The Paua Palace

My royal blog, life, opinions and me, it’s all about ME.. Right?

Suicide via the airwaves ratings winner or life saver?

Posted by pauaprincess on September 14, 2007

Yesterday a distressed woman rang Talkback radio and spoke to host Leighton Smith about her suicide.  She’d overdosed and was upset about a child custody situation.  Talking to her on the air, Leighton Smith managed to get her location and members of the public and emergency services went to her aid.  She was located a Whenuapai airbase in a light grey car and taken to Waitakere Hospital in a moderate condition after nearby listeners broke into her car.

The question is, should Leighton Smith have talked with the woman on air?

The woman who identified herself as Clare stated she didn’t want to talk on air.  A listen to the emergency services band at the time reveals Police were en route, a helicopter had been deployed to search the area for her car and her cell phone info had revealed her name details.  Indeed Police and Ambulance arrived within minutes of her location being conveyed to the producer of the talk back show who was on the phone to emergency services.  The same result could have been accomplished without the public spectacle.

While on this occasion all turned out well, what if it hadn’t?  Listeners who responded put themselves in danger, rushing to the scene for a start.  What if Clare, intent on suicide had not just od’d but had a weapon? What if she was intent on a public death by cop?  The number of variables this situation could have contained is something the public are not trained to deal with.  Emergency Services are.

And what about Clare? What about her feelings?  Do you think she wanted this kind of publicity?

What about copy cats?

Leighton Smith and his show have now squeezed two days worth of publicity out of this incident.  Call me cynical but wow, you couldn’t buy that kind of recognition. I wonder how many listeners will be added to his stable?


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