Wednesday, August 26, 2015

It Bled, It Led, Dammit

     ETA: It was the lead story on local and network news last night; it led in NBC's Today show just now, Thursday morning.  TV just can't pass up the bait -- and the continuing coverage only makes further crimes of this type all the more attractive to the next violent loser with a manifesto.

     By now you already know the story: a recently-fired TV reporter fired two years earlier shot and killed a pair of his former co-workers while they were on the air, live from a remote location.  Worse, he posted first-person video of it to social media.  It has been suppressed, but that genie is out of the bottle and it will be bouncing around the Web for years.

     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.


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Apparently the reporter's father has already called for stronger gun control laws.

The world would be a better place if Instapundit's dictum were followed: "When people say things like 'don’t let this moment pass without acting on gun control,' what they’re really saying is our arguments are so unpersuasive that they can only succeed when people aren’t thinking clearly."

Roberta X said...


Anonymous said...

No one hs said yet. Where was this guy getting money to live on and buy guns? He had been unemployed for 2 1/2 years. A gay harlot? Drug dealer? Had a rich sugar daddy taking care of him? If anyone out there knows clue us in.

Anonymous said...

The facts are that lots of gay pR0n, along with an apartment full of cat feces were found in his home. The gossip sround town here (Roanoke) I heard, as I haven't tried to verify it, was that he ran a web site for gay pr0n.

0007 said...

And of course just because the guy was an AA hire(and both victims were not) and complained about the racism everywhere he went is no reason to consider the possibility of "!!HATE CRIME!!!"