Letter To The Editor: Lessons From Merv And Paul

Dear editor: The Second Amendment and Thoughts and Prayers don’t seem to be working. At least not for the children, women and men gunned down in schools, churches, shopping malls, grocery stores, hospitals and the list goes on and on and on.

Brian Olson

May 11, 20232 min read

Mass shooting 5 11 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Dear Editor:

I have to admit I’m getting a bit numb from the daily mass shootings in the news. Yep, daily. Over 200 in 2023. This has all got me thinking of lessons I learned early on in my broadcast journalism career.

Merv Block was a principal writer of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. Among the many things he taught me is that News is what’s new. Mass shootings are as common as the sun rising in the East. When was the last time you saw that as the headline?

Based on what Merv taught me Mass Shootings aren’t worth a mention. Well maybe tucked in between weather and sports or in the puzzle section of the news paper.

But I also remember what legendary broadcaster Paul Harvey told a group of us during a speech at a news industry dinner. He described our jobs as being “Future Shock - Shock Absorbers.” Delivered in that remarkable cadence of his.

There sure is a lot of shock to be absorbed these days. Thoughts and prayers offered after mass shootings don’t seem to be working. The Second Amendment calls for a well regulated militia. But no regulating or infringing upon folks not in the militia.

A conundrum of sorts. Neither Merv or Paul mentioned those. Society is going to have to do something. Every day.

If indeed society and government ever comes up with a solution to this mess, that would be news! Shock would be indeed be absorbed and acted upon.

If enough of us are left alive.


Brian Olson

Olson was a longtime anchor at KGWN-TV in Cheyenne

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Brian Olson