I wonder about the value of scaring folks on TV. The idea came to me while eating lunch and watching the news on CNN. To be truthful, if you want to know what the news is, you have to read the little trailer at the bottom of the screen. The screen area of the TV is taken up by whichever personality is “hosting” that hour, and whatever “experts” CNN can get to come on and expose their ignorance to the world.

Most times I’m able to just lightly engage my brain and marvel at how the news world works in these modern times. It seems, the big network news agencies found out a few years ago that actually having reporters investigate stories was expensive, so they dropped the practice. Barring a news item the size of 9-11, the CNN anchors can just read the news from the various wire services and sleep in their own beds at night. CNN is then able to fill the hours of the day with their “personalities” analyzing the news item forever.

Such is the case with the recent shootings in Memphis, Tennessee. To my knowledge there are no CNN employees on site in Memphis. CNN is relying on local news people and the wires to share their footage with CNN. Then the CNN talking heads fill the hours expounding on their “take” of what the story means to us all. This is what was going on when I sat down to eat my lunch.

The talking head was railing with some poor soul in Memphis trying to get to the essence of the story and the poor soul was at a loss as to to the basic “who, what, when, how” of the situation. When you don’t have your own boots on the ground apparently you’re at the mercy of whatever local yokel is thrown into the fray. Basic questions like “what do we know about the shooter”, “what was his motivation”, “who shot the shooter” are questions that just disappear into the ether.

Well, excuse me for trying to eat lunch while you are trying to figure out if this is the latest in a series of Isis attacks or a jealous husband that followed his wife and her lover into the Kroger. What my brain wants to know is this just a Kroger thing, or a Memphis thing or what? Just tell me the circumstances and I can alter my behavior to avoid being in that situation. Give me the information I need to avoid becoming a statistic. That’s all I ask.

A weird twist of the story has been the focus on the fact that the suspect was a third party vendor. Over and over and over and over again the alleged shooter was labeled as “third party vendor”. U.K. Thang was his name. Faint mention of what a “third party vendor” was doing in the Kroger. Do we conclude that being a “third party vendor” to Kroger drove Thang into madness? Do we conclude that all “third party vendors” are potential mass shooters, so you better shop at stores that stock their own shelves?

That’s an investigative story I’d really like to hear. How does focusing on third party vendors have any bearing on the real story, other than Kroger being able to say, “we didn’t hire him”?

I’ve given up on anyone doing an investigation on how unstable people are able to walk into a gun shop and walk out with a gun. Maybe “third party vendor” is this incident’s “squirrel” to the public. You know, when you want your dog to look the other way, you point and say “squirrel”.

I guess CNN and the ilk are using “third party vendor” to “squirrel” us away from “guns”.

Third party vendor! Did you look the other way?