A reader contacted us, concerned that The Beacon might cover up our big front windows in the wake of the murders of five journalists at The Capital Gazette in Maryland, beginning with a shotgun blast that came crashing through that newspaper’s front glass.
“Thank you; please, please don’t close up,” our friend wrote in an email.
Not a chance.
We cannot be afraid to come to work in our newsroom, any more than you can be afraid to go to church or a concert or to send your children to school.
It may be tempting to pull back, but we cannot succumb to fear, because fear would paralyze us, and there’s work to be done.
For us, that work includes shining our Beacon light on the good, bad, ugly and beautiful in local topics, from the workings of local government to the activities of local people.
We have to do our job with your best interests lighting our way, never editing our determination to tell the whole story because somebody might get upset.
When we moved in March 2005 into this historic building at 110 W. New York Ave. in Downtown DeLand, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office had been the most recent occupant more than a decade earlier.
The office front was covered with vertical wood siding painted dark green, with a few tiny slits for windows just a few inches wide. That had to go.
As soon as we could afford it, we replaced the opaque façade with windows as big as we could get them, all across the front, offering a good look inside, even into our meeting room, where sources are interviewed and decisions about our newspaper and our coverage are made.
We saw these windows as symbolizing transparency — the same transparency we demand of those in power who govern our communities, arrest and judge our neighbors, spend our tax dollars, and make our laws.
We think what we do is important, because we think you are important. There’s no way to have a government by the people unless you tell the people what’s going on, so they can play an informed and meaningful role.
Yes, there’s work to be done.
Let’s start by remembering all the people — churchgoers, children, college students, journalists and too many others — who have died at the hands of mentally unstable people wielding guns. Let these tragic deaths move us, not to fear, but to active citizenship.
We must summon the courage to face our communities’ problems, determine to learn about those problems and report on them, and energize to act to fix them.
We cannot allow terror or tragedy to shroud our trust that a better world is possible, locally and globally.
We are proud to be your partners in the march toward progress.