Friday, June 29, 2018

Incomprehensible. Wordless. And Bordered in Black.

Some sets of words just don't make any sense when strung together. "Redundant feathered doorknobs." "Democratic airborne hypotheses." But the set of three words that I heard yesterday, which really shouldn't make sense strung together, are despairingly familiar.  "Another mass shooting" has occurred, this one at the Annapolis Capital Gazette, the newspaper where Life Afloat first started 11 years ago.  (The name "Life Afloat" itself was coined by one of the murdered journalists, community news reporter Wendi Winters.)

I'm a writer and I deal in words. I'm supposed to have words, but I have none.

The sordid details involve a guy who sued the paper because he didn't like the story they wrote about him. He lost the suit because the judge decided that what the paper had written was true. It portrayed the guy in a negative light, because he had done negative things. He had been convicted of stalking/harassing a woman he had gone to school with. The day after he lost, he brought a gun and shot up the newsroom.

Newspapers do not have a duty to write only pleasant things about people and events. You don't have to like what they say about you, as long as it is accurate. Newspapers have a duty to inform and educate, to tell the truth to the very best of their ability. To make a democracy work, voters need knowledge, information on which to base their voting decisions. That's also why we have free public libraries -- going all the way back to Thomas Jefferson, who understood that democracies can only function with educated citizens.

Skip the "thoughts and prayers," thanx. Here's what I ask instead. Find a newspaper that you can believe in, one that hires actual journalists to tell you actual facts, truth without spin or agenda.  Buy a subscription, support them and quit looking for ways to circumvent their paywall.  Second, vote. This November, every November. No excuses.

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