The violent and tragic deaths WDBJ journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward while shooting a live segment at Smith Mountain Lake Wednesday morning brought a chorus of “how can something like this happen here?”
Sadly, such things happen just about everywhere nowadays and has been happening here for some time.
Two journalists died at the hands of a madman at Smith Mountain Lake. A few years ago, another madman at Virginia Tech in nearby Blackburg gunned down 32 studnets and faculty.
Violent death is a fact of life here.
In Floyd County in recent years, an illegal Mexican immigrant killed a trailer park handyman after an argument. Another killed his young son and claimed God made him do it because the child was a demon.
We live in a violent society. Arguments too often result in death.
We live in the south where more murders occur. Lousiana, Alabama and Mississippi top the list most years. South Carolina and Georgia make it five out of the top 10.
Some say existing gun laws protect the people. Others wonder if current laws are strong enough. The deaths of Alison Parker and Adam Ward came at the hands of a man who purchased his semi-automatic handguns legally at a Virginia gun shop. The angry Virginia Tech student who killed 32 also owned guns he purchased legally.
Both Vester Flanagan II, who killed the journalists, and Seumg Hui Cho, who massacred 32 at Tech, took their own lives after their crimes — a frequent way out for murderers.
Violent deaths by the hands of others are often driven by anger, lust, claims of love, or revenge for claimed injustices. Dan Dennison, the former news director of WDBJ TV and the man who fired Vester Flanagan II, called the man “a professional victim” whose paranoia controlled his life.
Two years after the violent massacre at Virginia Tech, students witnessed another angry murder when Haiyang Zhu decapitated Xin Yang publicly in the schol’s food court. Her death, he claimed, was driven by passion and unrequited love. He’s serving life without parole.
Later in 2009, a man walking his dog in Jefferson National Forest in Montgomery County found the bodies of Tech students David Lee Methler, 19, and Heidi Lynn Childs, 18. Both were shot. The case is still open.
Jesse Matthew, a former nurse’s aide at the University of Virginia Medical Center, faces trial for the death of 18-year-old Hannah Graham, a UVa student who went missing after a night on the town in Charlottesville. Matthew is also implicated in the death of Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student who disappeared in 2009 while attending a rock concert in Charlottesville.
Yes, we live in a violent society. The evidence lies dead around us.