I woke up to a Facebook message from my friend saying there was a shooting at Sparks Middle School and her husband was fine (incidentally, Sparks is right next to Reno, where I live). She wrote this in all caps at least four times and with about five exclamation points behind each “fine.” I see this woman almost every single day at school during drop off. I like her. She’s one of those people who always has something going on because she can’t help herself. Plus she’s self-deprecating and thinks I’m funny, so what’s not to like.
Anyway, when she posted the “HE’S FINE” post, I responded with an appropriate amount of shock and relief, but inside, I was pretty calm. Like I said, she’s a funny, energetic person, so I don’t think the gravity of the situation totally registered with me.
Then I found out he was, you know, shot at and stuff.
I spent most of the morning watching news coverage and then accidentally getting switched over to The View (that’s half-an-hour of my life I’ll never get back). I posted some snarky comments on my personal Facebook page about how crappy said news coverage was. I was getting increasingly pissed about all the interviews the reporters were doing with kids (I really just don’t get why they think it’s okay to talk to kids when they’re in shock).
Then I told the Facebook followers at World’s Worst Moms about the shooting. And that’s when it all started…
In my post, I mentioned that my friend’s husband — a teacher — had gotten his kids to safety. Next thing I know, The Today Show is contacting me so they can get in touch with my friend.
So I text her. She’s FINALLY picking up her husband, five hours after this all started. She hadn’t even seen him yet. About 10 minutes later, she texts back that the L.A. Times has gotten his cell number.
Keep in mind that I used to be a journalist. I understand wanting to get the story and find people to interview. But there’s this moment when you have to step out of the newsroom bubble and remember you’re dealing with people.
And I know — everything has to be right now. We feel like we need to see it as it happens. And Facebook it. And tweet it. And if the story isn’t covered tonight and tomorrow morning on the news, then by tomorrow evening, it’ll be old news.
And all of these people who are calling? Even if one of them decides to hold off, there’ll be another one lined up right behind him. And he’ll get a pat on the back for getting the first interview.
But isn’t that sad?
After all, if we can’t even give a family 10 minutes to hug each other and relish a moment of gratitude before we start bugging the hell out of them about how it feels, it makes you wonder — will we ever really find out?