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Nation & World

Binghamton Shootings Remain With Reporter

SCOTT SIMON, Host:

Three months ago, a gunman opened fired at an immigrant services center in Binghamton, New York. Jiverly Wong, mentally ill immigrant from Vietnam, murdered 13 people before taking his own life. Wasn't an easy assignment for Brian Mann, who covered the shooting. Here is his Reporter's Notebook.

BRIAN MANN: When these things happen in America - the Columbines, the Virginia Techs, and now Binghamton - the violence most of us see is brittle and distant.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV BROADCAST)

SWAT, Host:

Breaking news right now - a SWAT team is on the site of a shooting in Binghamton, New York, where there may be hostages. With me on the phone...

MANN: Are you really okay to just go home by yourself tonight? I mean, seriously...

AMRI YIGAL: Well, I think so. If she is okay, she will come home first.

MANN: When I went back to Binghamton, I found that everyone wanted to talk about these questions. I mean, they wanted to talk for hours. Usually reporters have to horn their way into people's lives. We wheedle and cajole. But I found cops and social workers and the mayor and grieving families. They literally held my hand. They held me in place. They insisted that I look at one more photograph, hear one more story, handle one more piece of this unfathomable thing that had happened in their lives.

YIGAL: Yeah, these are our wedding pictures. This is her. She is something else. It's so special to me.

MANN: Boy, look at you in your suit.

YIGAL: Yeah.

MANN: Aren't you dapper.

YIGAL: Yeah.

MANN: But one thing I do share with all of them - Muslim, Jewish, Christian - is a belief in memory, a belief in the power of the human voice and a conviction that telling stories and listening to those stories with all your might is sometimes the only thing you can do, because there are no answers exactly.

SIMON: For NPR News, I'm Brian Mann. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.