Riddle Me This: Can’t We Do Better?

It’s been said that tragedy brings out the best and worst in people. When events like the Aurora massacre occur – and how sad that I say “events” as opposed to isolating it to a singular, unprecedented occurrence – the behavior of both political parties should be placed under the microscope.

I said “both parties.”

  • Yes, Brian Ross jumped the gun.
  • Yes, Mayor Bloomberg makes my teeth itch.
  • Yes, the immediate calls to reopen the debate on gun control seemed premature.

But what about Conservatives. What was our reaction?

Friday morning as the details emerged, we were in the middle of our show. Mark had been on air since 5am hosting Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” and I was glued to CNN, Fox News, and various websites as I watched the news unfold.

Horrific stories of both victims and survivors were captivating. It was almost more than I could handle, but handle it, I did, because our listeners rely on us to keep them informed.

Prior to the Brian Ross gaffe in which he recklessly identified a man named James Holmes as being part of an Aurora Tea Party group, conservatives were already blathering on Twitter about how the media would blame a Tea Party member. Angry post after angry post forecasted the ways in which liberals would seize this opportunity to blame guns and gun owners.

Does the fact that these predictions were later proved accurate relinquish folks of their responsibility to not immediately make this about them and their perceived political victimization? There were real victims here. A young reporter that will never see her dreams unfold; young children have lost their fathers; a six year old will never experience the thrill of her first kiss.

Real people. Horrifying experiences. And we’re complaining?

Move to later that day when President Obama spoke to the nation. It was perfectly presidential. It was warm and even fatherly. It was moving. But it wasn’t enough, as I watched people in the world of social media criticize him and dissect his every statement, accusing him of political opportunism.

Laura Ingraham, a pundit I typically admire tweeted, “Obama will no doubt fly to Aurora & make “healing speech” as he did after Tuscon shooting.” Sixty people retweeted it.

My response (after correcting her spelling of “Tucson”) was simply … “shouldn’t he?”

During the President’s speech from Aurora Sunday night, I tweeted some of his remarks, including his opening comment which included beautiful and healing scripture. Within minutes, the cynical responses flowed in like a river of dung, polluting, what I felt to be, a beautiful moment for our nation. Our leader, speaking from the Word of God to offer hope to our nation in mourning, and I’m having to hear about how calculated and manipulative he’s being?


What is wrong with us? I know it’s an election year, but can’t we be human enough to turn off our inner political machines for a few days and just grieve that our countrymen have died?

There’s a time for everything. And this time … we got it wrong.

Myself included, and for that, I’m ashamed.

Thanks for reading.


A Horrible Tragedy Finds a Beautiful Face

To listen to this segment of today’ show, click here.

As I sifted through the Aurora-related tweets this morning, I was filled with the expected outrage that any sane person would feel. As information trickled out of various news sources, it was all tragic … but nothing particularly different from the dozens of tragedies we’ve witnessed before.

That is until I came across a tweet about a victim named Jessica Ghawi (who wrote under the pen name “Jessica Redfield.”)

This young woman  — an aspiring sportscaster who had recently moved from San Antonio to Denver — narrowly escaped a shooting last month in Canada. She wrote about her experience in a blog piece that I discovered this morning, and I immediately rushed into Mark’s talk studio to show him what I’d found.

An excerpt:

“I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday …

I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening. I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.”

We froze. How profound. What should we do with this?

It’s times like these that I appreciate this job the most. It’s the chance for us to tell a story that truly matters. Not the various details of a massacre or the dissection of the main stream media’s coverage, no … it’s the chance to put a face — in this case, a beautiful, spunky, inspiring face — on a story that, this morning, has profoundly affected us all.

Allover the world today, that face became Jessica Ghawi. Even in her death, I sure have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know her.