all news is local, some is personal
Annapolis hits too close to home.
My mind is filled right now with images of what could have happened.
I see dear, sweet Helen in anguish and pain. I hear wonderful Annette screaming over the intercom while I can't hear that lilt of "This is Margie" anymore. Stately Spencer's tie is askew as I never saw it during all those years. His glasses are across the room. And he is dead.
Jim's run in with his camera and is snapping photos that will win (again) everything in the Georgia Press Association contest. Only this time, he won't grin about it. The pressmen would much rather be killing somebody themselves, but they don't. They give aid. The composing room floor is sticky from human not the wax that goes on the back of type. By the time the DeKalb Police Department arrives, the assailant would be long gone. Probably sitting in traffic on 285.
That scene could've been 739 DeKalb Industrial Way, Decatur, Georgia 30033. It was my home-away-from-home for about 3,000 days. We wrote what we saw. We editorialized a little, but it was pretty softball stuff. I mainly made refrigerator art for a living. Still, even in our genteel way, we made people very, very mad just because we pointed out a fact that may be uncomfortable for someone.
They blamed us like we were the ones who committed the crime or did that bonehead thing. It really got some people mad when we pointed out the impossibility that a 727 landed at Peachtree DeKalb Airport or that we didn't write that zoning ordinance that allowed 42 McMansions on a few acres.
We were just the messenger. A good one that had been in the community before Atlanta traffic. That's a long, long time. My Dad once told me a speaker at a DeKalb Bar Association meeting said he didn't believe anything until it was confirmed in the DeKalb News/Sun. That's who we were.
Just like the crew in Annapolis.
This how it could have gone down in my world:
Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. Five seconds. One receptionist and eight reporters, including me, DEAD. Assailant out the door and on 285 before the call even reached DeKalb 911.
Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. Almost immediately. One receptionist, two ad reps, and four reporters, including me, DEAD. Assailant out the door and on 75 before the call even reached College Park 911.
Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. Five seconds. One publisher, two ad reps and four reporters, including me, DEAD. Assailant out the door and on 285 before the call even reached DeKalb 911.
and on through my resumé.
And if you don't think local news can make people mad enough to grab a gun and re-load, go take a look at comments sections on newspaper websites. Some of them chill my blood. Why? Because I received my fair share of them (some of which were much more intentional because they had to be mailed, back in the day) and because I've been physically assaulted because of something I wasn't even going to write about.
I eagerly await news on some front page somewhere that reports someone, somewhere has done something. Something. Anything.