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Guns and roses

Written by Reg Henry on .

Random thoughts at the end of a random week punctuated by random violence (in Oakland) and random kindness (in my mail box from random readers).

A tragedy is a tragedy but the horrible coincidence of the slain Western Psych therapist being the brother of a young woman who had previously been gunned down in a domestic dispute is hard to read without despairing. Even in trigger-happy America, two siblings in the same family being killed in separate shootings is truly macabre and heart-breaking. Their parents only had two children. Lord comfort them.

At the risk of blowing the PG's horn — and if I don't, who else will? — the following email from a reader was sent out to all the staff today for purposes of improving the morale of those in the newsroom who do a thankless job:

"Your coverage of the WPIC situation was spectacular. Watched all the reports on tv yesterday but after reading the in depth reporting today, you were much more informative. Thank you PG for another job well done."

As much as I think this is a true appraisal of the PG's performance, it also speaks to the strength of newspapers in general. They do supply more information and context. This is not a put-down of TV, which has its strengths, but on this sad day print ruled.

And as far as the PG goes, the changing face of America ruled. Of the 13 bylines on this story, seven of them were women and four of those are in their 20s and not long out of school.

I am old enough to remember a time when journalism was predominantly the domain of men, many of them crusty old characters — and the women who did work for newspapers were often segregated in the "Women's News Department." Now an old newsman myself, I feel proud that the torch is being carried high by a new generation who are smart as whips and are not held back by old-fashioned gender or race prejudices. They are getting their chance and seizing it. Hurrah for them. Hurrah for the profession.

As you know, the Post-Gazette Web page is poised to change to a new format sometime soon and my attention will then be diverted to tending to comments made on my column and adding to them myself on Facebook. Whatever the date of this change, I have decided to keep Reg on Wry going for one more week regardless.

I was sorely tempted to pull the plug immediately after the barren and pointless exchange in the last posting. Rocky, you were right about the demand made for an apology. To be sure, the person who made the offending remark was sailing uncomfortably close to the wind — and fair warning is now given — but someone who demands an apology must for credibility's sake have a record of making one.

(By the way, I have to say that I have never been able to get my mind around the idea of one anonymous blogger taking personal offense to what another anonymous blogger says. When you are anonymous, your honor is hidden from harm, or so it seems to me. The late unlamented Myreply used to play that trick and I always thought it was crazy).

Thus I set a new rule for the last week: Someone who has never apologized for anything on this blog cannot demand an apology from others.

One Reg-ulator might start the ball rolling by apologizing to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. I am not much of a fan of his but I think he did a good job yesterday and he showed leadership.

Goodness knows, we would have all been on his case if he had been AWOL. Fair is fair.

Sorry to say, the Reg-ulator who took the mayor to task did so on the basis of a false understanding. The mayor did praise Pitt police for taking part in the gun battle — I heard it with my own ears and checked with the city desk to make sure I was right. Moreover, the use of clear or cleanse to describe the situation at the hospital is a distinction without a difference.

Have a great weekend. Bring your best mood to the last week.

If you have not yet replied to me about coming to our wake on March 22, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

All of good motive and intentions are invited — it's OK if you never posted a comment here but are just a fan of the blog. Remember, this is not a PG-sanctioned event. This is just me on a night off meeting you and thanking you. It will be a cash bar but with luck I might be prevailed to buy you a drink.

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