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Why do you need to see or hear Nick Berg die?

If you have a steady diet of Law & Order (3 times a week), CSI (2 times a week), ER, Third Watch, etc., you run a great risk of dulling your sensibilities and becoming hardened to brutality. You might even find watching Nick Berg die bearable.

It is the intent of the dramatic shows to provoke a feeling and reaction even in the most callous individual. The problem with that is, the callous individual grows a thicker skin and it takes increasing amounts of unspeakable evil and brutality for them to become shocked by what they see. When my first child was born that “thick skin” was immediately ripped away.

That very day my wife and I expressed our shame for allowing ourselves to become callous while watching these shows. Still, it’s easier for us to watch an evil person die justly on TV than watch someone’s innocent child or loved one hurt or killed brutally for our entertainment. So, my wife and I decided to not watch movies or TV shows that show children being harmed, and to limit our weekly drama intake. It’s too much for us. The thought of a parent not having their child to hold and comfort any more due to tragic circumstances is more than my wife and I can bear to watch, even if it’s just “make believe”. We look at our children and pray no tragedy befalls them or any child for that matter. And yet watching anyone die (on TV) for us has become increasingly difficult to sit through. TV and movies are “make believe”; can you guess how we feel about the video of Nick Berg’s beheading?

Earlier today, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host aired Nick’s death for everyone to hear. The host warned his listeners that he would be airing Nick’s execution, and gave them time to turn their radios off if they did not want to listen. Thankfully my radio was off for most of the morning. My friend Dan described what I would have heard had I been listening.

    “He played the audio of the terrorists cutting the head off Nick Berg. It was absolutely awful. He was screaming and you could hear the screaming change the further they got into it. They didn't make it mercifully short either. It was relatively long. I'm almost physically sick just hearing it. All the time they were cutting him they were chanting "God is great" in Arabic.”
    He added, “I feel so bad for Nick's family.”

When I asked Dan why it was he felt it was necessary to listen to Nick’s murder, he replied:

    I didn't hear the beginning of the broadcast. I didn't hear his out. I came back to my cubicle, and it was on. I didn't know what it was at the time. After I heard what he was playing, I was disgusted. I wasn't kidding when I told you I was almost physically ill. It did nothing to further my resolve against these animals. It already was at a fevered pitch before this happened because I already know what they are capable of. I agree that this whole thing is being over broadcast, and must be absolutely horrendous for his family.

The host should have anticipated this type of thing happening. No one needs to accidentally hear anyone be murdered, especially in this fashion.

Nick was a 26-year-old who had a father and a mother that cared about him deeply. In fact, so does each soldier that has died since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq started. I wouldn’t want to watch each of them be killed by a bullet and I certainly don’t want to watch Nick die. It’s disrespectful to Nick and his family and it serves no purpose for you to watch it. If you disagree with that, ask yourself in what way it will edify you? In what way does it further your determination? In what way does it show respect to the Berg family? What good can come from you watching it?

It is through NOT watching these acts of evil, “make believe” or real, that our sensibilities are sharpened, life gains meaning and our resolve becomes stronger.

Please show respect for Nick’s last moments and his parents. Do not watch or listen to the video.

To the Berg family, I offer my deepest sympathy for the loss of their son and brother. He gave his life in service to America and the rebuilding of Iraq. He is a hero to many.


P.S. The link provided is to an article written in the Guardian about media outlets not playing the video in full.

posted by: Brian Scott

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