Then Who Are The Good Guys?

Aug 3, 2018

Shouting in a storm is a waste of time. So much anger. So much hate. I usually don’t want to be part of that noise. But now I need to scream.

Because there’s blood on the newsroom floor.

I can see it clearly. I can smell it. I can feel the room aching from the pain. Because this time it’s real. And I’ve been in the room.

I say this time because threats often become a grenade of dark humor that newsrooms kick around between deadlines and headlines. We joke about craziness in the world. Gallows humor. But the mission is always serious. 

Newsrooms open windows. So you can see. Even when sometimes what’s out there is something no one wants to see. Is that why some feel reporters are the enemy?

There’s something in the news every day that is upsetting. To someone. So we are not shocked when angry calls come in. Callers hope our children die. They threaten to beat you. Or sue you.

Many of us in newsrooms have thought about the what if …

We try to laugh off the threats, but still wonder, what if it did happen? As an editor, I’ve worried about slashed tires or vulgar graffiti or an angry fist.

But a gun? 

Suddenly our gallows humor won’t work. The armor is gone. Fell off on June 28 when the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Md., became a brutal crime scene. Five dead. Plus the injured.

This news story will linger in newsrooms across the country. Where the what ifs will be harder to ignore.

Knowing there are people who see us as the “enemy.” And us wondering, if we are the enemy, then who are the good guys?

And who will keep the windows open?

I’m Lonny Cain and that’s my Perspective.