Wendi Was No One's Enemy

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The victims. Photo by Baltimore Sun

Busy day of bedlam, what with the Mueller memo declaring Trump a two-time felon and the felon, deep in his lunatic fog, responding by happily proclaiming, "Totally clears the President. Thank you!" Though we are now "deep into the worst case scenarios," we at least have Twitter punching back for comic relief: "No, honey....When you can't read...Dude. Refresh your feed. Shit's not good...Who's going to tell Individual 1?" and, from George Conway, "Except for that little part where the US Attorney’s Office says that you directed and coordinated with Cohen to commit two felonies. Other than that, totally scot-free."

For 24 hours before Mueller released his memo, a panicked Trump hysterically rage-tweeted about all the lying leaking crooked everyones being mean to him. In the midst of his tantrum, he again spewed his vile canard, “FAKE NEWS. THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” Joshua McKerrow, a photojournalist at the Capital Gazette where five journalists were shot dead last June, wasn't having it. Coming back from a Christmas story he had long covered with one of the victims, his friend and colleague Wendi Winters - and having earlier chronicled the "sea of traumas" those in the newsroom were enduring - he offered a heart-rending, bittersweet, deeply human remembrance of Winters in a series of tweets, and a fierce defense of what they/we do.

“Today I did the annual story on holiday decorations at the Governor's residence,” he wrote. “I’ve done it every year, for years. A very light but very fun story. Every year my reporting partner was Wendi Winters. This year, it was Selene. Wendi was murdered in June.

“Selene did a great job, of course. And I really thought I could hold it together. I moved through the rooms with my tripod, focusing on the trees and ornaments. All I could think about was Wendi. I felt like she was with me, that she was actually present.

“Not in a ‘ghost’ sense, I hope she has moved on to a better world then Capital feature stories : ) But she was there in my mind. I could almost hear her voice echoing through the empty rooms. ‘How many cookies are you making this year?’, her favorite question..

“I was ok til the very end. Interviewed the butler, like I have every year, and when we were done she took me aside and whispered, ‘I really miss Wendi. Next year I'm going to name a cookie for her.’

“And that was it. The tears started, and I’m standing in the Maryland Governors home weeping to myself about my dead friend. She died in The Capital newsroom on June 28th, shot by a man who wanted to kill every journalist he could.

“We dont know what set him off yet. After years of silence. What finally pushed him far enough that he loaded his shotgun, drove the 40 minutes from Laurel, parked his car, walked through the busy lobby, barricaded our back exit, blasted the simple fragile glass door.

“Five people died, Rebecca, Wendi, Gerald, Rob, John. I always type their names in the order I think they were killed. I think, Rebecca first, at the door. Wendi charged him. Gerald and Rob were trapped in their cubicle. John, trying to get out the blocked exit.

“Wendi was no ones enemy.

“Every year Wendi made us all Oreo holiday cookies. except for the one year she made us jarred pesto. The question came up yesterday in the newsroom, who is going to make the cookies this year? Selene spoke up, I will.

“I don’t have a wrap-up to this story. I cried on and off all day. I miss her very much. I'm comforted that in a way she's still with me, when I do the work that she loved to do. Journalism. Patriotic, truth telling, American. We’ll keep on doing the work.

“And if we die for it, someone else will pick up the threads, and report on the holiday decorations at the Governor's house. Its what we do. -30-”

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Wendi Winters. Facebook photo

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