So much of our time we spend planning. But no amount of planning can prepare us for some things. This is certainly true for the loved ones of the Virginia TV reporter and camera man who were gunned down this week while doing a live interview. This latest tragedy reinforces how vulnerable we all are, and how our lives and the lives of our loved ones can be changed forever in a split second. It also reinforces how connected we are.
According to the reports, the man who killed these two innocent people had been an employee of the same TV station, and had lost his job a couple of years previously. His act of violence appeared to be aimed at the TV station, not the individuals; they just happened to be connected to the station. They lost their lives due to that connection.
It is too early to tell if there are people who knew the gunman who had any indication of his plan; we may never know that. It is not uncommon, however, for someone contemplating a horrific act to give some clues of those plans to others. It is also not uncommon for those people to fail to let the authorities know what they know. When this happens, a tragedy cannot be averted. Of course, when someone with knowledge of someone else’s horrible plans reports such, that is no guarantee that the tragedy will be averted, but the individual has done all they could be expected to do.
What sense are we to make of this recent tragedy? Some will point to mental health issues, and the need to provide more and better mental health treatment. There is the need for that, regardless of any relationship to such in this situation. People who are mentally healthy do not kill others, nor do they make threats of such. Family members who are aware that a family member, friend, or even an acquaintance has mental health issues that could result in danger to others has a moral obligation to let someone know of such, or to intervene in some manner. We are all too connected not to.
Some will point to the need for better gun control. Yes, we do need better gun control; most of us would agree with that, although there would be disagreement on the specific solutions. And as much I agree that “guns don’t kill people; people with guns kill people,” many will agree that there are too many people with guns who should not be able to get guns legally.
I am in no way implying that any of this was involved in the murder of the TV reporter and camera man. I have no knowledge of anything related to such. I am only mentioning these as variables that can be involved.
So, what is the point of this post? One point is my need to write about that which affects me, and this recent senseless killing affects me. Being a mother and a grandmother, I cannot imagine the grief of the loved ones of these two TV station staff who went to work on a day like any other, and were gunned down, never to see their loved ones again. I want all reading this to say a prayer for the families of these two innocent people. And I want us all to say a prayer of gratitude that we can hold our loved ones close, and never ever take that for granted. Our lives can change in a split second, and we could find our loved ones gone forever.
There is one more thing I want us to do. Look around, see who is hurting, and connect with them. It may be a teenager who struggles with feelings of inadequacy, and needs us to show we care. It may be an elderly loved one who lives alone, and sorely needs someone to just spend some time with them, just sitting with them. It may be a co worker who is negative, who it is easy to ignore, who needs to know that someone sees them as worthy enough to ask them to go to lunch. It may even be a child of yours who just needs you to put your phone or tablet down long enough to look them in the eye and give them your attention.
For we are all connected, and the connection should be positive.
It is now time for me to put this computer away, and spend time with my loved ones.