Open Forum: The Live, On-Air Killings of WDBJ Employees by Alleged Shooter, Vester Lee Flanagan

WDBJ screenshot
WDBJ screenshot

If you're awake, you've heard about the live, on-air shooting (and killing) of reporter, Allison Parker, and cameraman, Adam Ward, while conducting an interview at 645am. The reporter and photographer are dead and the interviewee is (or was) in surgery. You've also heard, by now, that the shooter is a former, disgruntled employee named Vester Lee Flanagan, who worked at the station under the name Bryce Williams who took to a now-deleted Twitter account and Facebook page to upload videos of the killing and a half-assed explanation for why he did it which breaks down to difficulties with his co-workers. Allison Parker allegedly said racist things to him.

Vester is Black.

Your phone has also no doubt told you that Mr. Flanagan, shot himself on I-66, the high way that leads into Washington, DC from I-81 (which leads in the direction of Roanoke, VA). This man drove a long way.


All of this is old news by the way. Gawker has published an article entitled "Everything We Know About the Live WDBJ Shooting and the Alleged Gunman" and its got all of the pertinent info so far.

So let's just skip the details and move to the WTF. I would imagine that it takes a special kind of hatred to kill people while they're live on air. That's not just wanting them to pay, that's wanting scores of folks watching to see them expire publicly. That's revenge of the worst kind. I haven't watched the videos, nor do I intend to. I don't need to see the countdown on somebody's life come to an end. Been there, done that; I'm good.

Honestly, I'm at somewhat of a loss on what to say here so let's have an open forum here.

I hate to say that I'm so desensitized to violence that I'm almost amazed this hasn't happened before (though its entirely possible that it has and I'm just not aware), but I'm still in some shock at the method.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.

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This is a tragedy. But, my question is will the media dissect Flanagan's recent and past mental health problems like they do with White killers? Or will they paint him as a Black thug murderer?

Anyway, this country needs to invest some serious money in low cost/ accessible mental health care. People are literally dying becasue mental health treatment is so hard to get and maintain.