Tuesday, April 17, 2007

At Least 33 Dead In The Worst Mass Shooting In US History (Monday's Show)

Hi everyone. Well, what a sucky Monday, huh? I have to say, this shooting does nothing but reinforce my belief that this period in April is just not a good time. Let's see, there's been Waco, Oklahoma City, Columbine, my own personal family tragedy, and now this. I don't know about you, but I'm totally down with skipping straight to May. So anyway, the blogging won't be the norm tonight because 360 was essentially two hours of BREAKING NEWS. We know that this morning someone shot two people in a dorm at Virginia Tech University and about two hours later someone opened fire at Norris Hall in the university, killing 30 more and then turning the gun on himself. Besides that, we don't know much more. Authorities won't even confirm that the two shootings were done by the same person. This leaves a lot of time for speculating, inferring, and of course hearing individual stories. To recap all of this would be pointless because some of what we think we know now will be different tomorrow. That's the MO of the breaking news story.

Also, there's not really anything for me to snark or call BS on right now. In the coming days the ridiculousness will take hold (actually it's already starting). We'll hear from "experts" that will drag out the same tired possible reasons for the shooting: video games, movies, tv, music. Marilyn Manson's image might find it's way back onto all our tv screens. Talking heads will shout back and forth over a renewed guns rights debate and some might even go as far as to advocate guns at school. Oh, too late. Politicians will then trip over each other as they rush to Virginia and show that it is they that are most empathetic and somber. And gosh darn it, isn't that a great quality in a president? Finally, everyone who was clutching their pearls last week over Don Imus and the nasty things that rappers say will this week be fretting a-new about how we keep our kids safe from random acts of violence. Don Imus, BTW, will spend the week recovering from being sucked in, spun around, and spit out of a news cycle. As for 360? My friend Arachnae has a prediction for them: second hour on Friday, a Very Special AC360: A Nation Mourns. Complete with montages and tasteful music. But that will all be for another blog. For right now it's all too sad and tragic. I would however like to thank Tom Foreman for making me laugh tonight when he pulled out his map of the university. Always with the maps!

You might have noticed we had John King filling in (and getting blown around) for our intrepid anchor tonight. So where in the world is Anderson Cooper? Well, somewhere between Virginia and Afghanistan. And I have to say my mind is boggled. Anderson was suppose to be anchoring live from Afghanistan all this week, but it seems that due to this shooting story they had him turn right around and come back. If he was in New Orleans or something like that I could understand bouncing back. But Afghanistan? A trip like that takes months to plan and I imagine is an enormous effort by tons of people. For them to just throw that away is pretty shocking to me. Of course I don't know the reasoning or who even made the decision. Was Anderson dying to come back to cover the big story or is there one ticked off anchor on a plane right now? Who knows? I do know that when I read Anderson's blog about how the soldiers in Afghanistan feel they have been forgotten it made me feel pretty crappy knowing they'd essentially been bumped for more immediate fare. I suspect I'm not the only one that feels crappy about that. Hopefully they'll get to go back soon.

I just honestly don't understand why they couldn't have stayed a few days to at least file a bunch of stories. Obviously they couldn't air any coverage from there tonight because though I hate speculation even I can agree that would be ratings suicide. But if they wanted their big anchor on screen they could have had him intro packages... or not even. John did fine by himself. Anderson is my favorite anchor, but he's not CNN. I don't get why they can't live without him in Virginia. Of course I suppose they are going to need someone to take over after all of the other anchors are hospitalized with pneumonia. I should point out though that while 32 people lost their lives to horrific violence today, more US soldiers lose their lives to violence in Iraq and Afghanistan every single month. But I guess we're used to that now. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who's lost someone.

I will leave you with a story that's kind of funny, kind of stupid, and fairly disturbing. My siblings and I all went to the same public high school, with my brother being the last one to graduate in 2005. When I was in high school we dealt with violence and fights, but it was pre-Columbine, so talk of school shootings wasn't the norm. However, after all that happened the school apparently worked on prevention and then eventually drills. When my brother got to high school they one day decided to practice their "school shooting drill." One of the main things the students were suppose to do in this drill was to push all their desks and chairs up against the door so as to keep the shooter out. Sounds like a pretty good plan, right? One problem: the doors opened from the outside. Your public school system, ladies and gentlemen!

I expect to resume regular blogging tomorrow, but it will depend on the coverage. Any thoughts?

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Anonymous Treeve said...

At the risk of sounding completely insensitive and callous:
"There are two wars on! There are two wars on! There are two wars on!"

Although it is important to cover a shocking event of this magnitude, the families and friends of the victims would probably appreciate the spotlight NOT shining in their faces for a few minutes. Ignoring what is going on elsewhere in the world (and indeed the rest of the country) smacks of sensationalism. I am gradually losing respect for AC360, and if they cancel their planned coverage of Afghanistan, there will be none left by the end of the week...

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your story about the doors opening from the outside, LMFAO! It sounds similar to a story my sister had from a HS earthquake drill. For the drill they made an annoucement over the loudspeaker for all the kids to go outside into the parking lot because it's a large open space. Problem, just look up and you will see about - 20 electrical lines above the kids heads...not smart those will be amongst the first thing to fall down in an quake!

10:04 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@treeve-I'm sure the families would have appreciated not being descended upon by the media too, but unfortunately that's not the culture we live in. I'm cutting 360 a little slack...for now anyway. As I said in my post, to not go full coverage on the shooting would have been ratings suicide. I'm just hoping that in the next day or so they'll start getting back to at least including some other news in the broadcast. After all, as horrible as it sounds, 33 dead is like a normal day in Iraq.

@anonymous-Schools are ridiculous, aren't they? My brother had another story where they locked the school down because of a bomb threat. Shouldn't you not be in the school if there's a bomb threat?!

12:14 PM  
Anonymous treeve said...

@eliza: 33 dead is a good day in Iraq...

1:11 PM  

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