Callous Ink

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Being a newspaper reporter can make you pretty callous. After several years of covering shootings, stabbings, robberies and car wrecks, the subject of death gets pretty old.

There are days when you’re waiting on a call from the cops so they’ll tell you whether or not that mother of three died in last night’s shooting. Eventually they get around to it, after deadline and the plates are sent to the press.

The days that a death sucks the most is when you don’t have time for it. You run down to the beach to cover some barbecue benefit, then you cover a parade and a house fire. The last thing you want to deal with is some bar brawl stabbing or a jealous husband who shoots his wife.

I got to the point where I would have what I called “Body Days.” When I’d call my cops on said days, I would tell them that I don’t have time for burglaries or drug busts.

“Today’s a body day man. I don’t care about it unless there’s a body involved.”

Yep, callous. But understandable.

It’s sad but that is what happens when you work with the pulp on a regular basis. How cops and medics and doctors and nurses deal with it all day, I’ll never know. Maybe that’s a whole other level of desensitization which I hope I will never become familiar with.

I certainly have a lot more respect for those professions after having a taste of their chaotic and trauma-saturated surroundings.

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