I’ve just returned from a few days on the road and have had a chance to consider the firing of National Public Radio’s Juan Williams, and am deeply saddened by the deep divisions and skewed sense of journalistic ethics that it illustrates.
I was fascinated that the memory that surfaced when I first read of the firing and the circumstances that led to it was of a moment in a newsroom about 14 years ago. Our youngest child, a son, had just turned 10 at the time and a story, graphic in detail, came to my desk describing repeated rape by a priest of a 10-year-old boy. I experienced a deep, visceral involuntary reaction and imagined, in that moment, that if someone had done such a thing to one of our children, to one of our three sons or our daughter, I’d have the capacity to kill the perpetrator.
It was a wildly incongruous thought for me. I tend, however imperfectly, toward nonviolence. I am glad there are laws that would restrain me, teaching and training in my background that I trust would grab hold of me. But I can’t deny the explosive anger that I felt in that moment.