The Blue Banner’s View: #WeStandWithWDBJ

By Michael O’Hearn, Social Media Coordinator

mohearn@unca.edu

9/2/2015

Last week, the nation was shocked to learn about the live murders of a reporter and her photographer in Roanoke, Virginia.

The two victims, 24-year-old Alison Parker and 27-year-old Adam Ward, lost their lives during a live interview when Vester Lee Flanagan approached them and gunned them down on television on the morning of August 26.

Which brings a question to the mind of this aspiring reporter: what do we do now? When will these heinous acts of murder come to an end? Add this to the list of growing sites of heinous murders in the last five years: Charleston, Newtown, Aurora and now Roanoke.

In the last five years, we have seen numerous deaths in places that we originally thought were safe.

A white supremacist opens fire on a church in Charleston, downing nine. An elementary school class of 27 was killed at the hands of a former student at the school in Newtown, Connecticut. All but 12 moviegoers watching the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises narrowly escaped the clutches of a psychopath in Aurora, Colorado.

And now, we can’t even go out into the field to bring the community a recounting of the day’s events. Live, and hopefully still breathing, from Roanoke, this is WDBJ News 7.

We often associate these types of events with the Middle East, where bombings occur every day and journalists are captured for interrogating and questioning. Think of Egypt, where on August 31, three journalists were kidnapped by the government because they weren’t “reporting the truth.”

In the days since this fatal shooting, numerous reports have surfaced describing Vester Lee Flanagan, who killed himself in a rental car following the murders.

Flanagan was fired from the WDBJ station two years prior to this event and colleagues at the station described him as being erratic, too sensitive and “management’s worse nightmare,” according to Trevor Fair, the video editor at the station.

Flanagan was fired after making an internal complaint at the station in early 2013.

Two words ring in my head when I read descriptions of Flanagan: mentally unstable. Tighter laws on gun control should go into effect following last week’s crime, barring those who fall under this category from obtaining firearms.

The parents of slain victim Alison Parker are rightfully taking a stand for gun control. Andy Parker, Alison’s father, clamored for “sensible gun legislation” in an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow on Sunday’s episode of State of the Union with Jake Tapper .

To bring about change in the legislation, Parker told Harlow he would be teaming up with astronaut Mark Kelly, whose wife, Representative Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in the head at a 2011 Arizona rally. There will be struggles. There will be backlash.

Second Amendment advocates fervently fight in support of their right to bear arms, even after this crime. When parents can no longer embrace their daughter because an angry former co-worker decided to effectively terminate the daughter’s life, this no longer becomes a matter of a heated issue but one of the lives of our children and loved ones.

It’s time to put the smoking guns down. Our government has a checks and balances system in place to overthrow the concentration of massive power in one branch should it come to that point. This system should be transposed to the way one can purchase a gun at a trade show or store.

I like what 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has to say about gun control. Sanders hails from Vermont, a state with little-to-no gun control.

Sanders strives to, instead of banning the Second Amendment rights of all Americans, prescribe to instant background checks on gun buyers and making mental health services more readily available as president.

I’m tired of turning on the television and seeing body bags and a mugshot of the perpetrator who robbed innocent victims of their lives. If I want a large amount of gruesome television, I’ll stick to watching CSI: or Supernatural.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *