I’m a news junkie—I admit it. I think it started once upon a time as I was fantasizing about a career in politics and has perpetuated in my years handling press for various companies. I am only spared my shame by the fact that millions of you out there share my addiction.
Yet it wasn’t until I became a military wife that I realized the true power of the press—and the danger it holds for those of us with loved ones in harms way. I was once again made aware of this friend/foe relationship last week when CNN reported the crash of an F-22 Raptor outside Edwards AFB. As the wife of a “Raptor Driver” my mind instantly ran through the faces of our small community, wondering which one was unlucky enough to ride in that jet. Fighter pilots face the risks associated with going Mach 1.5 upside down doing 9 G turns daily. I’ve managed to live in denial and pretend that my husband, who I liken more to Iceman than Maverick, is sitting at a desk all day playing with simulators. It’s only occasionally that some scraggly reporter interferes with my daydream. I’ve repeatedly joked to Iceman that I’ll learn of his demise on CNN. Then two years ago I was notified of a crash just outside our base by a radio announcer instead of a phone call. The joke wasn’t as funny after that.
All my fears aside, days like last Wednesday and the radio incident are few and far between. But it makes me wonder: what if Iceman was in the infantry? Or security forces? What if I were sitting at this computer, checking the news and weather day after day, knowing those stories of IEDs and tribal street wars were part of Iceman’s reality? Would I be strong enough to turn the channel and pretend not to know? Or would I use that strength to watch Wolf Blitzer without losing my sanity in the process? For all you been there/done that/they forgot to send my tee shirt ladies out there, tell us what relationship you have with the news. Foe? Friend? Frenemy? Take Rupert Murdoch out back and shoot him?
When we woke Thursday morning, CNN reported that the pilot met his death in the hot desert outside of LA. I know this because in the interim while I was awake I had been refreshing four separate websites every four minutes to find any tidbit out there. I can only hope his wife wasn’t doing the same.
Ice Queen Out.