Monday, August 14, 2006

Some Days...

Some days I wonder what this job costs me, in the long run.

In my personal world, everything is fine. I woke up this morning, went to work, turned a decent story and came home safely to my wife, who is cooking what promises to be an excellent dinner. One can't ask for more of a blessing than another day of life, and all the experiences it brings.

The story I worked on today is a happy story, filled with smiling faces and fun. It isn't the story that has me blogging tonight. The family of Cpl. Christopher Metternich is on my mind, and also the family who lost their home this afternoon to a fire. His story can be found here. The short version is that he died in the line of duty. He was riding his department issue motorcycle when someone pulled into his path from a side street, and he broadsided their car.

I had no part in covering that story, but it touches me just the same. It forces me to realize what can happen to my own father, who also wears a badge, but it also forces me to look at what I do. I worked on one other newsworthy event today, which was the house fire I just mentioned. We arrived on the scene shortly after the fire department, and I proceeded to get great video of the firefighters working to get the blaze under control. I can't say they were working to save the house, because it was beyond saving. All they could really do was keep it from doing more damage to the homes around it. That phrase I just used, great video. That is what I said when calling the station. "I don't know if anyone is hurt, but I've got great video!"

This family has lived in this house for 30 years, and it has been reduced to charred rubble and ten seconds of video in a newscast, and all I have to say is that I have 'great video.' One family has lost all their posessions, but fortunately no one was hurt. Across town another family is greiving the loss of a husband, father, brother, and son. His loss is also felt by his extended family, his brothers and sisters behind the badge, for whom this is the third officer killed in the last two years, and the second one within a year.

These are the events upon which my job is based, but what does it cost me, as a human being, to do this job? How long can I keep working without losing part of my soul in the process? Heavy questions, for which I don't currently have any answers, but I know they will be provided for me. All I have to do is listen, and treat each day as if it is a gift, because it is.


turdpolisher said...

Heavy stuff. Great post. Keep your head up and your left eye open.

Widescreen said...


They are heavy questions are there are never any reasonable answers. As I said to Turd on his comments on his last blog……

“Everyday we go home to a warm home full of love and happiness and yet we try to find meaning behind the carnage we often witness. There is none. Death is frequently random and a cruel twist of fate that invariably leaves no clues or answers.”

If you go home everyday trying to find answers for what has happened, you will do your head in. Sometimes a house fire is arson and a death is murder but it still does not answer why?

My brother in law is a Homicide Detective and even after all these years, he still cannot fathom how man can do such cruel harm to another. Sometimes its rage or mental illness and sometimes just plain bad luck.

No one would have predicted Katrina or the Tsunami over here, but they happen. That small house fire pails to insignificance by comparison, but not to those who lost their worldly possessions in the fire. A motorcycle Police officer was killed here not long ago. He was struck by a car on the side of the highway. It was an accident, as he stepped out into traffic. His loss, a family’s grief, the car pulled over and the witnesses in it and the driver of the other car, not to mention all the other drivers who saw it happen. One small accident affects many lives and there are no words to describe the loss and grief they all feel.

Your getting good video is your job. That’s how you have to look at it. As callous as it sounds we as news cameramen cannot bear the weight of all we see and do. It’s not fair on us or those we bring it home to. I asked my brother in law how he deals with death every day. He said he just does because for him, finding a killer and giving closure to a family goes a long way to giving him that same closure. If my pictures can get a message across that in some small way may prevent another death or tragedy, then that’s good enough for me.

You will never find the answers your looking for, but you may find some solace in the meaning of what you do.

Oreo said...


I think I'm a bit overdue for a vacation. I've only had a couple of days off this year, and I spent those helping my folks down in Cameron. I'm sure I just need a good long week away from everything to get my perspective back.