In 2018, is the Pen still Mightier than the Sword?

Capital Gazette editorial writer Gerald Fischman has been identified as victim of a shooting at the newspaper. Capital Gazette shooting victim Gerald Fischman: Clever and quirky voice of a community newspaper.

On June 28, 2018, Gerald Fischman, a writer, probably first poured himself a cup of coffee in his favorite blue mug, heated an English muffin in the toaster, before adding butter or margarine or raspberry jam. He could have buttoned up his favorite cardigan, bearing holes in the elbow, evident of hard labor and love. His wife must have given him a kiss, as he left out the back door for The Capital Gazette. Punctual. Or five minutes late or maybe even five minutes early. Five minutes would not matter.

On June 28, 2018, Fischman, a writer, was shot.

The shooting at Capital Gazette in Annapolis Maryland, resulted in the tragic death of five writers. Five talented individual lives cut short because they had something to say.

In 2018, 47 journalists have been killed.

As a writer and aspiring journalist, myself, I feel that it is our job to share the words of those who unjustly lost their right to.

We are living in an age where children are hiding in classroom closets. Immigrants are hiding behind false identities. Concealing religion and sexual orientation is a way of life for some, as their lives could be threatened if revealed.

I am left wondering, in our violent modern society; is the pen still mightier than the sword?

According to President Trump’s response to the recent killing of Washington Post opinion writer, Jamal Khashoggi, it is not.

On November 17, The CIA confirmed that the killing of Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul was ordered by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite the initial denials by the Saudi government. Khashoggi, well known journalist and critic of the Saudi government, was also a fiance and a U.S. resident.

How did Trump respond?

“The world is a very dangerous place!”

Trump began his statement with this simplistic ideal, suggesting that the fault of the murder falls to the terrorizing culture we have created.
He continued by claiming that whether or not the Crown Prince, “had knowledge of this tragic event,” the U.S. remains “with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” While Trump did express some sympathy towards the event he referred to Khashoggi as an “enemy of the state,” as an “Islamist.”

But it was in two words that Trump best declared his stance on the subject:

“America first!”

Perhaps Trump’s words were driven by self-interest, spoken with a greedy eye for money and American gain.

But maybe they could mean something more. Is this response a warning for American citizens? A reminder that power lies in those with crowns. A reminder that our right to the first amendment becomes limited by society’s access to weapons. A reminder that none of us, as individuals, are safe.

I would like to hope that rather than take his words as a warning, or even a humorous meme, we as U.S. citizens are given a wakeup call.

Fischman and Khashoggi held a pen.

This time, the sword won.

The time has come for the pen to fight back.


Kate Luongo  is a contributor to The Daily Campus Life section.  She can be reached via email at katherine.luongo@uconn.edu .