Things have gone from bad to worse for the Lawrence family in Providence, Rhode Island. Over the weekend, Ny'asia Lawrence was shot in the back at a kindergartener's graduation party when a guest who was asked to leave returned with a gun-toting friend. Now, Lawrence's mother Melissa has been arrested for assaulting a news crew. When ABC arrived on the scene to interview Melissa about her daughter's shooting, she vaguely agreed to comment, then threw rocks, wielded a baseball bat, and encouraged her two pit bulls to attack the reporter.
Reporter Abbey Niezgoda was bit in the arm by one of the dogs and has been treated for her injuries.
It goes without saying that violence is never the answer, but Melissa Lawrence's rage is understandable. (That's her rage, not her actions.)
Her 16-year-old daughter was shot just two days ago and is still in recovery. It's every parent's worst nightmare to see their child suffer -- no wonder Melissa was consumed by her anger and grief. It doesn't make her attack OK, but it makes it somewhat comprehensible.
This isn't the first time that a mourner has let loose on a news crew. A few years ago, a mob of about 24 attacked reporters who were on the scene to cover the shooting of a 27-year-old Sacramento man. A reporter was pulled to the ground by her hair and kicked.
And by the way things are going, it may not be the last.
The media has been routinely criticized for its never-ending documentation that lacks sensitivity to, and awareness of, the tragedies being covered.
Back in December, a firestorm surrounded the coverage of the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings, and rightfully so. Within hours of the massacre, news outlets had produced glossy specials with fancy graphics that repeated the few known facts over and over, and filled in the rest of their 24/7 coverage with exploitative speculation.
It's at best invasive, at worst part of the problem. When Adam Lind and James Holmes become household names for their hideous crimes, it sends the wrong message.
Melissa Lawrence wasn't trying to take a stance on our nation's news culture, but her anger in some way exemplifies how most of us would feel if our child had been shot, then hours later, a news truck is parked outside our home and a microphone is shoved in our face. Still, her behavior and her language are unacceptable.
She faces two felony counts of assault.
What do you think?
Photo via ABC6