Sunday, April 04, 2010

80's Corner

Remember Bud Dwyer? No? Well ... that's probably good. Ya see, Bud Dwyer was a local (Pennsylvania) politician who had gotten into some trouble. He hastily called a press conference. I guess most people felt he was going to come clean about whatever he did - the local news media was running the press conference live.

I was still in high school ... and, as luck would have it, school closed early because of inclement weather. I had made it home, and turned on the TV, which again, as luck would have it, was turned on the local ABC station covering the press conference.

Ol' Bud decided he'd throw everybody a curveball with this particular press conference. He first handed a bunch of people notes, and then .... he pulled a gun out of his suit pocket. He cautioned the gathered news crew to stand back, and then he shot himself in the mouth ... ON LIVE TV! It was gruesome, crazy, and just plain surreal.

I was flabbergasted - I didn't know what to think. Did I just see what I just saw? A whole controversy started surrounding this from a news media perspective. Should the media not have replayed the incident (they replayed it several times throughout the day from what I remember)? What about the newspapers? Should they not have printed the gory pictures?

The more important issue is - why would somebody do this to his family and friends. They must have been devastated. How selfish was this act? I remember joking about the incident but deep inside feeling really bad about what happened.

You can find the video on You-tube - I figured it would be too tasteless to post it.


Jeff said...

I remember this quite vividly. One correction: Dwyer had the gun in a large, sealed manila envelope, which a staffer handed to him during the press conference.

The media coverage controversy was because some TV stations showed the entire gruesome suicide live, and some (specifically, PHL stations) showed it again later that evening. Disgusting.

TV coverage varied across the state. Some stations cut off coverage once Dwyer pulled the gun from the envelope. Others cut the video but played the gunshot on audio.

Stargazing Ninja Chick said...

I don't remember this at all. The martyrdom of suicide is so selfish and ignorant it pisses me off.

We're the same age so I'm assuming "Live" Tv was just that when we were in high school.

Heff said...

I've seen good ol' Bud's death scene clip SEVERAL TIMES. Quite an awesome way to go if you're that mentally bent.

Jeff said...

Just to clarify about "Live" TV:

"Live" has for decades been delayed by about 7 seconds. This is how cursing gets bleeped out.

Pretty much every TV station in PA carried Dwyer's press conference live. Most stations cut off the video when he stuck the gun in his mouth, before he pulled the trigger.

The PHL stations showed the shooting live, at 6 pm, and again at 11 pm. I doubt it was because they fell asleep at the switch.