Tag Archives: Viewers

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.

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.

Where are your manners?

smileYou know, I’ve been conducting my own little experiment over the past two weeks.  It’s amazing how many people walk right past each other (the only two people in sight) and don’t say “Hello” or “Good Morning”.  It’s also amazing how rude people are when they’re the customer; for instance, trying to check into a hotel.

What I’ve always known, but realize even more is the words “Hello” or “Good Morning” can be a gateway to getting you a lot of good stuff. Maybe the hotel clerk looks out for you in ways he/she might not have.  Maybe, you just really saved someone from having a lousy day.  If opening your mouth and speaking is too much, what about a smile?  I just don’t get it when people pass each other and look away or look down.

I really think something this simple could truly change our society for the better.  Perhaps if people were nicer to each other, you wouldn’t have some kid walking into an elementary school and shooting up dozens of people.  Being rude has become the norm, not the exception now-a-days.  It’s truly and utterly ridiculous.

My challenge to you?  Try it and even if the person doesn’t reciprocate, you will feel better about yourself.

The Revelation….

I LOVE everything about Christmas, well almost.

Beautifully decorated Christmas trees make me happy!  Hot chocolate with marshmallows satisfy my taste buds as I try to survive the winter chill.  I love snow (as long as it doesn’t snow too many times or create thick layers of ice that lead to electrical outages).

Oh yea, back to what I love.

I love the true meaning of Christmas and the gift of salvation it represents.  I love giving gifts and seeing the reaction from those opening my presents.  I love, LOVE Christmas treats, especially decorating cookies.  I love how the mall seems to come alive with shoppers in a way that only happens around Christmas time.

But here’s the thing, I had a revelation while I was sitting in a waiting room today and there was no silence to be had.  I think I pretty much hate Christmas music!  It’s only November 28th and I’m about sick of Christmas songs.

There’s “Santa Baby” and “Jingle Bell Rock”.  You’ve got Christmas carols by the Chipmunks which sound like nails on a chalkboard.  They play on the radio over and over and over again.  Give me a good Boys II Men rendition of Silent Night and I’m cool, but the annoying tunes that have to do with Frosty and Rudolph…I can do without.

Am I a Grinch?  No, I would go that far, but I am counting the days until we can go back to our regularly scheduled (music) program.  Until then, thank goodness for CD’s.

Miseducated. Misguided. Misled.

I took a couple days off before writing this entry, to how can I put this?  I needed to collect my thoughts. Earlier this week, one of our reporters (Elizabeth Harrington) covered a story about a man in Craig County who has a monkey in his front yard with a cut out face of President Obama.  (The monkey is also wearing an Obama t-shirt).  Needless to say, the man is not a supporter of the President.  I could honestly care less who he likes, but as an African-American the whole monkey thing he’s got going, is completely disrespectful.  I would say the same thing and feel the same way if someone put a big cracker in their yard with a cut-out face of Mitt Romney.

Still, for anyone who chooses to show their emotions this way, it is their First Amendment right.  The guy says he doesn’t get the hatred mentality that his monkey references.  He also says, he has African-American friends.  Personally, I’m not so sure about that.  Friends are different from acquaintances.   I find it hard to believe that African-Americans per se would be your “friend” when you outwardly show a kind of hatred and bigotry that ultimately led to the Civil War and later the brutality of the Civil Rights movement.

If you don’t like someone or what they stand for, fine.  However, when you start reaching back and pulling out centuries old symbols that ultimately led to bloodshed and still scars our country, that I believe is crossing the line.

Still, as I said, I do believe this man has a right to keep this display.  I also believe WDBJ should have covered this story.  Our job is to report the happenings in our community.  Good, bad, whatever you want to call it, we give you the news.  Some of our viewers didn’t see it that way.  Here are a few of the emails we received.

“The airing of a foolish man who dressed up a monkey to look like the President of the United States and hung it on a flag pole with a sign speaks volumes regarding the level of disrespect for the office of the President (regardless of who or which party) some elements of our society are propagating.”  ~Roanoke Viewer

“I think that putting the monkey with the Obama face on it on the news was uncalled for. Why would you give a person who did that credence? Even if it wasn’t racist, (which I’m not sure it wasn’t), it sure was done in poor taste and certainly not newsworthy.”           ~ WDBJ7 Viewer

“There was absolutely no place for that racist to be but on what use to be my favorite news.” ~Roanoke Viewer

I would love to hear your thoughts!