As journalists we are protected by the first amendment of the United States Constitution, unfortunately there is nothing that can protect us from someone walking into a newsroom with a gun, determined to inflict pain on others.
Five of our colleagues are gone. Five of them. That could have been any one of us.
Rob Hiaasen, Wendi Winters, Gerald Fischman, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith: they could have been any one of us.
And now their colleagues, who have reported on so many shootings before, will have to chronicle the horrifically sad story of the day this country’s mass shooting epidemic took five people they love.
When a tragedy of this magnitude alters a person’s life they are often afforded the chance to take time to grieve. The journalists at the Capital Gazette don’t have that option because there is work to do, journalists don’t get days off from tragedies. Even after their newsroom was turned into a crime scene, they published a paper this morning .
Think about that.
Reporters are taught to be objective, push your feelings aside and cover the story. But this one hurts because we are human. We live in your community, we go to your gym, we play in your rec. sports leagues, we have hopes and dreams and passions. We don’t get paid much, we work impossible hours, we miss holidays with our families but we don’t complain because we are journalists.
And now we are targets.
But even after one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in our country’s history, we will continue to be truth-seekers, fact-finders and storytellers. Because if we stop being the eyes and ears and voices of our communities we will have lost a fundamental piece of our democracy.