It’s just two days to the release of my new romance, Becoming Magic—and I can’t seem to stop thinking about The Capital Gazette‘s dead.
This probably wasn’t considered a mass shooting. A mass shooting, I think, is defined as ten or more victims. There were only five in Annapolis yesterday.
Just five people who didn’t get up and go to work this morning. Because yesterday a man decided it was okay to take a shotgun into their office and shoot them.
This is not a very magical way of thinking.
This is not romantic at all.
This is the life we’re now living.
Somewhere along the timeline of my life it became somehow okay to solve your problems by picking up a gun and shooting the people who you see as causing it. How did we get here?
Some say we need to go back to God.
Some say we’ve lost our common decency. Those people may be right because I can’t help but think that yesterday there was a certain dismissive attitude about the five dead people. I heard the whisper of common conception as plainly as if someone were standing behind me shouting it into my ear.
They were just journalists.
Just journalists. I went to journalism school. I worked on small newspapers in both North Carolina and Virginia. I remember getting up in the morning to drive an hour to the small newspaper I worked at and feeling like I was the luckiest person alive to have gotten a job doing something I loved doing. I loved writing the news in that tiny town. I loved helping with the layout and typesetting and taking photos of people’s kids playing soccer and even—a couple of times—driving all over the back country of North Carolina delivering the papers.
So I was just a journalist, too.
I wasn’t even that great at it, and the hours were terrible, and I got paid next to nothing. But I was proud to have a press pass and to work to uphold the basic principles of journalism.
I imagine those journalists at The Capital Gazette felt the same way.
Just journalism is nothing to sneeze at, fellow citizens. Just journalism is all that holds those in power in check. Just journalism holds a light of truth on the unethical. Just journalism verifies and monitors and maintains independence.
And all too often, just journalism suffers because of it.
I apologize for the length of this stream of consciousness column. I encourage you to read up about the victims of yesterday’s shooting. They were just journalists and I salute them.
Oh yeah, and buy my book, on sale July 1.