Survivors and family members of victims of the five people who died in a mass shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper dedicated a memorial to them and the First Amendment on Monday on the third anniversary of the attack, according to NBC Washington.
The memorial titled “Guardians of the First Amendment” includes five pillars to represent the five lives lost in the shooting: Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith, and Wendi Winters. It includes a rounded brick edifice, which holds a panel showing the First Amendment.
Maria Hiaasen, Rob’s widow, said the memorial pays tribute to the losses of loved ones, as well as the triumph of the staff, who rallied to publish on the next day despite the attack.
“It’s also perfect because of its honor of the First Amendment, the basic principle journalism stands on,” Hiaasen said.
Former editor, Rick Hutzell, was choked up as he recollected his deceased colleagues before a crowd that sat for nearly two hours during a hot summer day.
“If you care about journalism and truth and freedom of the press anywhere, subscribe to your local news organization whether it’s a newspaper or a digital new service or something because that’s the only way they will survive,” Hutzell said very emotionally.
David Simon, a former Baltimore Sun journalist and creator of the HBO show “The Wire,” excoriated “the solitary metric of maximized profit” that he said “is devouring American newspapering.”
“Here in Maryland, the Capital Gazette of this city and The Sun of Baltimore are brutalized by out of town ownership that answers to the hunger of shareholders, not to any public or community obligation,” Simon said.
The memorial dedication was held the day before opening statements are scheduled for the second phase of the trial for gunman Jarrod Ramos. He pleaded guilty to all 23 counts against him in October 2019, but he is contending he’s not criminally responsible due to mental illness. A jury has recently been selected to determine whether Ramos should be sentenced to prison or committed to a maximum-security psychiatric hospital.