I’ve been pondering the situation in Annapolis for several days now (I’m writing this on Saturday, June 30, FYI). As I was once a member of that noble profession, in the role of lowly local reporter/photographer, it’s hit me surprisingly hard.
I wanted to say how important it is for us to continue to tell the truth. How it’s important to keep going no matter what happens because people deserve to know what’s going on without rumor and conjecture. I wanted to say that some of the most reliable and useful news comes from the local papers.
But I can’t. I am so stunned that I’m wordless.
The Angel of Death and the Local Journalist
I mentioned that I was a reporter/photographer for local newspapers. It’s true. And I did mostly grab’n’grins (this high school class donated so much to charity, yay!), random Page Two pieces and profiles/human interest stories.
Only once was I ever remotely involved in a legal action, and it was because the courts were trying to determine the competency of an old woman who had a farm (E-I-E-I-O). She seemed pretty all together to me. *shrug* I dodged that one for months. I did a piece on her family earning a Century Farm designation, which is a big deal in the state of Missouri.
But by and large, my reporting has been profile pieces because I have something about me that makes people open up and relax. Or maybe I’m just really good at asking the right questions. Or maybe it’s the shit job and I just happen to like it.
The piece that kicked off the chain of events that led to the murder of my fellow journos in their sacred Temple of Words is a piece I could have written. It wasn’t a profile, as such, but as I understand, it was about a woman’s battle with an online stalker (the shooter, you guessed it). I haven’t been able to force myself to look at it. I can’t bear the idea of it.
Today’s Lesson: I Have No Idea
I have long used this blog as an educational tool, as well as a place to bitch about my line of work because, let’s face it, it’s not as glamorous as people imagine. Today, I can’t find a proper lesson as I keep feeling that sensation in my stomach that you get when an elevator goes down too fast. The g-forces are strong with this one.
I think what we have to take from this is that there’s a very real gun control problem (the shooter had been incarcerated for at least a year for stalking the woman in the story and somehow still bought a shotgun AFTER he was released) and the front lines are everywhere. They’re in your college dorms, they’re in your office, they’re in your fucking elementary schools.
Those journalists weren’t slaughtered for nothing, the killer was positive he had a beef. But don’t be mistaken–they were slaughtered. And every black kid that’s gunned down by a cop, every child that’s killed at school by their classmates, every mother fucking journalist that’s shot up by an entitled white fuckhead, they can’t die for nothing.
Their deaths aren’t nothing.
We have to fight. We have to fight for the right to live in peace, without the fear of some maniac with a gun cutting it all suddenly short.
And I say this as a person who grew up in a culture that still lives partially off the land. My entire family hunts, some of my most vivid childhood memories were of helping my dad clean animal caracasses (hey, don’t judge… it was a very different world).
I own a gun.
My dad owns a frightening number of them.
I have never once considered rampaging. I have killed some varmints, though… I mean, there may be an opossum family out there that’s got my number.
We live in trying times, my friends. We do. But that’s no excuse to continue to let this gun control thing paralyze our country. We literally prefer to tolerate incredibly upsetting questions from kindergarteners who are being taught how to survive an active school shooter situation than to introduce any sort of gun control legislation.
Let me repeat that. Kindergarteners are asking their parents if they’re going to die at school. Kindergarteners. These kids are what, five, six years old? Did you worry that you’d be murdered when you went to school at that age? For fuck’s sake, where’s the line?!?
Uninterrupted Rage is All I Have For You
I mean, I’m not coming for your guns.
But I’ll sure as shit demand that you behave responsibly with them. And if you can’t, either due to illness or poor choices, I support taking those weapons away from you until you’re able to exercise better control.
I grew up in a world where guns were a part of life. I was raised around guns. I learned to shoot for protection and for food. I am you. But I am also those journalists in Annapolis. And I am the kids of Parkland. And I’m fucking Stephon Clark.
I am Kristi’s Uninterrupted Rage.
When does this end, America? When are you going to get tired of counting the dead?