Sunday, September 23, 2018

Praying in the blur.

This has been a busy news week.

So much buzz, I've had a hard time keeping track of it all, not to mention the stack of political stories. Two mass shootings, one in Wisconsin, one in Maryland. One cop facing trial in Dallas for killing her neighbor in his own apartment, which the accused officer says she mistook for her own. Another veteran police officer on trial in Chicago on charges of first-degree murder. He allegedly, unnecessarily shot a suspect 16 times, killing him in the street. That shooting was captured on police video and has played everywhere.

Visit the Web site of any local TV or radio news station or big city daily paper and you will find headlines like:

"21-year-old killed in shooting at Fort Worth party"

"1 killed, thirteen wounded in city (Chicago) shootings"

"Man, 64, shot in foot in Michigan Avenue (Detroit) drive-by"

Day after day, local media turns the valve on an endless stream of carnage from coast to coast. A good friend and former major-market TV anchor told me the marching orders at her last gig were to report just two things "weather and crime in your neighborhood." Animated storm graphics and police blotter are cheap and easy to report. You send a lone photographer out to capture the shots of the house and the yellow crime scene tape. The news anchor yacks over it or your reporter writes a few inches of copy. Done. Roll your two minutes of commercials or run the full-page ad adjacent to the blood and guts.

According the Associated Press, Chicago police officer, Jason Van Dyke, told the Chicago Tribune he prayed daily for the family of the man he shot, teenager Laquan McDonald. If convicted, Van Dyke is facing the potential of spending the rest of his life in prison. McDonald has been dead since 2014.

Both families of the officer and the deceased wait tonight as Van Dykes' defense team opens its case  tomorrow. The victims' families in Wisconsin and Maryland will endure the funeral and burial process. The shooters who attacked their coworkers in both states are now dead. Both suffered from mental illness. Their families and friends are in indescribable pain, as are those who lost their loved ones to the heinous mayhem.

When we line up to argue for and against firearms in our national  debate, how many of us stop to think about all those suffering in the crossfire? Those whose child or brother went on a crazed rampage and slaughtered coworkers? Those who sit in jail cells awaiting trials for the unspeakable? Those who were randomly hit by stray bullets? Those who never came home from a party? Those who shot a friend because they had too much to drink or lost too much in a card game? Those who saw it happen?

Who prays for the vilified? Or the father who forgot to lock up his handgun? The one his child used to shoot a friend.

In the blur of gunfire and all the news stories, so many are wounded. And we all need to pray for them -- all of them.

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