Gene Valaitis: Vegas Shooting

Concert-goers flee as gunfire hits the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1. (David Becker / Getty Images)

Our thoughts and prayers are with you. It isn’t good enough. Again.

My phone buzzed at 1 am. It was a friend calling me and demanding I get out of bed and turn on the cable TV channels. Half asleep I asked, “What’s up?” He said, “You’re on the radio in 5 hours and there is an active shooter in Vegas and its bad Gene, really bad.”

Active shooter? I knew for a fact the phrase, “Our thoughts and our prayers,” would soon follow.”

It’s an all too familiar scenario. And we’ve heard it before. Active Shooter. News anchors using the phrase, “It’s a fluid situation”, “Some of the videos we are about to show you are disturbing”,  followed  by the ever-increasing death toll and the inevitable expert being interviewed with the compulsory first response qualified by saying, “First, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.”

You know the rest.

The gun control advocates call on the U.S. federal and state governments to look at gun control. The National Rifle Associated suggests that with this kind of loss of life this is no time to be political and talk about gun control. The President gets on TV and calls the shooter “Evil” and announces that he will be travelling to the scene of the shooting and the news anchors recommend that he transition from Commander and Chief into Consoler and Chief.

It’s old. And pathetic.

The usual suspects will scream and yell on cable TV with a hidden agenda of increasing ratings because when you come right down to it, bad news is good news for the news.  The so-called experts on these shows will give their opinions with a hidden agenda of selling their latest books.  Do I sound cynical? In fact, I’m just being accurate.

I want to reassure Roundhouse Radio listener’s how sensitive I was about this morning’s coverage on our station.

Yes, we had shocking sound clips of the shooting. Here was my dilemma.  Do we broadcasting the actual raw sound of gunshots knowing full well we could be broadcasting someone’s murder. Or take a pass. I decided to go with the sound clips knowing full well you would see and hear them on broadcast media or social media all the same. The buck stops with me on the morning show. If I’m wrong I get fired and the radio station goes on without me. Let me reassure you how sensitive we were with those sound bites this morning and what they portrayed. Murder and evil.

The story hit home for us when Roundhouse Radio morning News Anchor,  Ish Sharma reported that Jordan Mclldoon a 23 year old from Maple Ridge was among the Canadians killed in the Las Vegas shooting. McIldoon was with his girlfriend at the time, but the family member who didn’t want to be identified, says she was not hurt and has spoken with them. McIldoon would have turned 24 on Friday and relatives say he was just one month shy of completing a course to qualify as a heavy-duty mechanic.

And that is the real story. I have one year of experience being 23 years old, just like you, and I know when you’re 23 years old that a trip to Vegas should have ended in a very bad hangover. Not death.

And there are the other stores that will come out. The Father who died. The Mother who died. The sister and brother who died. The children who died.

And the cable news talking heads will debate this for about a week.

And nothing will change. It didn’t after The Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre occurred on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children between six and seven years old, as well as six adult staff members

Somewhere in the U.S. there is another disturbed person with a legal gun and a lot of ammo who will snap and attempt to top is horrific death toll.

The cycle will start again.

Nothing will change in the land of the free and the home of the gun. Don’t expect it to change.

And sadly the Vegas advertising slogan will ring sickeningly true. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

And our thoughts and prayers will be with you. Until the next time.


Gene Valaitis
Brilliant or Crazy? We’re not quite sure. What we do know for sure is that me, Gene, in the mornings will ease you into your day with thoughtful conversation, music and his unique take on everything Vancouver. Tune Monday to Friday from 6 to 10 am online, or at 98.3 FM!