Monday, June 12, 2017

Break The News To Me Gently

A look at the songs that have shaped
my life and ended up on my devices.
One year ago on this day, like many of you, I woke up to learn of a heart-wrenching tragedy: 49 people dead inside an Orlando nightclub at the hands of a gunman. For once, I was glad I was on vacation and not in the newsroom. I could turn it off when things got too emotionally heavy.

Just the night before, I had been at a Scottish dancing ball, reuniting with dancing friends in the Los Angeles area. After fun and frolic, I saw a first alert on my phone about a nightclub shooting in Florida, one considerably tamer than what was about to come. That same phone had served up a ditty from Brenda Lee on the drive back to my parents' house in Upland.

I had a long, sad drive back home to Tucson as the news unfolded all of Sunday morning into the afternoon. The breaking news had broken as gently to me as possible given the enormity of the tragedy. I didn't have to write scripts on it or plow through soundbites of the mourning and devastation. I just had to think about the aftermath and how all of us as a nation would be dealing with it, coming back to the same old questions about guns and violence and missed clues.

A month later, a man would open fire on police in Dallas. Then Baton Rouge would come under the crosshairs. We would jump from tragedy to tragedy in the newsroom, sorrow to sorrow, pain to pain.

I kept thinking, "I am so ready for the Christmas season, when people know how to be kind to one another. Or least, they remember how."

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