Most think watching people die is disrespectful, but also see the news value in reporting on violent stories.
While the world's eyes were on Roanoke last week, this week most national and international media have made their exodus from this small community I now call home, and though their focus is on the next horrible breaking news story, it's as if time was frozen here. 8/26/15.
"I know that this is not a sprint. It's a marathon."
This week brought powerful reminders of what happens when a government fails its citizens. On Wednesday, as the nation continued to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's unnecessarily tragic destruction of a uniquely American city, the nation woke to yet another uniquely American tragedy, as two Roanoke-based news staffers -- reporter Alison Parker, and cameraman Adam Ward -- were gunned down on live television. It was the beginning of a news cycle we know all too well: shock, outrage, calls for sensible guns laws, and then, if past is prologue, nothing. Since the Newtown shootings in 2012, nearly 85,000 Americans have been killed by guns -- yet common sense gun legislation proposed at the time by President Obama continues to languish. On Thursday, the president called Katrina "a man-made disaster, a failure of government to look out for its own citizens." The same could be said of Roanoke.
"We're Number 1!" (We must be so proud...)
Despite the latest shooting, the political calculus for gun control remains grim.
The live aspect of our business is just one of the many reasons that television news is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for the thin-skinned. And in the hours after we found out that Adam and Alison's killer was someone who had been a journalist, I had one thought -- he wasn't one of us.
Alison Parker's father says he doesn't want the country to sit back and let him grieve -- he wants action.
It seems that whenever a tragedy like the Roanoke one takes place, many of us resort to the most simplistic views, the basest arguments.
I always thought as long as I'm not reporting in a war-torn country, as long as I stay out of metropolitan areas, I'm safe aren't I? If Alison Parker -- who is my age and doing the same work I'm doing -- could be gunned down in broad daylight, then why should I feel safe?