Debating graphic nature of Khaddafy's alleged final moments - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Debating graphic nature of Khaddafy's alleged final moments


On Thursday, Libyan revolutionary fighters reported that they killed Muammar Khaddafy, Khaddafy's son, and the former leader's Defense Minister. The United Nations Human Right's office is investigating the reports, saying there is too much uncertainty surrounding Khaddafy's death -- including several videos released showing the former leader severely injured...but alive.

Many media outlets are choosing to air these videos in their entirety -- including disturbing footage of a man lying on the ground, covered in blood. Generally, you'll hear a disclaimer first. But some are questioning whether these images should be shown at all

The Libyan conflict is a common topic of discussion in a University of Northern Iowa classroom KWWL visited Friday. It was, after all, a course on Middle Eastern relations. But the students aren't just reading about history, they're living it.

"I think, for American viewers, it's shocking. Because you're seeing history as it unfolds. And it can be very ugly and dirty and bloody," said Dr. Kenneth Atkinson, Associate Professor of History at UNI.

In Waverly, many high school students heard about Khaddafy's death in their classrooms, but the footage they later viewed online or on television was more violent than they expected.

"It was very surprising to see it right away. It's not something you generally see on TV. It's pretty gory," said Waverly-Shell Rock senior Hannah Ragsdale.

The younger generation of students realize social media and technology are playing a huge part in the conflict overseas, and in the way events like Khaddafy's death are reported. But it doesn't mean they want to see gritty footage played over, and over, on television.

"The newscaster said, it was graphic, and if you have a weak stomach hold yourself. I thought I had a stronger stomach than I did. So I watched and they kept showing it and showing it. I personally don't like it, I think it's distasteful," said UNI student Amissa Arbogast.

"I would say that they are pretty graphic," agreed UNI student Zach Schreiner. "But in the same token, sometimes we have to see those pictures."

Either way, the videos are a reminder that we are living in a world where everything is documented, whether we like it or not.

"Like, when you see images now of the holocaust, just like with those images, I don't think they should be hidden from the public. People should have access and be able to see them. But there should be discretion of when you see them too," said Ragsdale.

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