My heart goes out to everyone affected by the recent tragedy in Boston.
It is absolutely unacceptable when children and adults are at risk of injury or worse when they’re simply out enjoying a public activity. And to add insult to injury, there are now people out there trying to make money off of these types of horrific events. If you check eBay, and probably many other sites as well, there are people trying to sell items and memorabilia from the marathon for no reason other than to make some fast cash off of the misery of others.
This is by no means a new practice. The selling of events tied to notorious individuals and tragic events has been around for as long as these tragedies have existed. The first time I encountered this type of behavior was when was filming a show for PBS that featured murder memorabilia. I wasn’t particularly excited to feature this type of item, but after researching the topic, I felt it was necessary to really show the public all the details of people profiting from the downfall of others. During the show, we displayed items from John Wayne Gacy, who at the time was one of the most notorious serial killers the country had seen. Before conviction, he was known to dress up as a clown for various fundraising events, and after his sentencing, he created and sold various clown paintings. These pieces were collected by well-known, prominent people as well as your every day citizen. People spent up to tens of thousands of dollars to buy these pieces, simply because he was such a notorious figure.
I once had someone offer to sell me a yearbook signed by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the two students responsible for the Columbine High School shooting of 1999. The seller offered me the book for $1,000, but I would never even consider buying an item that represented such a terrible occurrence. The value of an item like this has increased only because of the memory of a horrific incident in which people lost their lives. It’s this point that makes selling these items such a terrible act.While I do not condone the sale of items whose value is tied to horrific and tragic events, I do think it’s important to discuss them so that buyers become aware that these kinds of listings exist; and they will continue to exist so long as there are buyers willing to consider purchasing such items. After the events of the Boston Marathon, these sellers have come forward, one again trying to profit off of someone’s misfortune. Please do not partake in the buying or selling of a collectible that has been given a value based on the loss of someone’s life. People will continue to exploit tragedies so long as we give them the opportunity to do so. Because of this, it’s our responsibility to turn the other way and choose not to buy such items.
Once again, to the people of Boston, my thoughts are with you.
Good luck, and happy hunting.