So that’s how it works: News gathering on Aruba
Last night after 10pm the dogs were restless, I went outside to see what was so upsetting and saw a pickup, lights on, parked in the empty lot across the street. I hesitated calling the Police. Is there a law against sitting in a truck, in an abandoned lot?
I tried my best to talk to the dogs to keep quiet, but they persisted, this is not right, they said, he is howling, that’s usually our job, call the Police, mom, call them now. They can be hard-headed, so I took a listen. Yup, big animal noises were rising from the car into the dark-night sky.
At 10:27pm, I called the station in Noord.
We’re coming they said, we already know about the car.
At 10:31pm, the first patrol car pulled up. The Policeman proceeded with caution. I was praying for their wellbeing, because by now it was clear that the car-occupant was mid mal trip – Flakka? The Walking Dead drug – as he was humping the door, and jumping around half naked and craze.
In what my colleague Speed called a ‘tactical maneuver,’ basically a coordinated nose-dive, the two men in blue landed on the man’s back and just like that, he was face down in the dirt, bellowing, howling, all in gibberish.
At 10:37pm, three paparazzi cars arrived in rapid succession.
Which proves the point that the news-ferrets are listening to police radio traffic, some on ‘borrowed’ radios and some on radios they purchased themselves. I checked at Best Buys, go no further, scanners are available, from $79 to $449, plus shipping, for a really good one.
Then there was a period of no action, with five Police cars and three paparazzi vehicles and a few other curious motorists, hanging around. Speed was filming into the bush. He has an 11-minute video on line.
Apparently they were waiting for the Dog Catcher, which is a really a degrading, demeaning, urban term, for a prisoner transport van. As the PTV arrived, 10:55pm, the team unceremoniously hoisted the by then a-bit-more-subdued man, face down into the holding cell, in the back of the van.
By 11pm the street was almost quiet, except four guys left behind to banter, laugh out loud: Wasn’t that a hoot, wasn’t that crazy, haha, the incident seemed to have made their night.
When I looked at 24Ora on FB, the video shot on location, no editing, no cutting, no special effects, already had more than 4k views in real time – 16.2k by this morning, 79 shares, 185 comments.
Which comes to the heart of the question: Why does Aruba tune in at 10:45pm, and sticks around for 11 minutes to witness someone else’s misery? Don’t viewers have anything better to do? How does that view benefit them, their kids, or their well-being?
And there was lot of free advice floating on line, some cruel, some compassionate. Many people wanted to bring the man in agony to the hospital, give him water, but most were cynical, and entertained by the spectacle.
Boredom, is a terrible thing. But then again, only boring people are bored.