Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Surreal Sunday Morning

The last thing you expect to hear about on the news on a lazy Sunday morning is a shooting.

I was watching the new government being sworn in on La7. I've never been someone who's been really interested in politics, but since moving to Italy I've followed things more closely, especially since Berlusconi's resignation in November 2011. I was interested in learning more about the formation of the new government, and who the new ministers were. After a handful of ministers had been sworn in news arrived of a shooting outside Palazzo Chigi in Rome, where the prime minister's office is. To use news director Enrico Mentana's own words, the coverage became increasingly schizophrenic, with coverage of the ceremony continuing with an increasingly concerned Mentana describing what had been happening in Palazzo Chigi.

I turned over to Rai's 24 hour news channel and saw a pretty surreal scene - a split screen covering the events in Rome. On the left there were smiling ministers, chatting and shaking hands; the ceremony hadn't been interrupted. On the right there was chaos, with police and ambulances arriving at the scene of the shooting.

Two Carabinieri, Giuseppe Giangrande and Francesco Negri, and a so-far unnamed pregnant passer-by, had been injured. Eventually the shooter was named as 46 year old Luigi Preiti, originally from the Calabria region in southern Italy, separated and unemployed. Media were also quick to point out that he had some sort of mental illness, but that he didn't have any previous criminal convictions. He seems to have acted alone, and doesn't have any links to terrorism or organised crime.

Many photos and images of the injured Carabinieri circulated quickly online, and were broadcast on TV, a move that was naturally criticised by many. Both are said to be in a stable condition, but Sergeant Giangrande has more serious injuries. Not much is known about the female's condition, but it seems that she's out of danger. I wish all three of them a full and speedy recovery.

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