Archive

Archive for December 18, 2012

Thoughts on the Deaths of the Innocents

December 18, 2012 2 comments

flowers_and_bears_t607
I run a newsroom so I couldn’t avoid the sudden immersion into the evil and the insanity. The Newtown shootings story unfolded in seeming slow motion last Friday but, finally, about three hours after the last bullets were fired, the scope and brutality of the event became clearer and clearer until it was finally laid bare for all to see.

The immersion into this gruesome, horrifying nightmare of a story continued all that Friday as journalists walked a minefield of rumor, assumption and misinformation. Into the night and the next day there were conference calls, pleas for extreme caution with the facts and the constant monitoring of the cable networks.

It was after the Sunday news talk shows when I finally threw in the towel. No more of this, please. I need a break. We all need a break from this. A fever and a sore throat that set in on Sunday were welcome because it meant I could stay home and avoid the story some more on Monday.

Unfortunately, for the victims of violence or the desperate parents of mentally ill children who could be the next Adam Lanza, there is nowhere to run and hide like I was able to for a couple of days.

In the course of my self imposed black-out on the Newtown massacre, I missed a few things that I discovered this morning as I returned to work. Turns out even previously 100% pro-NRA voting members of Congress like West Virginia Senator, Joe Manchin, were now saying it was time to consider legislative action of some kind. Dick’s Sporting Goods stores announced a moratorium on the sale of modern sporting rifles.

And brave, courageous and desperate parents like Liza Long were coming out of the woodwork talking about the fear they live with everyday with their mentally ill and psychologically unstable children. Please read this account if you haven’t already, of her life with her son, Michael, a genius who is sweet and kind most of the time- and an absolute life-threatening terror on too many occasions. She says she has been told by mental health professionals that the only thing that will help her son is when he gets in the hands of the criminal justice system.

By then, of course, it’s usually too late.

It is unfortunate it would take the cold-blooded elementary school murders of twenty children and six adults to start the important conversations that seem to be underway in earnest now. After all, these are not the first innocents to die in the line of fire and mental illness. I could list them for you if you’d like- the mass shootings that have taken place in this country in just the last two years. But I won’t.

If you have been unable to detach yourself from this story; if you are unable to avoid it in the course of your mass media consumption- I would highly recommend pulling the plug for a bit. It’s ok to get away from this thing. In the meantime, take heart from the famous quote by Winston Churchill- “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing after they have exhausted all other possibilities.”