I read about the prank two Australian DJs played on the Royal family the other day. I didn’t think too much about it. It was a news snippet and I just moved on. Then the following day I was sitting at Cleveland airport, waiting for my connecting flight and I heard a fellow passenger speaking on her phone about the nurse dying.
She was making light of it, seemed like she was kidding that the Royal family was somehow involved in the death. “Just like Diana” she said, as she laughed and hung up. Intrigued, I fired up the BBC app and read the story. Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who had answered the prank call and passed it to another nurse was dead.
At that time, suicide was not confirmed, the investigation was ongoing. My first thought was to condemn the DJs. They had been so insensitive. I kept looking for other articles on google and came upon this other prank call which had been played by a Canadian journalist in 1995, he hoodwinked none other than the queen herself!
Yes, he called the queen, pretending to be the Prime Minister of Canada and spoke to her at length about the impending secession vote in Quebec. He got the queen to agree to being more vocal in support of Canadian unity! Quite funny that! He even asked the queen if she was going to wear a Halloween costume. My point is, the Queen must have been embarrassed at being fooled, fortunately she didn’t take her own life.
At the time the two DJs played the prank, there was no way they could foresee the outcome. It was good natured harmless fun. There is more and enough evil in the world today. So much bad news pours in from all corners. There are rapists, mass murderers, fanatics and wars being fought. The world economy is quite shaky and amidst all of this having a laugh or a smile by way of such a prank isn’t such a bad thing.
Before we heard about this death, before this tragedy occurred, countless people who heard about this prank must have smiled, laughed or ignored it. The intention of the pranksters was to make us laugh. To bring a bit of comedy to our very serious lives. They had no way of knowing that someone who answered the phone would end up taking her own life. So I implore people not to judge and crucify these two pranksters.
They were having innocent fun. Lets not react in a manner that lawmakers and powers that be cease upon to enact new laws to take away such freedom of expression which has the potential of bringing a smile. Yes, it is a tragedy, yes I feel strongly for Jacintha’s family. She has two children, a husband. She had a life and had that call never come through she may have lived on.
However she chose to react so extremely to her circumstances. It wasn’t like the DJs intent was to kill her or anyone else.
So mourn for Jacintha, sympathize with her family and loved ones, observe a moment of silence, however remember, the two DJs are victims as well. Imagine how you would feel if you set out to play a harmless prank, with no ill intentions and it went so horribly wrong. They will probably live with guilt all their lives. I hope not, because they were only guilty of trying to make you laugh or smile in this otherwise tragic world.