Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, were killed by a former co-worker while viewers watched.
Maybe for a time before dying, a very small time, Bryce Williams's swirling anger, Chris Harper Mercer's swirling anger, stopped swirling. Perhaps, at long last, they felt sated. How relatively pitiful the causes of their anger; how incomparably grievous the consequences.
I saw her face on news channels over and over. Everyone told me to shut down the television, don't look, but I could not. I watched every single ugly time I saw her scream.
It seems like the network made the right call.
About this poem: I wrote this after the Virginia Tech shootings. And to my incredible sadness, it is not only still applicable today, but may be even more so with murderers using social media and news outlets to distribute their self-portraits, manifestos and, most recently, videos of their murders.
We are wrapping up a long, cruel summer of senseless, preventable gun violence. Americans are being gunned down in our churches, schools, movie theaters, military recruitment centers, workplaces, and homes. Which is why we're turning September 10 into a national day of action to make good on our pledge to do "whatever it takes."
"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.
I have no doubt that some additional legislation, such as background checks, will help stem the tide of this endless gun violence. But the real answer is in repealing existing legislation -- the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
Andy Parker is even thinking of buying a gun of his own.