Quote of the Day:

"Photographers flat-out refused to work with him," McLeod added. "He called them all racists. He threw that word around a lot. Nobody believed it."

Justin McLeod, former reporter with WDBJ television station in Roanoke, Va.

The horrific on camera shootings of reporter Alison Parker, 24, and photographer Adam Ward, 27, have brought out the usual calls for more gun control. Seeing these promising young people killed before our very eyes was such a raw experience that I don't even want to talk about the gun issue this morning.

But I do want to talk about this: gunman Vester Flanagan, who was a colleague who had reported for WDBJ under the name Bryce Williams (how does that even work–can I just write under any byline I'd like to use?)was eaten up with racial hatred. Flanagan was black. Alison Parker and Adam Ward were white.

Yes, he obviously had a loose screw to do something so terrible. But anger about race festered inside him and was also a motive that should not be discounted because it is uncomfortable. Racial animosity is rampant in our country, and Vester Flanagan drank deeply of this poisonous fountain.

As the Daily Beast reports:

Vester Lee Flanagan claimed in a suicide note Wednesday that June’s massacre of black parishioners at a South Carolina church was “the tipping point” that sent him on the path to murdering two journalists on live television Wednesday.

But in court papers and interviews with The Daily Beast, former colleagues describe Flanagan as a problematic employee, who was repeatedly reprimanded for his harsh treatment of coworkers, and complained racism was behind harsh evaluations of his work.

“He just had a history of playing the race card,” former WTWC anchor Dave Leval told The Daily Beast. “I know he did that in Tallahassee a couple of times…”

The day Flanagan was fired from a Virginia TV station in 2013, his bosses called 911 because of his volatile behavior—an incident captured on camera by Adam Ward, a man who would later become one of his victims.

At a February 2013 meeting, managers at WDBJ7 in Roanoke told Flanagan he wasn’t a good fit and would be terminated. Flanagan became “agitated” before issuing a threat, one boss recalled in court papers.

Flanagan, who clearly was not suited for journalism, had unsuccessfully sued a previous news station, alleging that he suffered from racial discrimination.

Our hearts go out to the families of Alison Parker, whose clips played yesterday after her death show so much talent, and Adam Ward. Both were engaged to colleagues at the station.