COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Two young journalists lost their lives Wednesday morning during a senseless act of violence on LIVE TV in Roanoke, Virginia.This was incredibly shocking to me.
I knew Alison Parker. I hired her into her first TV reporting job at my previous station in Greenville/New Bern, NC. She was a smart, energetic and creative reporter who asked for, and generally got, the lead story every day. As the nightmare unfolded Wednesday, I cannot help but think of how vulnerable Alison and her photographer Adam Ward were that morning.
These professionals, like many across the country were exposed. They were concentrating and totally focused on delivering a message live on the air. The attacker, in this case, used that to his advantage. He was festering a vendetta since he was terminated from a TV reporter job at that station (WDBJ) two years ago.
Many are questioning, once again, whether gun control legislation would have prevented this heinous act.
Andy Parker, Alison's father, has bravely stepped forward, with the support of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, in calling for more extensive background checks. While background checks are required from licensed dealers under Federal law, private sellers such as gun shows are not obligated to do so (in all states).
As a General Manager of a television station who has many employees exposed as they cover the news every day as Alison and Adam were, we believe that a measure of background checks on gun purchases such as Andy Parker is suggesting is a worthwhile consideration for our lawmakers.
To all fellow television journalists out there, stand tall and keep making a difference. Do it in honor of the two brave souls who lost their lives Aug. 26.