"When you're there and you're hearing these stories, you try to block them out but you can't 'cause at the end of the day, they start playing back in your head."
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Think the Colorado theater shooting got inside YOUR head? Try being on scene. I wasn't, but Phoenix photojournalist Gibby Parra was. Within hours of the massacre, Parra and veteran reporter Mike Watkiss found themselves prowling the grounds outside the Aurora theater, interviewing witnesses, shooting video and filing reports. Surely, first responders have it worse. Cops, firefighters and paramedics don't just see tragedies up close, they pick up the pieces. But news crews, too, encounter things that cannot be unseen. It's something I learned years ago at a place called Campus Walk and it's something Gibby Parra knew long before he landed in Aurora. He and Watkiss were there as family members begged anyone who would listen to explain this senseless act. They couldn't, but in giving the distraught an electronic forum, they tried to give this atrocity a little perspective. As for Parra's perspectives, it's probably a shade darker after seeing firsthand just what evil can do...