Five months after the Capital Gazette shooting, many of us in Maryland, as the headlines told us, are grieving. But there is a broader national mourning that too often gets swept under the rug.
Like many of you, I was distraught by the violent end to an unprovoked attack at our community newspaper. While mourning the loss of six members of our newspaper staff, my heart was also broken for the journalists and community members who were shot — and who will now suffer through this tragedy with them.
These lives had vital ties to many of us and we mourn them. We will never heal the pain of losing people who live, work and play in our neighborhood, our backyards, and our families.
The FBI and local police have their work cut out for them. They must ensure that the perpetrator’s motives are found, in the course of their investigation, and in the court of public opinion.
But something else also matters in this public debate.
I am a father of a 30-year-old daughter, and I understand that she will be young enough when the next workday comes around that she could be among the co-workers who survived the attack. And if she has been laid off in recent months because her newspaper has shut down or been bought out, she may see that as the result of political winds in Washington.
Let me be clear: I am not upset that our founding fathers created the right to gather information for peaceful and lawful purposes. What I am upset about is that we allow this right to become, in the wrong hands, toxic.
It is easy to glaze over the hatred that motivated this killer. It is easy to write off people as jerks who kill people, write or watch things to convince themselves that violence is the only way to change the political discourse. It is easy to condemn either President Trump or President Obama. In reality, all of us are responsible for changing the nature of how we debate.
Let me talk about two potential solutions that could help.