The news cycle in Cincinnati has been dominated the past few days by the tragic death of a 16-year-old student involved in a freak accident where the backseat of his minivan flipped, trapped him and ultimately caused him to die of asphyxiation. Questions are swirling in the case because the kid managed to call 9-1-1 twice, yet no one found him.
Yesterday, I read an editorial in the Cincinnati Enquirer and it’s been on my mind ever since. In the editorial, the writer is angry. Angry at City Hall because 9-1-1 in Hamilton County has been dysfunctional for many years and no one has done anything to fix it. The writer blames several of our politicians for his death.
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this article. I didn’t know anything was wrong with our 9-1-1 system. Has anyone been reporting about this? I considered counting the number of articles that have been written about 9-1-1 in the past few years by local media and writing the reporter to challenge him on why I read about the FC Cincinnati soccer stadium every day and this was the first I was hearing about serious, dysfunctional issues at 9-1-1. But the reality is, I’m the problem, not the reporter. I’m as much to blame as any politician.
When I hear stories about dysfunctional government, I tune out. I honestly just can’t deal with it anymore. It’s out of my control, too big for me to possibly impact. I’ve tuned into the tragic story of this 16-year-old’s death because he is the same age as my oldest son, his sister goes to school with my younger daughter and as a parent this one punches you in the gut.
Obviously, I’m not alone in what I tune out. The news media writes about what we want to hear. Media is a business and like every business they have to make money. They don’t make money by publishing stories I don’t read. A dysfunctional 9-1-1 system didn’t make my cut list.
So where do I go from here? I’ve been reflecting on a verse from the bible, 2 Timothy 3:2, “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy.” I’m that person.
Admitting it is the first step. If I want change, I must change. My first step will be to buy a subscription to the local paper and support the business. I’ll start reading the stories. All of them. I can’t change what I don’t know about.
I have an appetite for getting things done. As an advertising and corporate communications leader, I am experienced in bringing people, as well as animals, together. I have led cross-departmental teams and developed trusted relationships with C-Suite executives. I have 20 years of public relations and marketing communications experience, including providing traditional, digital and social media services to billion-dollar brands. I don’t believe in lengthy processes or convoluted platforms. I believe in hard work, empathy and love.