This violence against and mistreatment of others must stop | Reporter’s Notebook

As a community newspaper, it is our job to report the news of the community.

As a community newspaper, it is our job to report the news of the community.

For the most part, that means covering what’s going on here in Redmond — what the city’s up to, what new businesses are opening in town, what’s happening in schools — things that directly affect our community. But sometimes, something happens nationally or internationally with such a large impact that we feel it locally. In those cases, I try to find a way to tell that story.

Off the top of my head, I can think of almost a dozen such stories that I have written in the almost-six years that I’ve been with the Reporter.

And out of that number, only one was in response to a positive event: the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide.

The rest of those stories have been in response to violence: Sandy Hook. Ferguson, Mo. Charlie Hebdo. Orlando.

After that last story, with such a high casualty rate, I thought we as a country would have become so tired of the violence — so exhausted from the constant grieving — that there would be a period of peace.

I was wrong.

Not even a month later — A MONTH — last week happened and my list of stories continues.

I’ve interviewed members of the general public for their thoughts about these tragedies as well as people who may or may not have something in common with the perpetrators and or victims of the violence. I’ve reported on the if and how we are prepared for violence in Redmond and have spoken with local agencies for tips on how parents can talk to their children about all of this.

These stories are important. The events may be happening elsewhere but if recent years have taught us anything, it’s that they can happen anywhere and the pain is felt everywhere. But as vital as these stories are, I hate writing them.

I’ve reached out to the local Muslim community multiple times to find members willing to share their experiences of being compared to terrorists. Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community have told me about the fear they regularly feel from just being themselves in public. I’ve received many statements from school officials reassuring parents that their children’s safety is their top priority. Local law enforcement have shared with me the pain they feel after watching their fellow men and women in blue fall for doing their job. And black men and women have informed me of the extra measures they have to take and teach their children in order to stay safe.

I have also read accounts and interviews from fellow journalists who have had to cover the violence in their communities: how some have hidden behind cars alongside the people they were reporting on to keep from being shot and how others have broken down in tears from the weight of what they have witnessed.

Their stories are something you might expect from an embedded journalist in a war zone. These are not stories you would expect from someone working at a major metropolitan news outlet.

But this is what the reality of our society has become.

And it has to stop.

This constant penchant to judge and mistreat others based on how they worship, who they love, the color of their skin, the uniform they wear — or any number of reasons they may be different from us — has to stop.

It’s not going to be easy and I don’t have the answer.

I just know it starts with every single one of us. We need to learn how to look past our preconceived notions, biases and prejudices — because we all have them — to get to know the person beneath the surface.

So I would like to challenge and encourage you, the reader, to reach out to someone who may be different from you — whether they’re a neighbor, coworker, classmate or anything in between — and try to find how you are the same.

And here at the Reporter, we will do this as well with an ongoing effort to highlight the different groups and communities we have here in Redmond. Because the more we learn about each other, the more we will realize that we’re not that different.

So if you feel you or your community has a story that should be shared, please contact me at

Because how much more footage of children forced to grow up fatherless or motherless can we take? How many more interviews with grieving parents can we handle? How many more vigils must we hold before something is done?

Because I cannot be the only one out there who would like to go more than a few days without crying from watching the evening news.