Friday, July 16, 2021

Calling It Out

Print journalism is under attack from any number of sources these days. The survival of local journalism feels uncertain. Whether decimated by a succession of corporate owners or denigrated by the now-familiar  accusations of “Fake News!” our newspapers are struggling. Local journalists, overworked and paid a bare minimum, are, in my opinion, the most vulnerable and ill-treated.

On my mind this morning are the brutal murders at the Capital Gazette and the verdict yesterday that the killer is criminally responsible. My heart is with the family members, friends, and colleagues of the victims. Their names are worth mentioning here:

Gerald Fischman

Rob Hiaasen

John McNamara

Rebecca Smith

Wendi Winters

My mind is puzzling through some thoughts about the murderer. He was an abuser. Journalists covered a legal case that outlined his abuse. He didn’t want to be called out for his actions. He responded with violence.

I’m aware that my words are far from eloquent this morning. I’m trying to get at something that is a big concern for me. If you have suffered at the hands of an abuser, whether in a marriage or romantic relationship, a friendship, or in the workplace, you can easily recognize this man and his actions. It may make you wince, or shudder, or want to turn away. It may bring back memories you have tried to erase.

Abusers do not want to be called out for their abuse. They may completely deny any responsibility. They may place the blame on the victim. They may erupt, enraged at the prospect of facing the consequences of their actions. Or they may quietly, coolly plot what they believe to be a deserved scenario for revenge. In the case of the killer at the Capital Gazette, he had lethal weapons to carry out his plan.

Right here in Columbia/HoCo there are abusers. Some we will never know. Some are operating in public life and in community affairs. We don’t know which of these people have weapons and which do not. But we know they cause harm and they absolutely, positively do not want to be called out for their abuse. 

What do we do about that? Ignoring it and hoping it will go away is not the answer.

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