I was going to launch into my thoughts about the Southeastern Conference today, but frankly in light of what happened his morning in my hometown of Roanoke, Virginia and at one of my former places of employment, WDBJ Television, it’s just not appropriate. We can get back to fun and games later, but today is a reminder that life hits you in a major way, at the most unexpected time and in a cruel fashion. I grew up in Roanoke watching Channel 7 religiously and dreamed of appearing on that newscast. Thanks to some good luck and a lot of help I was able to work there from 1983 – 1990 and achieved that dream. The two people killed this morning in a senseless act by a coward while just doing their jobs grew up in that area as well and I’m sure may have shared the same dream.
As I am sure you’ve heard a gunman opened fire during a morning show live shot at 6:45 am killing Reporter Allison Parker and Photographer Adam Ward. It’s bad enough that they were victims, but to have it appear on live television is something worse. Let me start by saying that I do not know either one. I worked at WDBJ probably a long time before they were even born. Although, I understand Adam was a former sports intern for my buddy Mike Stevens at the station. I am sure that if Mike had anything to do with teaching Adam the television business, he was pretty good at it. What I do know is that Allison’s life has been taken from her at age 24, and Adam’s at age 27. They were just babies with their entire lives and dreams ahead of them. They weren’t the only ones robbed. Allison’s parents lost a beloved daughter and her father lost his chance to walk her down the aisle. Adam’s parents lost a beloved son and the chance to hold his first born and have that child call them “grandpa” and “grandma.” And why, because they were just doing their jobs. This morning no doubt began like every day. They knew their assignment, but also had plans for after work and in the future. Life is indeed fragile.
I see reports of murder on television everyday, but having worked in the television business for about 13 years, this one hits a little closer to home. I can tell you first hand that we knew when we walked out the door on an assignment – even if it was sports like I did – there was risk and we would encounter any number of idiots and assholes. Not once, did something like this cross my mind. Obviously we live in a different world where few places are safe anymore. And, as long as evil exists (and this guy is clearly evil and will probably take the coward’s way out and take his own life rather than face justice) things like this are going to happen. There are two very difficult rules of life to grasp: Rule Number 1 is that bad things happen to good people, and Rule Number 2 is there’s nothing you can do about Rule Number 1. Let’s hope Allison and Adam rest in peace and their families find it. My heart also extends to their friends and co-workers. If you’ve ever worked in a newsroom, you know how close you become to your co-workers. They become family. A special honor goes to poor Kimberly McBroom, who I also do not know. This lady had to witness this on live television and by all accounts handled it with the grace and poise of the veteran that she is.