By Tamas Mondovics
When those reporting the news, become the news.
Honest, hard-working journalists are often known for putting their lives on the line to inform and educate the public they serve.
Sadly, after blasting his way into the Capital Gazette newsroom on Thursday, June 28, in Annapolis, a gunman with a pump-action shotgun killed five people, forcing those reporting the news to become the news.
Here at The Tomahawk Newspaper our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with victims and their families who are suffering as the result of this heinous, cowardly crime.
Our talented colleagues whom we lost last week included Rob Hiaasen, 59, a former feature writer for The Baltimore Sun who joined the Capital Gazette in 2010 as an assistant editor and columnist; Wendi Winters, 65, a community correspondent who headed special publications; Gerald Fischman, 61, the editorial page editor; John McNamara, 56, a staff writer who had covered high school, college and professional sports for decades; and Rebecca Smith, 34, a
sales assistant hired in November.
Two others were also injured in the attack that began about mid-afternoon at the Capital Gazette offices at 888 Bestgate Road in Annapolis.
As reported by the Capital, journalists dove under their desks pleading for help on social media during the horror-filled minutes that for all seemed like hours, including one reporter who has
reportedly described the scene as a “war zone” even as colleagues were fleeing for their lives.
The suspect, identified as Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, was taken into custody soon after the shootings, and was charged with five counts of first-degree murder. Ramos had reportedly barricaded the exit doors as part of a pre-planned attack, authorities said.
“This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,” said Anne Arundel County Deputy Police Chief William Krampf. “This person was prepared today to come in. He was prepared to shoot people.”
The Capital Gazette newsroom had vowed to put out a paper on the following day, and so they did, giving testimony to the commitment and value of their profession and the community.
Thus, on Friday morning, the Capital Gazette arrived on newsstands and in front yards across Annapolis, where residents reportedly said that their hometown paper means “everything” to them.
This latest slaughter of the innocent hits close to home, and should give all of us pause to reflect on the assenting role of journalists especially those in our own community as they work to ensure we know what is going on.
As we remember the fallen at the Capital, it should also prompt us to reject the hateful rhetoric of those who find truth inconvenient or the facts uncomfortable.
Finally, the staff here at The Tomahawk is confident that our loyal readers feel the same and hope that in a small way we can all reassure our support for the journalists who tragically became the news.