99% of the time I write about sports. Every once in a blue moon something happens that compels me to break outside of that and write. Write because I feel something. Write because I don’t know what else to do. Well, today is one of those days.
Earlier this morning news broke that two journalists had been killed while doing a live shot in Roanoke, VA. At the time we didn’t know much. The photojournalist’s camera was running the whole time and caught the entire disgusting act happen in real time. Disturbing, scary and mind boggling.
Social media and technology being what it is, the story didn’t stop there. Soon we found out that both journalists were shot and killed by former WDBJ employee Vester Lee Flanagan, aka “Bryce Williams” who was let go over 2 years ago for what the station’s GM described as always “looking for something to take offense to” and being “difficult to work with.” He ended up dying after shooting himself once the police were close to apprehending him.
Both journalists that were lost today had loved ones that also worked at the station. Alison Parker’s boyfriend and WDBJ7 anchor Chris Hurst (who happened to graduate from the same college as I did,) sent out a series of heart wrenching tweets chronicling their short time together. Adam Ward’s fiancée was reportedly in the control room at the station and watched the love of her life get shot and killed live on TV. Can you even begin to imagine?
I hate that it takes tragedy for everyone to come together. I always say I won’t wait until the next devastating incident to be better. To be a better son, a better brother, a better boyfriend… just better. Then I always settle back into my ways because that’s what happens in life. You feel for people going through things in the moment, but unless it directly impacts you, you move on.
We all know certain things in life suck. Getting a bad grade sucks. Losing your job sucks. Getting broken up with sucks. Death really sucks. Life in general can really suck, but it can also be amazing. You get a job you love. You meet the love of your life. You travel. You grow as a person. You experience things you always wanted to experience. You live.
As much as today is another one of those days where it’s easy to get down and wonder “why?” it’s also a chance to find the good in life. Appreciate the small things that maybe you don’t notice on “normal” days. Enjoy the way your coffee tastes, or the fact that you’re healthy and still breathing. Even if it’s just for today, know that all the other BS really doesn’t matter.
It’s also OK to be sad. I know I am. After watching the chilling videos of the shooting, I sat in my chair at work shaking. Shaking in disgust and anger, but also shaking because it was scary. Scary to watch something so violent and definitive come across so calm and calculated. It’s ok to hate that this happened. It’s ok to worry you could lose someone you care about. It’s ok to want to crawl into a hole and not come out. It’s all ok.
My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who was affected by this senseless tragedy. Like I said, it’s foolish and heartbreaking. I just hope that we can all take an extra moment today to realize that life isn’t that bad. Take a moment to tell people in your life you love them an extra time or two. And take a moment to just smile. While life often seems much bigger and more complicated than that, in the end that’s all that really matters.