Huffpost TV
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Reed Abplanalp-Cowan Headshot

Why I'll Never Watch Reality TV Again

Posted: Updated:

I learned of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings while my twin four year old boys lay sleeping next to me in bed. At four, they still cannot make it through a full night without traversing the shadowed hallways of our home to find the adults who protect them in the night.

They are afraid of the dark, but manage to find us in it before falling asleep safely between two dads and three adopted shelter dogs.

That morning, the larger of the two boys had just let out a moan when my IPHONE A.P. News Alert beeped loudly.

My son was having a mid-morning nightmare. At the same time, my phone was alerting a real life nightmare.

"Gunman opens fire at Connecticut Elementary School. Death toll unknown."

Children not many months older than my own beautiful sons stolen away with hot bullets inside a place of learning defied logic as my body instinctively pulled the sleeping twins closer to me.

There, as morning light crept in to my bedroom, I read as my peers in the media called Sandy Hook a tragedy. They called it a massacre.

It was all of those things. But chiefly, it was murder. Mass murder.

Why would anyone do this? What kind of anger would drive someone -- anyone -- to hurt children?

What was the source energy that seethed out of the killer's mind, down in to his arms and finally to his triggered fingertips?

Could I be capable of such rage? Certainly not.

In the weeks since the shootings, as a journalist I have tried to hold a mirror up to all perspectives that have tried to provide thoughts about how to avoid such atrocity in our own backyards.

We have heard from the far right. We have heard from the far left.

Medical experts and psychiatrists and gun advocates and detractors have populated the airways I am in charge of where I live while as a community we grapple with this theft of life from our world.

And while scripts have passed over the glossy teleprompter before me conveying all of these messages on the evening news, I have looked inward to my core beliefs.

I believe we are all part of a collective and infinite pool of energy.

What we contribute to that pool, we will eventually drink from.

The taste of violence in our world is bitter. And especially so when it ravages the lives of children.

More and more it seems, the taste is increasingly bitter from this shared pool of energy.

And for me -- turning inward to assess my own contributions is the best way I can honor the lives lost at Sandy Hook.

I'll never hurt anyone with a gun. I'll likely never even be in as much as a shoving match.

It's just not in my temperament.

But I do know anger, like anyone else.

I know bitterness. I know what it is to let resentments build.

I am guilty of using and choosing words that have hurt and injured souls.

I have shot those words at those I have loved the most.

Indeed, and to my own shame -- at times I have contributed to the energy pool of this earth -- negativity born of anger. Contention. Enmity. Division.

And I should know better.

As a child, growing up in a religious home, I was taught, "contention is of the devil."

I no longer believe in a Satan.

But I do believe in the powerful forces of negative and positive. And I do believe contention... anger... is truly the most cancerous of the negative energies.

Contention is negativity. Negativity is atrophy.

And in memory of the children of Sandy Hook Elementary, I just don't want it anymore.

That's why I've changed the channel on most reality television shows I once loved.

This week, TV industry blogs reported my own personal decision to ask Evolution Media to scrub all images of me captured during their filming of a trash-talking reality television show where I happened to appear on camera.

Somehow, knowing that anger and lunacy and blind fury took numerous children from their mother's and father's arms, I just didn't have a stomach for watching grown men and women seethe anger and insults at each other just so I'll stay tuned long enough to watch television ads that are designed to get my money.

I love my Real Housewives' Nene and Kim. I'm head over heels for Lisa Vanderpump.

But more and more, the function of reality television production companies is designed to stir real life anger to such a bitter froth, that the masses will tune in and buy in to the story lines our world needs less of. Not more of.

I choose peace in the New Year. And if that means my television set avoids reality shows that pour bitter energy in to the pool from which me and my children drink, I'm ok with that.

For the hope of a better world Sandy Hook Elementary's children should have been able to grow up in, I make this decision in my own life. It's the least I can do for their memory and for the twin boys who will crawl in by bed once again tonight.