Category Archives: Uncategorized

Young. Dumb. Dead

Jamisha Gilbert pictureThis week has been filled with heartbreak in our community.  It started when another young woman went missing and only a few days later turned up dead.
Jamisha Gilbert’s disappearance and her death is so fresh considering we are still grappling over Alexis Murphy.  Alexis, by the way, is still missing and this  week we hit the four month mark since she vanished.
It’s tragic to know that one mother knows where her daughter is (provided little comfort), while another mother still suffers at night not knowing if her daughter is alive.

Add to the mix, the 11 college kids from Washington & Lee who had their lives changed forever this week.  They were all riding in an SUV after a night of “lot’s of fun”, only to crash.  One kid killed.  vigilI’m sure the driver will be charged with
vehicular manslaughter any day.  He’s already charged with DUI.  The thing is, it could’ve been any of those kids behind the wheel.  He was probably just unlucky enough to have the largest vehicle.

Then there was the incident between two friends in Roanoke on Wednesday afternoon.  One of them was handling a gun.  It went off.  The other teenager was killed.  Child’s Play?

In all of these incidents, what comes to mind is young and dumb.  Before you think I’m here to pass judgement, I’m not.  The truth is at one point we’ve all been young and dumb.  I can think of a few things in my high school or college days that could’ve taken me on a whole different path.  For that matter, there were some decision I made in my 20’s that could’ve put me in a coffin a lot sooner.

I’m sure many of you could say the same even if you don’t do it publicly.

What really disturbs me though is how I believe social media has perhaps magnified and glorified dumb behavior.

Explicit warning labels on CD’s,  Rated-R movies and Pay-Per-View were the threats in the “old days”.  Now we have Facebook, Twitter, Vine, YouTube and the list goes on.

In so many of these tragedies now, it’s bothersome  to see these young girls on Facebook and making online videos, just putting themselves out there as a piece of meat.  This week we’ve seen more videos of “kids in the news” readily admitting online that they smoke weed.   How many times have you run across Facebook photos showing underage drinking?

Don’t you know by now that when you do something online you do it in front of the world?  It’s young. It’s dumb.  It’s tacky.  To you young women out there, let me tell you, what you all are doing online isn’t cute and oh yes, there are consequences.  I don’t think that is reason enough to be murdered or raped, but you have to know bad behavior attracts evil.

Parents, you gotta start talking to your kids and don’t wait until they’re 14 and 15.   “Train up a Child….”  And yes, while all children make mistakes (as part of badge of honor to adulthood), we all have to step up and revert back to the “It takes a Village…”

Our kids will be young and dumb, but it is imperative that those of us who survived our poor decisions, protect them from theirs.

There’s No Place Like Home

Old Mesilla - you'll find a lot of history here including tales of ghost spotted in one of the restaurants even today!

Old Mesilla – You’ll find a lot of history here including tales of ghost spotted in one of the restaurants even today!

I recently had the opportunity to go back home for about a week.  I was in Las Cruces, NM not only to visit my parents, but I was also on program as the main speaker for my childhood church’s Centennial celebration.

A lot of people — A big deal!

I was so glad when my 45 minutes speech (which I thought was 15 minutes) was over.  I worked on that thing for nearly 9 hours and still wasn’t sure how it would be received.  As I told the crowd “When you go home, you just have to get it right.”

Boys II Men filmed their music video "Water Run Dry" here and you'll also probably notice a few scenes from here in Transformers 2.

Boys II Men filmed their music video “Water Run Dry” here and you’ll also probably notice a few scenes from here in Transformers 2.

Fortunately it went over well and I’m so humbled to have had that opportunity.  Out of the many speaking engagements I do each year, this certainly will make the top three.

 

 

I also of course got a chance to indulge a  little while I was in the Land of Enchantment.  There’s nothing like the real deal.   People always ask me what is New Mexico like?  It’s like a lot of places.  We have grocery stores and mountains.  Yes, it gets quite cold.

nmfood

 

The food is phenomenal!

 

You have to make your own fun at times but, isn’t that almost everywhere?

Apparently NM has its own drink now.  In case you're wondering that's the Zia symbol which is on the state flag.

Apparently NM has its own drink now. In case you’re wondering that’s the Zia symbol which is on the state flag.

A Lesson For Us All

meomMidnight came and went on September 30th.  The federal government shut down (partially).  How did this happen? Why did this happen?

Probably the easiest answer is because of partisan difference.  However, I think we’d be fools if we didn’t acknowledge the take away for all of us is so much bigger.  Let our lawmakers unwillingness and inability to work together be a lesson for us all.

How many times have we as “everyday” folk allowed our greed, pettiness, hate and jealousy filter to through our work, home and other aspects of our lives?  Our actions and emotions have a way of spreading.  Were you  cruel to a co-worker or someone at church?  Who knows what you could’ve accomplished TOGETHER if you hadn’t offended so-and-so.

Hopefully Washington will get it together soon enough.  In the meantime, we should put our own lives under a microscope  and examine what kind of shutdown we’ve created and the fall out we left behind.

March on Washington: 50th Anniversary

Five decades after Dr. Martin Luther King shared his dream on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, I had a front row seat to history.MOW
On the 50th anniversary of the famous “I Have a Dream Speech”, I traveled to the nations capital to report from the March on Washington.  That was the story many of you saw on our newscasts, but wow where there some other great stories.

I rode up with a group of Roanokers on a chartered bus.  One person asked me not to put them on camera because they called in “sick” to work.  For this person, going to the march was that important.  They’d been alive during the 1963 march.  They were 15-years-old.  They wanted to go then, but like a lot of parents at the time, mom and dad said no, not sure if the March of 1963 would erupt into violence.

Hollani Davis and WDBJ7 Photographer Rob Chewning reporting from the March on Washington August 28, 2013

Hollani Davis and WDBJ7 Photographer Rob Chewning reporting from the March on Washington August 28, 2013

Another person I talked with while covering this story also didn’t go to the March in 1963.  At that time they too were a young adult.  The person candidly and bravely admitted their family was fearful of blacks. By nature, this person inherited some of those same attitudes and it wasn’t until later, they realized we’re not so different.

That was the beauty of yesterday’s event, to watch people of all races and religions gather at the National Mall in harmony.  There was so much bloodshed to get to this point and while we still have setbacks, reporting from the 50th anniversary was a picturesque moment that’ll be with me forever.

All Babies are V.I.P’s

pacifierThere’s something about a royal baby that makes everyone feel a tinge of excitement.  That is the case this week after one of the future heirs of England’s monarch made his way into the world. 

With all of the pomp and circumstance that’s been leading up to this for weeks, if not months, it made me think; shouldn’t every child that enters this world be celebrated and cared for in the same way?  I’m not necessarily talking about money but about ensuring that our children have bright futures.  Forget the fact that England’s newest prince will have the red carpet rolled out for him everywhere he goes.  More importantly, he will be educated, fed and loved.  All of our children, whether they have a title in front of their name deserve these same basic rights.

The Children’s Defense Fund reports:
 
-A child is abused or neglected every 42 seconds.
-A child dies before his or her first birthday every 18 minutes.
-A child or teen is killed by gunfire every 3 hours.