There's no real way to rate tragedies. Yes, you can sort them by the number of fatalities, but that doesn't always tell the true stories. When children die, a tragedy can appear more tragic. When the victims are more relatable, unfortunately, that plays a role, too.
Like so many of you, I immediately thought of the recent movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., when news first broke of this morning's shooting at the Oak Creek Sikh temple. That heinous massacre captured the nation's attention. Presidential candidates canceled appearances. News anchors reported from the scene.
Will Milwaukee get this same kind of unwanted attention?
I'm not so sure it will. But if it doesn't, we should ask why not? Most of us admit we don't know a ton about the peaceful culture of the Sikh community, and unfortunately, the shock value and perceived newsworthiness of a shooting inside a "Batman" premier might be somehow more relatable than a murder inside an "obscure" temple in a Milwaukee suburb.
Believe me, this is not the kind of attention we want, and as a media company, this is the kind of coverage I hate to provide. It turns my stomach, just as much as I did when had to cover the occasional violent crime at my college newspaper. Attempting to provide news, while turning off our own emotions, is difficult, and while it can feel heartless, I know that it's our duty to deliver it.
But as a parent, as a Milwaukeean, I hope this shooting receives measured, appropriate and un-sensationalized reporting from both local and national media. You have my word that at OnMilwaukee.com we will treat this awful event with the utmost of respect.
It's a sad, sad day here in Milwaukee. How the next few days unfold is anybody's guess.
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.