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About an hour ago, I

About an hour ago, I was on the treadmill at the gym. I looked up at one of the televisions and saw a statement from NBC regarding the death of David Bloom. I was shocked and saddened. I certainly never knew him, but would see him on TV all the time, especially during his weekend gigs as cohost of the Today show. He was this friendly guy, sorta cute, affable as the day is long. And now dead, covering the war in Iraq. I finished up my workout, showered and walked home, the whole time growing sadder and having this sick feeling in my stomach.

Why would he want to be over there in the first place? Why would anyone? He's got a wife and kids here in the city. What would possess a person to go from a decent, albeit kinda cushy job at the studio in Rockefeller Center to the front lines of battle? The glory? The thrill? The dedication to his profession? Then I thought of the Newsday reporter, Matthew McAllester, and an interview I saw with him the other day. He was imprisoned, and heard the screams of other prisoners being (at best) beaten, if not tortured. When asked his next plans, he basically said to "get back to work" and continue his coverage. Are these guys brave and dedicated or out-of-their-mind thrillseekers? I don't know. And I'm not certain I get it.

Once I got home, I looked up the story on Mr. Bloom. Turns out he had a pulmonary embolism ... not killed in battle. I'm still sad for him and his family, and somehow relieved that he didn't suffer some awful death, getting blown to bits by enemy (or worse, friendly) fire. But that leaves me to question the whole idea of embedded journalists. Are they there to give us the story, or are they there to get killed and make the losses more "personal" to those of us at home?

I'm genuinely sad and angry over the casualties (100+ coalition forces and 1,000+ civilians). However, up until this afternoon, I never felt sick about it, or sad/angry enough to think I wanted to cry. That didn't happen until one of those losses was somehow a little closer to me (albeit not truly close at all) because I'd seen him on an often stupid morning program, while I was drinking coffee and rubbing the weekend sleep out of my eyes.

I don't know, maybe that makes me shallow. And maybe I'm not so brave or dedicated, because I can't imagine wanting to be over there. So here I sit, not so deep, not so dedicated, just hoping for peace and the safety of everyone out there -- whether they want to be there or not.