Hooper and the Ashburton deaths

Stuff reports:

Socialite Pebbles Hooper has backtracked and apologised for her comments that an Ashburton family's deaths were “natural selection”. …

In a statement posted on Twitter on Saturday, Hooper said her intentions were not to cause outrage or anguish to those involved with the Ashburton deaths.

deeply regret any distress caused to the family. I apologise for my wording and take responsibility for upsetting those involved, and I was careless in my actions,” she wrote.

“The issue I regrettably tried to raise was about parental negligence and the precautions needed to ensure the safety of those who are unable to care for themselves.

“I never aimed to or isolate this issue to one family. Again, for my actions and have the family in my thoughts.” …

It appears Hooper expected a backlash, having prefaced her message with the words: “I'll get major slack for this, but leaving a car running inside a closed garage while you're kids are in the house is natural selection”.

While the tweet was quickly deleted, Hooper responded to other Twitter users by saying “those kids died under completely preventable circumstances”.

She claimed she was not deliberately seeking attention but was “just stating her opinion”.

“I'm not looking to be controversial or outrageous, simply stating the fact that those kids deserved to be safe,” she tweeted.

The way Hooper expressed her thoughts was wrong for two main reasons:

  1. Three kids died through no fault of their own
  2. Talking of natural selection has a tone of “we're better off without them”

However the underlying point of their death being completely preventable – it wasn't bad luck, bad intentions or anything – just death from I guess ignorance, is valid. Now there's a time and a place to have such a discussion, and a way you can have that discussion. Hooper failed on those fronts. But there is a point that we shouldn't let our entirely natural sympathy for the family and friends of the deceased over-ride concern and even some anger that they died in such a preventable way.

If you comment on this issue, please do so with some empathy for those who have lost loved ones.

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