Alison Parker a reporter and Adam Ward a cameraman for the Virginia station WDBJ7 was shot dead on live television on Wednesday morning. Ms Parker was conducting a live interview with a guest in the Town of Moneta on live TV when suddenly shots rang out and viewers saw the camera fall to the ground, and the shooter is seen briefly in reel from the fallen camera. Screams could be heard in the background before the live broadcast was cut back to the studio to a shocked anchor.
The gunman Vester Flanagan under his name Bryce Williams posted footage of himself opening fire at Alison from close range. The Facebook and twitter pages have been suspended and the footage removed. The chilling footage (warning it is graphic) shows the gunman walking towards the trio pulling out the gun then putting it away as he noticed the Adam Ward was pointing the camera away to obtain shots of the scenery instead of Alison and the interviewee.
The interviewee, Vicki Gardner of Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce was also shot but is currently in stable condition following an emergency surgery.
Flanagan fled the scene of the fatal shooting and when he was spotted by Virginia state police on the Interstate 66 highway 5 hours later, he refused to stop and drove away, crashing his car minutes later. As state police closed in on him, they found Flanagan suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot.
Flanagan accused his victims of making racist comments and said Adam reported him to HR after working with him once.
Flanagan is described by the WDBJ’s president as an unhappy man who was difficult to work with and had to be escorted from the station by officers when he was dismissed. Flanagan was a very angry man with a short fuse and sensitive to anything that can be deemed a racial slight. He sued previous stations for racial discrimination but the lawsuit was dismissed in court. He made many allegations and threats to colleagues and workers at the news stations he worked in which led to his dismissals. Read more from the BBC about the Flanagan’s profile.
He faxed a message to ABC News some two hours after the killings, praising the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado and the Virginia Tech shootings, He describes himself as a human powder keg, building up anger and waiting to go BOOM. He states he had suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work for being a gay black man in his rambling fax. He mentioned the tipping point as the Charleston Church shooting when he purchased his gun used in the shooting. Read more from ABC news on the 23 page fax.
It is very sad that these two journalist were the unfortunate victims of one man’s anger at the world for perceived slights. Alison and Adam are remembered as wonderful journalist, reporting on mostly lighthearted news, they would bring smiles to people they work with.
I think that people in general are getting too PC, every little thing can be deem racist, sexist or against religion. People want freedom of speech but also want the right to be offended when that freedom of speech is deemed by them to offend. I do believe the Avenue Q song everyone is a little bit racist is pretty spot on:
Everyone’s a little bit racist, It’s true
But everyone’s is just about as racist as you
If we all could just admit, that we are racist a little bit
and everyone stop being so P.C.
Maybe we could live in harmony
I am Asian, not Black or White, I have had my share of racism showered upon me, denied service at a restaurant, made fun of on the street, but just have to shake it off and not take it personally.
This will once again prompt talks about gun control laws in the United States as well as the second amendment rights of citizens. I understand the American gun culture is very much ingrained in them and there are many out there who demand their rights to bear arms. It is very much part of the world’s perception of America and it is only by a cohesive effort that American can change. But should America change their gun culture?
In the places I have lived in, Singapore, United Kingdom, Malaysia, guns are banned and not readily available to the public. Due to that, the number of gun crimes are low, and there are virtually no mass shootings in public places. Criminals will always have access to guns if they are determined enough and the black market will always exists but by banning guns, it does make is a lot harder for the average criminal to obtain it. It also stops many unstable individuals from obtaining them. With a bad enough day seemingly stable individuals are liable to snap and go on a rampage like Flanagan did.
On the other hand, I do enjoy going to the US to shoot at gun ranges and if I did live and work in the US I would get my own gun to use at a gun range as a hobby. However should my wish to own a gun be held in a higher regard to another’s and also my safety from lunatics? I am not an American and only Americans can decide for themselves whether they wish to make changes to the law on gun control.
A gun is a great equaliser, allowing both the victims and the aggressors to be on equal footing when it comes to an incident. It allows a young girl to defend herself from a rapist in the middle of the night, but it also allows for unstable people to carry out their massacres easily.
I leave with a comedy routine from Jim Jefferies on gun control which has been making the rounds on the web.