How to be Famous: Go Get Shot

– Posted in: Complaining, Life is Dangerous, Mean People, Media, Nevada, Reno, School, Tammy Thinks, World Gone Crazy, Worst Mom Rants

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).

KOLO News interview -- student at Sparks Middle School

I pulled this screenshot off YouTube. In the interview, you’d think she was asking this kid how he felt about the last Ironman movie.

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?


How Getting Shot at Makes Us Famous

6 Comments… add one

rachel October 21, 2013, 6:02 pm

wow. Crazy, crazy stuff. Crazy, crazy, world 🙁

Tammy October 21, 2013, 6:52 pm



Kimberly October 21, 2013, 8:46 pm

I was appalled by that person from The Today Show reaching out to you ON YOUR FACEBOOK STATUS. Not even a private message to your inbox. You were a lot more respectful than I would’ve been, and for that I give commend you. I think you handled it well. I understand that there are so many people vying to get a story that it’s impossible to expect everyone to just let people process after a tragedy before hammering them for interviews. It just makes me a bit sad that we, as a world, feel the need to know EVERYTHING right away. Confirmation that a shooter is no longer a threat (either because he’s dead, in custody, etc.) is good. It keeps people from panicking. Interviews with kids before they’re reunited with their parents? Too far.

Tammy October 21, 2013, 10:52 pm

Honestly, I think news people just start to get jacked up when this kind of thing happens. I remember — your adrenalin gets pumping and it’s like an out-of-body experience. My guess is that half the stuff they did today was done in a sort of stupor. But I guess that’s what separates the veterans from the rookies. And frankly, it’s also why people need to go to school and do internships to work through some of this stuff in their heads BEFORE it happens. The current state of journalism just makes me sad.

Andrea October 31, 2013, 4:32 am

Oh, I’m so glad that your friend’s husband is okay. I have no desire to know everything right now. I kind of hate to admit it but I get most of my news from Facebook, and then only at the end of the day.
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Tammy November 3, 2013, 11:32 pm

I know. Me too. Scary day.

And I’m so “not on top of it.” But it’s fine with me. It’s not like the news is going anywhere.

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