I’m a creature of habit. I dare say most of us are, whether we like to admit it or not. Growing up in Roanoke, Virginia, it seemed that we always had two choices for local news and weather. There was the NBC affiliate, WSLS-10, or the CBS affiliate, WDBJ-7. In our house, it was always channel 7. Yes, there was an ABC affiliate, WSET-13, but who wants to watch news from a town that’s nearly an hour away?
But that’s not the point. We were a WDBJ family. That’s how we got our news every day. Now, as a kid, there were a lot of mornings when I just didn’t feel like watching the news and I’d try to change the channel to some sort of cartoon while I got ready for school. But Mom usually won out and we would tune in to Mornin’, WDBJ’s local morning news show.
As an adult, I still watch this program. Every morning, I turn on my TV to see what’s going on in the world and to check out what the weather will be like for the day and the days ahead. I always look forward to hearing the news from a familiar anchor. I like knowing that the meteorologist knows what he’s talking about (and I love answering his daily weather quiz questions correctly). I’m always interested to see where the live reports will be coming from each morning.
I was watching this morning as I got ready for work. I was out the door by 6:20 a.m. It was a normal day.
Then I heard the news that, during a live report around 6:45, a gunman opened fire on the WDBJ news crew covering a story at Smith Mountain Lake. Alison Parker and her cameraman, Adam Ward, were senselessly killed. She was 24. He was 27.
I didn’t know either of these journalists personally. But in a lot of ways, it felt like I did. These are the people I woke up to see every morning. Sure, Adam was behind the camera far more often than he was in front of it, but I was aware of his personality in the way he interacted with his team. Alison was young and full of life and, in my opinion, a top-notch reporter. My heart breaks in the wake of their loss.
I’m aware that senseless violence happens every day all over the world. But it sure feels different when it hits this close to home. I ask now that you join me in praying for the families and loved ones of Alison and Adam as they grieve in this time. Pray also for the WDBJ-7 family as they carry on while attempting to pick up the pieces.