We use our words, you can too
On Friday there was an attack on a Maryland newspaper that left five people dead and two others wounded. Using a 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun, a man who had a long running dispute with his local daily expressed his anger in a fatal and completely unwarranted way.
Like the other needless and horrific shootings that have happened this year and those preceding, discourse on the topics of gun control and mental health are sure to arise and, with those arguments on what the right course of action going forward will grow in number as well.
While I have my own thoughts on these topics, that is not what I feel is the most important aspect of this shooting.
Since the target of the violence in this case was a newspaper, the first question many people and other media organizations posed were different versions of “Well, did they deserve it?”
The answer, before even looking at a single article written by The Capital, should be a quick and resounding “No.”
Even ignoring the fact that nobody innocently doing their job should be killed for doing so, there is no reason to do it because that person is a part of the media.
Those in our profession — or at least most of us, we’d like to think — cover the news as it happens and report the information verbatim. That news is certain to make some people unhappy sometimes, and the editorials even more so, but that should never result in violence.
In today’s world of “fake” news and figureheads who berate the media it is easy to get caught up in the mindset that those who write are the bad guys, capitalizing on the negatives of life in order to make a buck.
While yes, tragedies will always make the front page. They are there so that people like you, people who care about the news that affects them, know when these things are going on.
This shooter took issue with the paper reporting on something he had done. Something that most people would consider negative. Uncouth. Just not right. Since he was the one painted in a negative light that time — because of something he did — he took it out not on himself, the offender, but on the people who let his missteps be known to the world.
Newspapers and other outlets will always report on the news, no matter what that news is. We will always do our best to keep our facts straight and cover all sides, but sometimes this might make someone look less-than-savory in the outcome. That is not for us to decide; it is for the readers to interpret.
Always provide feedback to the things you read. Staying active in the media you consume is important in keeping it a service, not just a product. Just always remember to keep it as feedback, not violence.
The staff at The Capital did not in any way deserve the hateful act against them. Other media workers shouldn’t have to worry about similar hate, either.