It matters what we journalists do. If I didn’t think my work made a difference, I’d probably give it up
Today marks the tenth anniversary of the death of Veronica Guerin. For those of you who don’t know Guerin was a journalist who mainly wrote crime stories. Exposing drug lords and crime gangs.
She was shot and killed as she sat in her car at a red light on the Naas road.
In the aftermath of her murder, which the Taoiseach called an attack on democracy, there were numerous arrests, and the Criminal Assets Bureau was set up.
There were also two films made about her life. One changed names and was called When The Sky Falls. And in 2003 Joel Schumacher directed another called Veronica Guerin.
In the wake of Guerin’s murder there were many statements saying that this had changed everything. And this fact was highlighted in Schumacher’s film, as it suggests that all of Ireland was utterly transformed and an end was brought to organised crime. Obviously this is untrue.
Organised crime is probably worse than ever at the moment. But what is almost as bad is the attitude that seems to surround these ‘gangland style’ shootings. And those horrible words that mark these types of murders, where it is stated that the victim was ‘known to the Gardai’. As though that is some sort of a code for “sure didn’t they deserve it, the scum, let them kill each other off’.
And even if you believe that those who live by the gun deserve to die by the gun, wouldn’t you consider the fact that ‘letting’ them kill each other does nothing but decrease the value of life. Remember the woman that was shot dead at a party because someone was refused entry and was drunk? Really think that would have happened if there wasn’t such a culture of guns in certain areas of Dublin?