Tragedy in a small town

On Monday, Oct. 18, a tragedy occurred in a quiet New Jersey suburban town nestled in the mountains called Ringwood. According to Ringwood police, Kurtis Birth of Pompton Lakes, NJ, shot his little children , aged 3 and 5, before taking his own life at the Ringwood home of the father’s parents.

Not surprisingly, this tragedy has shocked and despaired everyone who learned of it. Why anyone would do this — let alone to beautiful children such as the young victims — is beyond understanding. For more information on the Birth double murder-suicide, please click here for the story.

There’s an adage in the journalism world that goes like this: “If it bleeds, it leads.” Journalists are notorious for jumping onto the bandwagon of grief, tragedy and bloodshed because those types of stories always garner attention. My newspaper (and my bosses and colleagues) is no different. Yesterday, I attended two Ringwood police press conferences for updates on the Birth double murder-suicide, plus my editors have fielded phone calls all day for developments in the story. The motive behind the Birth shootings still remain a mystery. Police are still looking into that.

Reporters have covered stories ranging from the bloody and sensational, to hopeful and insightful. The chronicling of the complex group known as humankind is a tough job. The media has been stereotyped as callous and ruthless in pursuit of a hot story, but in reality, there are a lot of us who do sympathize and empathize with the tragedies we report. The reason I became a journalist is to write stories that hopefully would have readers make the conscious effort to improve the world we live in.

Leave a Reply