The Roanoke Virginia Reporter Shootings-Lessons to Learn

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 Allison Parker and Adam Ward

Now when was the last time we heard about the WDBJ/CBS reporters and their interviewee who were gunned down way back in….lets see WOW! Four weeks ago? Kind of fell off the news wagon in a hurry. Well, nothing to see there…no real takeaways, just an unfortunate incident…and the anti-gun crowd got no traction, so no follow-up. Hmmmm. I believe there remains a very valuable lesson to be learned.

The shooter, Vester Flanagan, should have been in treatment or jail, his name marked “ineligible” on any background check for gun purchase, and he should have been turned in for his periodic threats of violence-which he ultimately effected.

In his various jobs, his co-workers and his bosses, should have turned his ass in the first time he gave indications of being a violence-prone, paranoid, disruptive individual. The police, who actually had the opportunity, should have handed him over to the court system that should have put him into either jail, a treatment program, or both.

I know. That’s a load of should upons to consider. Here’s the bottom line: the root cause at work here is PC. Political Correctness. At every point in this guy’s storied history, when there was a chance for him to be taken to the figurative woodshed or alternatively, to the mental health clinic, it didn’t happen. I think he got passed over because, ironically, they knew he would angrily come after them for their racist homophobic profiling. And, he would have had many allies that would back him, not the least of which would be the major media. He actually did bring a lawsuit as such after being fired from a Florida TV station. The case was dismissed for lack of evidence.

From the interviews and reports gleaned after the shooting, none of his co-workers came off with the wearisome, “Gosh, he seemed like such a nice guy!” No one. Isn’t that telling? People worked alongside this guy in fear and dismay. And yet, the most anybody did was to call the police to escort him from the station when he refused to leave after being terminated. The “see something say something” anthem did not play here. Because nobody wanted to be called out or accused of political discrimination, this truculent child of a man was allowed to roam freely, buy a gun, and mete out his rage in the tragic loss of three young lives including his own. He also left holes in the lives of friends, lovers, and family members. It didn’t have to happen. Real love, tough love, not PC, could have made a difference.

How many Vesper Flanagans are out there roaming among us? In the office, on the street, at the game, raging at you in the next lane, or on the assembly line, it matters not what ethnicity, religion, age, sexuality, or kind of cereal they have at breakfast. We need to get our sheepdog vigilance up and running. If we see something that appears menacing, we assess the threat and say something. I’m not talking hall monitor crap. You know the difference between a beatdown and someone placing a recyclable plastic bottle put in the landfill trash. Right? Political correctness, if anything, deadens our sensitivity to what is really going on and can bind us to the same group think so prevalent in the streets of Berlin back in the 30’s. And we all know how that story ends.

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