As the nation turns its eyes to Oxford

By Don Rush

By now there’s nary a soul in the entire United States of America who hasn’t thought of the Oxford community and the victims of a school shooting which left four students dead plus six more students and one teacher wounded from the gun fire.
Our community newspaper The Oxford Leader was already ready for press when the shootings/murders were publically acknowledged. I was called back to the office, and wrote up a quick story of the day’s events as we knew at the time. We were ready for press again. And, as the days in the week sped by, events about November 30, 2021 continue to change.
There have been many words of condolences from community members, religious leaders, celebrities and of course, politicians. There have been words of love; words of explanation, words of outrage and words of anger — so many, many words have been spoken and, yes, written. All those words are probably not enough words to make life better for the families who lost their children, nor to the students and school staff who witnessed the tragic events.
It’s been heartening to see signs of support coming from the sports world — from the moments of silence to collegiate and professional athletes wearing patches or decals on their uniforms. Businesses from Lake Orion up M-24 and beyond have all to one degree or another asked and found ways to help. I have seen a lot of the helpers, but I’m positive there are a ton more works/actions of love than I know of.
I guess the process of grieving will have to work its way organically. It won’t be easy and it won’t be a short process. As a community newspaper, The Oxford Leader will continue to do what we can to help this process progress. To that end . . .
. . . as the community’s newspaper — a member of the media — we will continue to do our jobs as reporters, marketers and publishers. Which means we will continue to write stories, sell advertisements to local businesses, print and publish newspapers.
I grabbed a cup of coffee at a local business just this Monday morning (Dec. 6) and read a sign, that while I understand it makes me a little sad, when I add it to all the vitriol I have read on social media by locals about the “media.” People actually posted what they themselves were saying to members of the media (with such profanity) — get out, you’re not welcome in Oxford. Folks, our reporters (heck, so am I) a part of the media. Let me share our local perspective.
I gave what I guess you can call a little speech to our editorial staff on Wednesday morning, the day after the shooting/murders. It went something like this:
“We will report the news. It is our job. We will write on the events of the days, the ramifications of the event and what happens after. Once all the regional, state and national news groups leave our community, you and I — we will still be here.
“In all we do, we will do it with compassion, empathy and respect. We will hold on to our emotions and report with clarity and we will not be a party to any sort of vigilantism.”
It is what we do. We report the news. The story and history of Oxford. The wonderful things and the horrible things which have happened here have been recorded in our pages since 1898. We report the news. We don’t just spout off opinions and rumors as fast as we think of them. We vet and verify facts and then we write. A blessing and a curse is we are a weekly newspaper. It’s a blessing because we have time to work on our stories. It’s a curse, because we will be beaten to a story nine times out of 10.
If you want us to write about some event or donation, let us know. Want to share your feelings, send them in. Have a nice sentiment or story about the victims, we’d love to share them. We are a community newspaper and we are here for the long haul for our community.

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