I don’t know why this story impacted me so much. As dark as the news can be, why did this one stand out?
Is it because it happened on live television?
Was it because it was so out of the blue?
Maybe because no one was able to brace themselves for it. After all, it was just two people doing their job. Nothing’s supposed to go wrong if you’re just doing your job, right?
Apparently that was not the case when a reporter and photojournalist from one of the local networks, WDBJ 7, were senselessly shot and killed while doing a live interview on tourism and business at Smith Mountain Lake.
Did Alison Parker expect to be shot down in the line of duty today? Did Adam Ward kiss his fiance one last time before heading to work? They weren’t reporting on violent crime. This wasn’t an expedition to some war-torn country. This was a feel good piece on the local economy. This was benign. This was normal.
Perhaps that’s why it’s so disturbing. My normal got all messed up and I’m struggling to find the reset button that may not be there to find.
But now is not the time for gun control debates. Now is not the time for political posturing or soapbox sermonizing. Forgive me, but my heart is too heavy for such nonsense. Instead, can we just stop and mourn for a while?
Let’s mourn over these two lives that were senselessly taken today by a gunman I refuse to name (but later shot himself). Let’s mourn over the eroding away of our sense of security. Let’s mourn with families whose worlds were shattered today (were they watching? Dear Lord hold them tight; all three families). Let’s mourn the loss of a world where going to your job was supposed to be safe and normal. Let’s mourn the loss of normal.
So shed some tears. It’s okay to grieve. Be angry. It’s okay to despise injustice. Shake your head. It’s okay not to understand the delusions of a man driven to kill others and then himself.
But please, save the rhetoric for later.
Now is the time for grief.