So yes, there's the issue about how the media should have handled it. There are people who said that the media should not have provided a minute-by-minute broadcast of events, due to the fact that the hijacker actually had access to the media, by virtue of the bus having a TV inside. Thus, people say that the media's grave desire for getting a "scoop" actually provoked the hijacker and resulted in a bad ending.
There's also the issue of people taking photos of the bus afterward. You could see it here for example, as reported by Chinese media. Yes, I agree, that pictures like these, especially of policemen themselves, treating the crime site as some sort of tourist site and taking pictures of themselves in front of it. I agree that this can be insensitive at times.
However, I still believe that the media cannot be controlled, and that people, individuals, everyone, has the right to take photos of themselves in front of the crime site, if it pleases them so. Why?
I believe in freedom of the press. If we allow the media to be controlled for other purposes, then where do we draw the line? If we start controlling the media, it becomes propaganda, and a machine that would eventually allow a police state. Press freedom is beneficial, as it actually controls the psyche of the whole populace. Imagine if media is so controlled that the state actually has control over things that we read and hear about. Yes, I believe that the media coverage of this event perhaps had an effect to the mindset of the hijacker, but there should have been other ways of dealing with the situation, instead of controlling the media. That would be a very fine and delicate line to balance, something that I am not comfortable with.
Second, although I agree that it is insensitive and does not show concern for the families of the victims if one takes pictures of themselves in front of the crime site, I also believe that human nature is just plain selfish. We take pictures of things like these because deep inside we want to feel that we are more than who we really are. We want to document the fact that you have been part of something substantial and noteworthy, no matter how indirect it is. Why else would we take photos of ourselves in front of a glittering Maserati if we see one on the street? It's the same principle. And again, I do not want to restrict this, no matter how insensitive it may be. Because if we start policing people based on what is insensitive or not, then again we are tiptoeing on a fine line. This sounds similar to the debate in New York City as to whether it is appropriate or not to build an Islamic Center near the Ground Zero.
I value my civil liberties. I understand that some people may find it insensitive if others exercise their civil liberties. However, one cannot please everybody. I am pretty sure that with the current population of the world, every move we make will pretty much offend someone out there, no matter how hard we try not to. Thus, it is better to exercise tolerance. Because, even though it can be painful to see strangers treating a tragic site as mere trivia, we would not want our own personal movements hindered because someone else thinks it is offensive to them. Taking offense is subjective and not bound by reason. It would be wise not to base rules and regulations based on subjective views.