But comparing tragedies and their emotional effect on us is very difficult in that the quality and quantity of our reactions are not always rational or proportionate to the depth and awfulness of the loss. The word disaster has become so widely and mistakenly used that it has lost much of its original meaning, and we become desensitised to it.
The media ensures that disasters involving celebrities and other famous public figures are kept in our minds for a long time and continue to stimulate our feelings that they shouldn’t happen and our questions as to why they did happen and how we prevent them happening again. But there are many tragedies to those beyond the periphery of the public eye that do deserve our attention, abhorrence and anguish.
One such tragedy is the killing of Natasha MacBryde, and I use the word killing carefully. At the age of 15 she threw herself in front of a train because she was cyberbullied by a group of evil beings at her school. As if that was not vile enough they then posted nasty comments and videos about her on the internet after her death. This story has had its brief allocated time slot in the media and probably will not be put in front of us again, but it deserves at least as much coverage as the fate of Amy Winehouse and we should mourn for Natasha just as much, if not a great deal more. Her death was entirely the fault of others.
Bullies, as I have written before, come in all shapes and sizes and are a virus that attacks any school, from the best to the worst. They care nothing about the hurt and fear suffered by their victims and care nothing about the tragic consequences of their actions. In Natasha’s case they were killers and should be prosecuted as such. The headteacher and staff of the Royal Grammar School in Worcester must take some blame too for allowing this to happen on their watch and should consider whether they can be trusted to hold such responsible positions.
Tributes to Amy Winehouse will continue to be paid and that is fine, but mine is to Natasha.