scherer | 20/04/2011

Sarasota Killings – What are the British concluding?

I am dismayed by the gutter British tabloid’s exaggerated and inaccurate reports of the Sarasota tourist killings. Will it harm Sarasota?

There are seven daily British newspapers:

Times, Independent & Guardian

The quality British press. Most readers are thirty plus. The victims were younger. Consequently, these newspapers factually report but give little front-page coverage. The angle these papers will take is that the victims were ‘typical’ sons of their middle-class readers. That does concern me. My daughter and her friends may now have second thoughts about visiting Sarasota.

The Express, The Daily Mail.

Both are tabloids. The Express coverage is much the same as the quality press.

The Mail is an increasingly sensationalist, reactionary right-wing newspaper. It will exaggerate any news report with heaps of moral indignation at anything a Brit suffers overseas.

Both papers have a wide readership cross section. Many are small business owners, who buy holiday homes in Florida resorts. The Mail’s dramatised reporting may be a deterrent, but not for long.

Star, Sun, Mirror & News of the World (Sundays)

The gutter British press. They use any tactic to sell papers. The News of the World is now the subject of a major phone tapping scandal. These ‘newspapers’ use the paparazzi to intrude into the life of anyone considered a celebrity. Celebrity these days means being in the press. Many young ignorant Brits will act anyway they can for their fifteen minutes of fame.

What I am about to say, I am ashamed to say. Frankly, you do not want gutter readers in Sarasota. Britain has a major binge-drinking problem. Amongst their readers are people who expect to party all night, vomit, fight, and urinate publicly in the streets. Such behaviour requires substantial police presence and floods A&E departments in the early hours. British youngsters can legally drink from 18 and too many start regular drinking at 16.

Cannabis consumption is widespread amongst the young in the UK. Whilst I believe cannabis should be decriminalised, the result of criminalisation is these people are forced to deal with criminals for their supply.

These people take their behaviour on holiday. The major Mediterranean resorts suffer major problems. It started in the 1970’s with 18-30 sun sea and sex holidays. They exhibit such behaviour in many European cities from Amsterdam to Prague, where they roam in drunken hoards. Late at night, they will seek out downtown and poorer areas for cannabis and many have their first experience of cocaine whilst on holiday. They can do it with impunity because local police are more likely to put them on a flight home than prosecute and jail them.

Such young drunk Brits are unlikely to visit Florida. If they do, they go to Orlando or Miami. Frankly, if British press deters such Brits from visiting Sarasota, then I will be delighted.

What is the British readership concluding?

Few Brits have a clue where Sarasota is, apart from those who have visited or have relatives on the Gulf Coast. The vast majority, and some initial news reports, assume the killing occurred in Miami, due to the Miami Vice image of Miami as the cocaine capital and previous tourist killings in Miami. The tabloid press reinforced that image by exaggerated reports of machine gun blood baths.

The overriding image left by the gutter press is that the victims were in such a dangerous area, at such a time, for one reason and one reason only. To score – cannabis, cocaine, or prostitution. That may prove grossly unfair. Those who knew the victims, flatly contradict either used drugs. It seems Sarasota police rule out drugs.

To counter the impression they created and keep the story rolling, the gutter press now claim the victims innocent dupes, lured to their deaths in a ‘honey trap’, or abducted by some gang related taxi driver for robbery and execution. Hardly the image of Sarasota or experienced travellers.The taxi driver theory comes from Mediterranean resorts where taxi drivers will take passengers to score but I’ve rarely seen a taxi in Sarasota. The girls seen on CCTV hardly look like prostitutes.

Readers, especially gutter press readers, hardly read beyond the headlines and rarely beyond the headlines of inner pages. It is unlikely the police will ever get a full answer to the question everyone asks “Why were they there?” and by the time it comes it wont hit the headlines. Right or wrong, the lasting impression will be ‘if you go looking to score’ you might get shot, and that risk exists in cities throughout the world.

The real tragedy.

The story has already slipped from the headlines of both press and TV. Soon the families of three young men will be left to mourn alone.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: