What happened last week at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland was horrific. Many of us in the field of journalism on all levels watched in horror and thought about how easily this could have happened to a newsroom we were involved with. Many of us have angered people to some extent, often to the point of people wanting us dead.
Frankly, it’s part of the job. To do it right, you’re sometimes going to anger people.
Most, however, complain loudly and maybe write a nasty letter to the editor. On Thursday last week, someone went much further than that.
As horrible as it was, though, you’ve got to hand it to one member of the editorial board. Trudy McFall, a community member of the editorial board, saw an opportunity in the tragedy, it seems. After all, people died, so why not beat the drum of gun control while you can.
I write stunned and with tears in my eyes. On Thursday, the Capital was attacked in another of this country’s tragic gun massacres and five devoted journalists are gone.
It is a bitter and terrible irony that having just completed serving as a community member of the Capital Editorial Board, I had promised to write of my experience. Never could I have imagined that this would mean sharing my grief and anguish over an attack on the people who work to bring the news to our community and who have gained my great respect as I have gotten to know them.
Over the six months I have served on the Editorial Board I have walked numerous times into that open, welcoming and cheerful newsroom and seen the hardworking people looking, in hindsight, so trusting, accessible, and vulnerable. There was no place to hide, they were just there, open to the community they served. It breaks my heart to think what that was like as they were shot in that place. All because we lack reasonable gun control laws in this country.
Now, let’s unpack this for just a moment.
The Capital Gazette‘s newsroom was shot up by a shotgun-wielding man with a grudge because we lacked sufficient federal-level gun control?
What are you, Ms. McFall, dense? Or are you just intellectually dishonest?
First, this happened in Maryland. Maryland has gun laws that are among the toughest in the nation, yet absolutely none of them stopped this man from getting a firearm and using it to murder people in that newsroom. It’s not like this happened in a state with lax gun control on the books. No, it happened in Maryland where they restrict a great deal when it comes to firearms. Oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s not California, New York, New Jersey, or Massachusetts by any stretch, but it’s not exactly Texas, Arizona, or other states that are known for recognizing a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms.
How did all those laws stop this man?
Yeah, they didn’t.
While we’re at it, please tell us precisely which laws being discussed would have stopped him from the federal level? Name just one. I dare you. I double-dog dare you.
There’s not a damn one. There’s been absolutely no effort to curb shotgun ownership. In fact, the former vice president once famously advised people to get a shotgun for home defense. Granted, he also said to shoot through the door without knowing who was out there, but that’s neither here nor there. Biden told people to buy shotguns. The Obama administration essentially endorsed shotgun ownership at that moment for crying out loud, so just what “reasonable” gun control would have done a thing here?
That’s right. Not a damn thing.
But hey, let’s not let that get in the way of you trying to use the blood of colleagues to paint your “rah-rah” gun control sign. No, go right ahead using the bodies of the slain as your soapbox to make a pathetic point that doesn’t hold up to about three seconds of scrutiny.
As they say, you do you.
In the meantime, though, I’m going to lambast every idiot that tries to pretend there were gun control measures even being considered that would have stopped this attack. That’s what I do.