Tthe day after the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, hundreds of city residents filled the stands of the county’s Fairplex Arena for a vigil. There were also dozens of local, national and international reporters ready to record up close a village mourning the loss of 19 children and two teachers shot dead inside their classroom.
Journalists were asked not to approach people in the stands during the vigil, but some residents were still struggling to mourn amid camera clicks. As two weeping women hugged, a cameraman passed in front of them to capture the moment. Seemingly discouraged, a woman pulled him away and shook her head.
It has become another part of the terrible American tradition of gun violence. Media outlets around the world are sending journalists to cover up the horror he left behind after a mass shooting. They fill hotel rooms, sometimes make small, traumatized communities feel busier than ever, and sometimes create traffic around memorial sites.
In Uvalde, a small Latino community of 16,000 people in southwest Texas, residents welcomed the sudden rise in journalists as a sign of support, but they also felt completely overwhelmed.
“Everyone wants to hear the story. This has to be told, but it can be overwhelming,” said Justin Hill, a Uvalde resident. “Somehow it may be taking away the pain.”
At every Uvalde memorial, from the town square to the elementary school, there were cameras to capture the pain, sorrowful parents wondering why the police did not respond faster, the stories of the victims and a community facing an incomprehensible loss.
Journalists did important work in Uvalde, forcing greater transparency on the part of officials about what happened that day and why law enforcement did not intervene to stop the shooter earlier.
But teachers and relatives of the victims say they were also bombarded with calls from journalists and knocks on their doors. Constant questions about the new tragedy can be painful, residents say. On Thursday, a trail of cameras followed an afflicted and emotional family as they left the site of a monument. Local journalists have asked their colleagues in the media to allow families to mourn in private.
“I can’t speak,” said one victim’s aunt as she looked at the cross commemorating her 10-year-old niece, whom the family described as “full of love.”
Ravenn Vásquez was arrested for interview after interview while she was outside the city square on Wednesday with a sign that said “Uvalde forte”. “If it’s politics, just ask me not to be interviewed,” she told a reporter, exasperated, just before another reporter approached her and asked if she would consider staying for a few more minutes.
“Some people said it just gives me a little space, it’s not time yet. Everyone is as patient as they can be,” said PJ Talavera, a martial arts instructor who knew several of the victims. “Because I think everyone understands the magnitude and gravity of the situation.”
In some cases, the scenes echoed those following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, and Sutherland Springs after a church shooting in 2017.
“On the eve of Sunday night prayer, the mourners holding candles hugged and sobbed. The pictures were beautiful,” wrote Lauren McGaughy, a Dallas Morning News reporter. “What you didn’t see was the melee engulfing your friends and loved ones, photographers and journalists with iPhones playing to capture an image that didn’t even include the melee of the media.”
Still, in Uvalde, residents thanked the prominence of their village, they said, the support they received and the international outcry for what happened. But they wish that was not the reason why the world knows Uvalde.
“Not only are we mourning this, it’s the world and people need information,” Talavera said. “This is not just a tragedy for us, it’s a global tragedy. We’re all together, we’re together in this.”
That other American tradition: after a mass shooting, the media come to town Texas school shooting
Source link That other American tradition: after a mass shooting, the media come to town Texas school shooting