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Even as the World Watched III: Getting Hit to Get the Shot

Bullets fly fast

By now, I’ve switched to the “writing” mode and pulled across the street for more safety.  I stayed back from the corners behind the kill radius of the 40mm grenades that were sometimes being launched apparently by “Men in Black.”  (None launched at this time.)  The Army easily could have killed these protestors but did not.

Journalists in war zones often ask the military for proof.  Show me the money.  That’s what we need.  Journalists who say: Show Me the Money.  And now it’s the journalist’s turn: Show Us the Money.  There are countless videos and photos out there of people being hit – such as a journalist being hit by gunfire.  But where is the footage of soldiers actually massacring unarmed civilians?  There are countless videos of protestors using weapons.  Arson.  Guns.  Grenades.  The overarching theme remained: Thai Army.  Protestors.  Almost 90 killed.   Some journalists did convey fuller stories of the realities – there are always the good ones – yet the theme remained one of disproportionate force by the Thai government.  This was untrue during the fighting I witnessed.  The government used far more restraint than Americans ever would have stomached if similar street violence erupted at home.  We would have expected shoot to kill orders after weeks of such violence.  (Or even hours.)

The photographers who wanted the great shots needed to get closer to the action.  By now most photographers were preserving life and limb, but this guy is out there getting the images.  Battle is a strange thing; at this moment the Army is hundreds of meters down the road but they could get here literally in seconds in armored vehicles, or in a quick helicopter move, or snipers on the roof, or just maneuvering from multiple directions.  As a writer, there is nothing that can be seen there under the bridge that can’t be seen from my safer distance, but the photographer must take the risk if he wants better photos.

Sometimes you have to risk getting shot to get the shot.

It’s a numbers game, as you shall soon see.

The photographer in blue appears to be Canadian Chandler Vandergrift, who would be seriously hit on 19 May.

Mr. Vandergrift stuck it out.  His photography is world class, and when you see some of the images he captured it causes one to wonder how he escaped so long without getting hit.

And finally he and others were hit.

WARNING: Graphic images.

(Notice the courageous journalists helping the wounded soldier.)


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