It seems daily we are seeing news stories about gun violence. I get it; the topic is a hot one right now. But yesterday’s story of a shooting in an office building here in Phoenix is different. Different because in this case I know the victim.
I learned about the shooting while scrolling through my Facebook feed. I was out at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, commented on it to my friends and went back to enjoying the day. Sad, really, that news of a shooting doesn’t make that big of an impact any more.
When it was time to leave the Open, I checked my voice mail and my friend Donna from Las Vegas had left me a message saying our friend Steve Singer had been shot. How could that be? Was he the victim of the shooting I had read about earlier in the day?
As soon as I got home, I jumped on the Internet and sure enough, it was Steve. I cried.
Steve and I have known each other since high school; we were members of the same youth group. His wife, too. Pool parties, dances, typical high school stuff. We stayed in touch over the years, seeing each other occasionally.
I scrolled through Facebook friends we had in common to see what everyone was saying. I posted the news on my status. Friends reached out, most didn’t know him but understand when something like this happens you want to make a connection.
And then my personal and professional lives collided. A reporter friend messaged me and asked if I wanted to talk about Steve on-camera. I have certainly acted as a spokesperson during other crisis situations, but this time was different. I had a personal connection. I passed. It just didn’t feel right.
And the media continues to have a job to do--they’ll look at the story from all angles. I’m not sure I want to know all the details and “whys” of this tragic story. I know the media will want to know as much as they can about Steve and his business dealings, his personal life. I know it’s their job, but now that job seems very invasive.
When the news involves someone you know, it is no longer news...it is personal.