By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
One of the perks of being a newspaper reporter is that it’s not generally a bad thing to be caught reading the Daily Journal or the NEMS360.com website at work.
So between assignments or writing sessions, I’ll often check up on what’s happening online or read more closely something I missed in the paper during the morning rush.
On Monday morning, when I spotted the smiling, athletic young woman in front of a soccer goal on the front page of NEMS360.com, I expected to find a story of state or national honors under the picture.
Because Northeast Mississippi is a region that values families, children and their accomplishments, it wouldn’t be strange to see one spotlighted at the Daily Journal’s online home.
It was shocking when I scrolled down and found the picture was connected with a possible homicide based on preliminary autopsy reports.
Regardless of the final determination in the case, her loss is tragic for her family and friends. Your heart just goes out to them, but I imagine there is thin comfort to be found in this moment.
And while any untimely death is tragic, there’s an extra layer of pain when it’s a child or young adult who is dying out of turn. It’s the loss of dreams and potential that haunts us.
There are no guarantees in life, but we want them so desperately for our children.
As parents we do the best we can to keep danger at arm’s length. We stress safety rules in the hopes they will do the right thing when we’re not beside them.
The illusion of safety lets us function through our daily lives. And we feel it deeply when our illusions are exposed.
It’s a strange juxtaposition that Monday also marked the 15th anniversary of the bombing of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City. The bombing itself was horrifying, but it was the children who were in the building’s day care I remember affecting me so deeply.
I clearly remember the photos, particularly of the firefighter holding little Baylee Almon. It’s the iconic photo for the bombing. There’s an outrage on top of outrage that Timothy McVeigh would have considered it justified to attack a government building knowing there were children inside and that he believed people would hail him a hero for doing so.
The heroes are the survivors who pick up the pieces and find a way to keep living.
Michaela Gibson Morris is a Daily Journal staff writer. Contact her at (662) 678-1599 or firstname.lastname@example.org