Remembering the good times

The Compass - - EDITORIAL -

“Vir­ginia TV re­porters shot dead dur­ing live broad­cast.” Those eight words shook the In­ter­net mo­ments af­ter news broke that WDBJ7 re­porter Ali­son Parker and pho­tog­ra­pher Adam Ward were shot dead do­ing a fea­ture tele­vi­sion piece at a wa­ter park in Roanoke, Vir­ginia last Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

It’s not a head­line you ex­pect to read on this side of the world. It isn’t some­thing you ex­pect to wake up to.

Jour­nal­ists in North Amer­ica be­ing mur­dered on live tele­vi­sion. That’s some­thing more in line with the South Su­dan or some other war torn coun­try, not with the Land of the Free.

As news started to fil­ter in of the shoot­ing, that nau­se­at­ing feel­ing took over. It grew in the pit of your stom­ach. This couldn’t be hap­pen­ing.

Yet it had. The gun­man — a for­mer em­ployee of the sta­tion — calmly walked up to the crew and pulled the trig­ger. So, it begs the ques­tion. How does it get to this? How does a man walk up to a group of peo­ple and kill in cold blood?

For those in this pro­fes­sion, it serves as a sober­ing re­minder that tragedy can strike when you’re on the job.

In­evitably, the con­ver­sa­tion will move to guns and Amer­ica. It has to, re­ally. There have been too many in­ci­dents of gun re­lated vi­o­lence for it not to hap­pen.

Although, it might not change much. Let’s face it, Sandy Hook couldn’t bring down the sec­ond amend­ment, there is noth­ing on this Earth that will. But, it doesn’t have to hap­pen right now. What has to hap­pen right now, how­ever, is remembering that Ali­son and Adam were do­ing a job they loved in their home­town — like many of us in com­mu­nity news.

They were chas­ing sto­ries that mat­tered to the peo­ple they were speak­ing to. That’s just what we do. We cover the news, re­gard­less of the risks that come with it.

A sense­less act of vi­o­lence can’t change that. It shouldn’t change that.

In the hours fol­low­ing the shoot­ing, WDJB7 turned their news­cast into that of a trib­ute to their fallen em­ploy­ees. So­cial media was flooded of smil­ing pic­tures of the two jour­nal­ists.

It was an at­tempt to make their last happy mo­ments the preva­lent public im­age. It worked.

Ali­son’s boyfriend, sta­tion an­chor Chris Hurst said, “She was the most ra­di­ant woman I ever met. And for some rea­son she loved me back.”

Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, he broke hearts and paid trib­ute to his love.

Ali­son and Adam loved their lives and their fam­i­lies.

Let’s re­mem­ber that.

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