« Home | What Are Words For? » | Do What Now? » | Wake Me When It's Spring » | In "Who Gives a Shit" news.... » | Now THERE'S a game show I'd watch! » | The Diva turns three. » | Happy Bomis! » | Memo to car seat manufacturers: » | It wasn't supposed to end up this way.... » | Hep, Hep. » 

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 

A Moment of Silence

Bullets had barely stopped flying at Virginia Tech before the media began throwing salvos of their own. The situation was still unfolding during the first press conference Monday; I don't think there was even a clear number of victims at that point. Yet Chief Wendell Flinchum was already accused of not acting promptly enough to save lives.

Now, before we go any further, I do agree this needs to be investigated, and they need to find out where things went wrong in order to avoid these tragedies in the future. Was I the only one who thought that afternoon the focus wasn't precisely where it needed to be? What about those victims? What about the families involved? I realize the media has a job to do, but it could have waited a day. The police would have time to investigate and the media could turn focus where it needed to be...on the victims.

Thirty-two people are gone. Most families had barely been notified at the time of that press conference, yet the media had already discarded them in their search for the juicy bits, the gory details. Flinchum was lambasted for not having acted quickly enough. I'm sure he had played what if scenarios in his head at least 100 times before that press briefing. Meanwhile families throughout the country were waiting in agony. Most got news their loved ones were fine, the equivalent of a lottery winning. Thirty-two families got the tragic news their lives had been drastically altered. One mom this morning said she didn't get word until 11 pm that night. Several survivors gave graphic details to the press by this time, adding vivid pictures of last moments to the grief.

Yesterday during the convocation, Governor Tim Kaine heralded the VT students for the shining example of community and optimism they set for the country. VT students understood their peers deserved to be remembered. The community came out in vast numbers to show respect. Outpourings of love and loss must start before healing can begin, before answers can be demanded. Too bad that story was lost on the media.