I learned about what happened in Atlanta the old-fashioned way: out of the corner of my eye, on TV. “We are covering late breaking news out of Georgia tonight,” Rachel Maddow said, on a show that was only intended to be background noise before dinner. “And I have to warn you, it is disturbing news, and this is a developing story.”
The plummet of the stomach. The jerk of attention to the TV. Then, the numbers: Seven people have been shot and killed. Later, authorities revised the number to eight.
Working in the news, I have followed dozens of mass shootings, to the point that there is a sickening playbook to how these stories unfold.