ONE OF THE things I will miss about being a newspaper guy is the rush of covering a big story. It doesn't happen that often, but when there's a big event and you have to figure out what's going on and why, well, it's kinda cool.
Reporters at The Whig are now required to work, on average, one night a week. I don't like it, but I understand it, because there is no such thing as a deadline anymore - www.whig.com took care of that a long time ago. And I could get a lot more done at night when the phone wasn't ringing and there wasn't the general chaos that sometimes envelopes the newsroom.
Tuesday night I was at work and getting ready to head home when across the police scanner came those dreaded words - "shots fired." I looked at Julie Marra, our excellent young copy editor, and said, "We might be here a while."
Over the years I've learned that when you hear about something on the scanner, you don't jump up and head right out. You sit and listen, because you can gain good information from police communications.
This shooting took place in a Quincy housing project. I heard officers talking about getting more help for a large crowd gathering, then officers looking for a man with a "10-32," which means somebody with a gun.
Going down to Indian Hills at night when there are cops everywhere, a big crowd gathered and a guy loose with a gun isn't my idea of a good time. So we sat and waited for a bit, heard they found the gun and the guy who was shot, and then I scooted down Fifth Street to check it out.
The person involved apparently shot himself in the chest. Police had the place taped off, and family members who were obviously upset were yelling at some of the officers standing by the door. Quincy Police Sgt. Bryan Dusch bore the brunt of their frustrations, but never once did he raise his voice or get mad. He was firm and he told them they couldn't go back inside the apartment, since an investigation was still taking place.
Sgt. Dusch was busy with a bunch of stuff, so I waited for a few minutes. Patience is not something you learn, it's something you earn. Everything happens in good time, even with an editor waiting to hear back and a story ready to be written. When I finally talked to him, he couldn't have been more helpful and professional.
I went back, wrote a short story, and went home.
In the old days, it would have floated my boat, but not so much anymore. It's time for somebody else to get the rush and tackle the big story.
It will be interesting when big stuff happens to be on the outside.