Five Dead in Shooting at Capital Gazette in Annapolis

[Content Note: Gun violence; death and injury; misogynistic violence.]

Yesterday, a man with a "long-standing grudge against the paper," a history of misogynistic abuse, and access to a shotgun killed five people at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland.
Journalists dived under their desks and pleaded for help on social media. One reporter described the scene as a "war zone." A photographer said he jumped over a dead colleague and fled for his life.

The victims were identified as Rob Hiaasen, 59, a former feature writer for The Baltimore Sun who joined the Capital Gazette in 2010 as an assistant editor and columnist; Wendi Winters, 65, a community correspondent who headed special publications; Gerald Fischman, 61, the editorial page editor; John McNamara, 56, a staff writer who had covered high school, college, and professional sports for decades; and Rebecca Smith, 34, a sales assistant hired in November.

Two others were injured in the attack that began about 2:40 p.m. at the Capital Gazette offices at 888 Bestgate Road in Annapolis.

Police took a suspect into custody soon after the shootings. He was identified as Jarrod W. Ramos, a 38-year-old Laurel man with a long-standing grudge against the paper.

Ramos was charged with five counts of first-degree murder, according to online court records.
The Baltimore Sun has obituarities for each of the victims: Gerald Fischman; Rob Hiaasen; John McNamara; Rebecca Smith; and Wendi Winters. My condolences to their families, friends, and colleagues. I am so sorry.

Ramos' motive may have been his grievance with the paper, but the deadly action he decided to take only now did not happen in a vacuum. It happened two days after a prominent rightwing provocateur said: "I can't wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight." It happened in the midst of the sitting president's years-long war on the press.

Thoughts and prayers aren't going to cut it. Accountability for and a willingness to change a culture of violence is where we have to start.

Maybe Ramos was not directly influenced by anything he heard from Trump, M1lo, or other press-demonizing endorsers of violence, but the incendiary trash they disgorge creates a toxic culture in which we all swim.

Conservatives can't keep pretending that the only culture which exists is the progressive culture they want to attack and destroy.

Related Reading: Their Bootstraps Made Them Do It and Every. Damn. Time.

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