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Thoughtful Thursday and a Newspaper shooting


Thinking of my Daughter on her anniversary yesterday. Children grow up so fast. It was when they were born that I saw what was important in life and started to enjoy it more. For the moment you have a child, it’s no longer about you. It’s about your family. Mine are both grown and married and on their own and will start their own families someday. Anyway happy anniversary to my daughter and her husband. My son just had his anniversary also. These things are very important to celebrate. They indicated your both still trying and heading in the right direction for a long, loving and fruitful relationship. It should feel important.

I’m thinking about a visit later this summer from one of my best friends who lives a distance away. I’m looking forward to spending some relaxed time together, laughing together again, raging about history and future.

I’m thinking that being it’s going to be a very warm night outside and that I might have to try some night photography.

I was relaxed thinking of many wonderful things yesterday when I was writing the above, when the news of the shooting at the Maryland paper happened.

To my fellow Newspaper men and women at the Capitol Gazette, my heart goes out to you all because of yesterdays events. I used to know several people there back when I was involved with the MDDC press association. (Maryland, Delaware and DC), but its been a long time. You have my donation for those injured and killed. If any of my followers or readers feel compelled to help –

From the smallest newsletter to the largest publishers, the chance and real possibility of pissing off one person or millions of people each and every day exist. And that was before all the inflammatory rhetoric that started a few years ago. When a president says repeatedly that the Media is the enemy of the American People, and its all fake news except for Fox, it’s only a matter of time till someone acts on those words. It certainly hasn’t made working in this industry any easier.

There is a horrible stain on newsprint today.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Even at the small community paper two friends and I started we had a bomb threat, called in. Guy even left his address, because he didn’t want our paper. The police had a nice conversation with them and we didn’t give them a paper again, so all was well.

But what has changed at least in the last decade, of the over 4+ decades I’ve spent in this industry is the level of hostility. Several years ago I started to be careful about telling people where I worked. And I still am today because I don’t want the blowback if their politics or thoughts about an article or opinion expressed by a writer doesn’t sit well with them. (Note: I’m not a writer or editor). But I’m guessing the person walking through the door with a gun, really isn’t going to ask that question now is he?)

For the first two decades of my career, I was always proud to say I worked at one of the largest community chain of local newspapers in Maryland with The Times/Patuxent Publishing. I was extremely proud to say I was a publishing partner in The View Newspapers. I was always proud to say I worked at The Washington Post. Because even when people had a beef with your company they would express it in a civil way for the most part. And I would even enjoy engaging them about how we could do better and pass that along to our Editorial and Photographer types.

Now days I’m a bit leery of saying I work for the Post in public. I see the hostility in the online arena get even worse. I don’t want to have to strap on a gun or mount my shotgun between my headrest on my Miata. That would look cool though with the top down. Or maybe two of them in the center console pointing upward like stacks. Sorry, got lost in fantasy.

But then again, is it? At times in my career I’ve worked night shift. And night shifts in DC are nothing like that place many people come to during the daytime hours. It’s a different animal and you had better know it and be ready for it if you are going to be out and about. I feel today that animal has a new breed that are going to act on the hostilities that are being voiced repeatedly and take matters into their own idea of what they think is righteous action.

And how are companies prepared for this? I have trouble thinking an unarmed security guard is going to stop someone with a shotgun. So plan B is under way in my mind. And I don’t want to hear anything about this Shelter in place shit while some madman walks room to room blowing people away. Its fight or flight for this guy. Whichever is called for.

I read where the president has expressed his thoughts and prayers on the shooting. Well I’ll speak for myself here, I don’t need your thoughts and prayers, I need you to tell the people, that the media are an important part of any democracy, and that you should not say things like we “are the enemy of the American people” because people hear that message and it can result in future tragedies.

And on a personal note the people I’ve known over many decades from Newsrooms are honest, compassionate, hard-working stiffs who usually always have the best interest of the people and communities they serve, and that we all live in. Do they make mistakes, well hell yeah, they are humans. Do they own up to them more than our president, hell yeah.

Lets all get our act together soon, or the Wild West will be the norm again. And this time with much better weaponry.

If it wasn’t illegal to carry in DC and against company policy, I’d come strapped to work. But in the mean time I’m going to get this 61-year-old body in shape and ready for at least some hand to had defence. I already know the building like the back of my hand so that is an advantage. Now I just have to think about weaponry at my disposal. We live in some strange F’ing times.

Random Thoughts of the Day

We just move from one mass shooting to the next. When are the people we put in power going to do something about it? Then again I might make more progress if I start to think and come up with some ideas for them.

I’m finding it hard to write calmly today.

I think I’ll hug my children this weekend.

Author: Mike Hartley

With a lifetime and a half in the Newspaper industry I'm preparing for my retirement career as an Artist, Writer, Photographer and Video content provider. I'm a proud father of two wonderful children and I'm still married to the first girl I fell in love with and probably only one that would have me.

2 thoughts on “Thoughtful Thursday and a Newspaper shooting

  1. It’s truly frightening. Democracy can’t happen without a free press, yet that idea seems to have gotten buried so far under the mounds of BS that people seem to have forgotten it.

  2. Wonderful insight and I too would be reluctant to mention my employment in these days. I agree that the rhetoric coming from Washington is way to confrontational. It comes from both sides, both parties are responsible. President Trump has made too many statements he should not have, Maxine Waters is another person who has thrown fire on a delicate subject. But neither are responsible for what happened in Annapolis, the shooter is responsible. As far as prayer goes I accept and embrace any and all prayers, prayer makes a difference and changes things. I am so sorry for what happened in Annapolis my prayers are with all those effected at the Newspaper and their families. Special prayers for you my friend, I can not begin to know what it must be like being in the Newspaper Industry and being affiliated with the Annapolis paper. The third shift downtown must be scary in deed. I do think a shotgun rack in the Hot Rod would be cool. Be safe. love ya.

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