Kent Bush: Live shooting brings many issues to the surface
Crazy, desperate and armed are a bad combination.
Wednesday morning, the world was exposed to two brutal murders from the perspective of the news crew filming a live shot and from a camera strapped to the killer himself.
The world saw John F. Kennedy’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald killed on live television, but at least Jack Ruby wasn’t wearing a GoPro camera and live tweeting the high-speed getaway chase.
In the aftermath, the reporter and her photojournalist are dead. The gunman is also dead. We are all damaged as we suffer along with the friends and families of the people who were targeted and killed in such a graphic, violent and public way.
The world is darker.
President Barack Obama used the latest in a long line of senseless gun crimes to call on Congress again to write sensible gun control laws. He knows it won’t happen. But he couldn’t call for change the first 20 times something this horrific happened during his presidency and not do the same Wednesday.
Hillary Clinton took the same message to Twitter.
Rush Limbaugh says journalists need to arm themselves. Reality stopped affecting Rush’s opinions long ago, but if you have seen the videos, you can’t seriously believe that wearing a gun in a holster during this sneak attack would have made any difference at all.
Glenn Beck says it is a sign that the end is near. Hucksters can’t stop hucking, not even when two innocent people are gunned down in cold blood.
This incident brought to surface many issues.
There is room within an intact Second Amendment for sensible gun control laws.
There is a serious need for better monitoring and reporting of mental health issues. When someone has to call 911 when a person loses his or her job, law enforcement or another agency needs to follow up on that situation.
This shooting brought so many things to the surface, but the main thing that came out is that when a man who feels oppressed due to being a gay, black man can lie dormant for more than two years with the pain and anger increasing the pressure until he mentally explodes, there isn’t much we can do to predict or prevent it.
Other issues that arose came from how social media and the traditional media handled the shooting after it happened. This perpetrator had a made for Twitter and Facebook shooting. He shot someone using a video camera while recording on his own for a second angle.
Should that video be aired? Luckily Facebook and Twitter acted quickly to take his sites down, but the damage was done and the video will always live somewhere online.
The obvious answer for the traditional media is that it is unfair to the friends and families of the victims to continue to force them to relive this horrific act over and over throughout our insatiable 24-hour news cycle on dozens of channels and websites with news interests.
But that same privacy is not granted to victims of the September 11 attacks, space shuttle disasters or event the Oklahoma City Murrah Building Bombing.
Those killed by officers, officers who have been killed in the line of duty and other crime victims are also featured in news content on a daily basis.
The news value of showing what really happened rises when there is doubt about reported circumstances. There is little doubt in this case. There is expository information contained in the video, but the graphic and horrific nature of that video would probably be better contained by a verbal discussion of what a few people have seen rather than in a broadcast situation.
There is a side of this argument that says this is what America has become and perhaps letting people see the horror will help press a rewind button on a society that has become comfortable with stories and videos about mass shootings.
I don’t know that one instance carries that weight.
I know as a reporter and supervisor of reporters, I hope that it inspires all journalists to be a little more guarded and a lot more careful.
As a person who has been in the news business for 20 years, I have received my share of direct threats and unwanted attention from readers whose intentions weren’t entirely clear.
I never took any of them as serious as I should have. That is a mistake.
It’s a crazy world. We all have to be careful out there.
There are so many questions and there hasn’t been enough time to process all of the thoughts and emotions from a difficult day.
The world is mourning two young journalists who died simply doing their jobs. We also mourn that little piece of our soul that was ripped away when this shooter shocked what is left of our sensibilities.
Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.