In my post last week about whether I should go to the murder-rich city of Juarez or not, I took pains to point out that I am not a war correspondent by any definition. One way you can tell this about me is that I write lengthy blogposts about whether or not I should go to a town that is not technically even at war. You will notice that war correspondents just go on their assignments, leaving the still waters of dadblogging unrippled by what doubts they might have.
For an example, in realtime, of what a conflict journalist really looks like, watch this phenomenal (and award-winning) video about the Haitian earthquake from photographer Shaul Schwarz. Pay particular attention to the 4:45 mark, that moment when the pickup truck filled with triggerhappy policemen careens into the frame. Notice the Shaul runs toward the shooting; he stands right at the bodies. He gets the story. The video:
This is not me. I’m not entirely sure what I would do when the shooting starts, but it likely involve a falsetto yelp and a sprint in the opposite direction. And I’m much more likely to emerge with what we used to mock as a “conceptual scoop”: a polished turd that drops, untroubled by actual reporting, from our own precious minds as we remain entombed in our midtown Manhattan offices.
That said, I’m going to Juárez. My reporting there will be a part of a larger story about the ongoing, mutual escalations on the border. Because DadWagon is widely known as the DadBlog of choice for the most ruthless narcobosses (street-level dealers, on the other hand, read Single Dad Laughing), I won’t say much about when I’ll be going or what I’ll be doing there until it’s actually done.
In somewhat typical fashion, I got the best idea of how my wife feels about this when I overheard others ask her this weekend. Short answer: she’s not thrilled, but doesn’t feel like she has much input one way or the other. By the time I had asked her, I wasn’t really asking so much as giving myself an opportunity to explain why I think it’s important to go. As she put it, she’s not one to try to forbid anything, and knew she wouldn’t be able to budge me from my notions anyhow.
And in that last point, I do share a common point with many of the war correspondents I know and work with. And, for that matter, with CPAs and Sanitation Workers and elected officials and SAHDs and all the rest. We are men; we are stubborn. We will do what we set our minds to, however sound or feeble our reasoning. May it all sort itself out well.