By now you already know the story: a
Let us hope this does not become a trend. TV news crews working in the field are almost pathetically vulnerable: their attention is on their task. Their hands are usually full, figuratively and literally. Photographer -- "cameraman," only inside the biz, that's not the term -- and reporter are extremely task-focused, especially when taking video or editing and the photog quite often sees only what his lens picks up, in black and white at that.
The roots of this incident may go back years. There's no question the shooter was unhinged and he may well have started out as a personality on the edge; he seems to have been inclined to collect grievances and perhaps encountered people very willing to hand them out. There can be no justification for what he did -- but at the very least, at some point his growing anger should have rated a first response more probing than a pink slip years before the one that apparently set him off. We may not pay enough attention to one another's "gruntles," and maybe, as a matter of self-protection, we ought to. (This is not to say people should do even more tiptoeing around the sensitivities of others than they already do -- but "don't be a jerk" and "speak up if something's not right" are good guidelines.)
The usual pundits will say the usual things about this incident but I'll tell you right now, live news is a high-risk and highly-exploitable activity. I have been at the public appearances of Presidential candidates and though the security is tighter than that for passenger air travel, there are aspects I will not even get close to discussing: no security is perfect. And for J. Random News crew covering lower-profile events, "no security" is exactly what they have. Some of it is just part of the job -- police try to push the Press back from hostage and active-shooter scenes, the press push back and more than one crew has returned with stories of the sound a round makes as it goes whizzing by. But publicity-seeking murderous nitwits targeting newspeople is a new phenomenon, and not a good one.
Look for a hard fight: this guy put a scare into the yapping mouthpiece of American politics. I don't know of any law that could have stopped him -- but that won't keep the easy-solutions crowd from proposing a few dozen.