STORY BY JAKE BULLINGTON
A week ago, two journalists were fatally shot while conducting a live-broadcast interview. I speak for many when I say this was one of the hardest news stories I’ve ever had to read.
Virginia is, unfortunately, no stranger to gun violence. It was home to one of the most infamous, deadly mass shootings, the Virginia Tech campus massacre, where 32 innocent people were shot dead, and another 17 were injured just eight years ago.
It is frightening to think people who were doing something I hope to someday do myself were killed.
It is even more frightening that I saw the video of the shooting on social media faster than CNN or FOX could pick up the story. Twitter and Facebook’s new auto play feature forced me to watch the horror unfold.
The perpetrator’s main goal was to make as many people as possible witness his acts and know his name. Social media, with the added effect of it being broadcast live on morning television, boosted this man’s evil message.
The publicity this man received on national media frustrated me, as journalists across the country plastered his name and face on Twitter. On one hand, it’s important for journalists to inform the public of what has happened and to tell the story of the two slain reporters. On the other, giving the killer exactly what he wanted may not have been the best course of action.
No matter his motive, whether it be jealousy or anger, the undeniable role mental illness played in this shooting makes it all the more saddening.
The ‘disgruntled ex-employee’ scenario happens too frequently, and in this case, his former employers knew the killer had unaddressed mental health issues. He could have had received treatment if his behavior and his former employer’s concerns had been reported to the proper authorities.
In addition, the ease with which this man was able to acquire a firearm is disheartening.
I’m not sure what the answer is, but then again, I’m not a legislator. I don’t have the ability to introduce solutions to end these massacres.
Whether it be reforming and improving our nation’s mental health accessibility and treatment, or adding meaningful changes with background checks and the accessibility of guns, I believe we should have said “enough is enough” many deaths ago.