Monday, December 12, 2011
Bum Rush the Show
I admit it: when news broke of another shooting at Virginia Tech last week, I promptly dove under my desk. Blacksburg may be a couple hours away but in the Spring of 2007, almost every news crew within this hemisphere made a beeline for the small Virginia town. Even Z-block zealots like myself made the trip, if only to witness one of the largest TV truck summits ever convened. There was, of course, great tragedy at hand - but for the distant affiliates, foreign bureau chiefs and network hotshots who roamed the campus that week, the massacre made but for a backdrop. and what a backdrop... Hundreds of tripods stood at attention as spotlights large and small chased shadows across Blacksburg's darkest day. It was a sight to behold and not for the best of reasons. By the very first nightfall, what began as a madman's fantasy had transformed into a slick and salacious sat-shot juggernaut, a commodity of sorrow served up in every skewed perspective our 24/7 news universe has to offer.
This time, however, the crime at hand did not involve mass casualties. That makes it no less horrific to those involved, but it did prevent the matter from devolving into some kind of hi-def circus. Perhaps no one was more thankful of that fact than El Ocho's own crew, who can be seen above reporting the facts -- withOUT turning aftermath into stagecraft. Me, I'm just sorry the latest shooting had to happen at all. Virginia Tech is a fine school. It no more deserves wanton gun-play on its campus than it does armies of correspondents trying to make their bones over gross and random depravity. As for that massive sat truck encampment on the far side of the school, it was awesome to watch, but it just ain't the kind of thing one wishes on any institution, let alone a campus as bucolic as Virginia Tech. Personally, I don't want to be part of a scum that large unless it's parked under a giant spaceship that just spit out Freddy Mercury.
Maybe then, I'll come out from beneath my desk.