Thursday, July 12, 2007

Voting, Violence, and Very Strong Thoughts

Busy news day .. but a few notes to pass along tonight.

Tonight's vote to launch Russ Pry into the role as County Executive was a landslide to say the least. 201-38. Tim Crawford remains on council. I couldn't attend the vote, but our staffers tell me that quite a few folks had "Pry" stickers on their bodies but nothing was visible as support for Crawford. Pry didn't say much after receiving the honor, but I'm told he has a number of ideas ready for the first few weeks in office to both "get his feet wet" and establish a sense of confidence in the change of command. The real test will be next fall's election ... so I guess Pry has a 16-month audition to make his case that he should be elected to the main stage.

Most folks don't think life as a TV journalist is dangerous, but yesterday it was nearly fatal. A crew from one of our competing stations was doing a live shot in a pretty rough part of Cleveland. The truck operator was outside of his vehicle setting up the shot. When he got back inside, there were a few teens in there. When the operator told the kids to get out, a 12-year-old -- yes TWELVE -- pulled a gun and put it to the truck operator's head. The reporter outside the truck called 9-1-1 and the kids eventually fled without firing a shot.

Fortunately, I haven't had to go through anything like that in my job (knock on wood), but there have certainly been times when I've knew we could be in a real violent mess. A year or so ago, videographer Carl Bachtel and I were on the scene of a police chase that ended with two teens in a stolen car flipping their car over in the middle of the afternoon. They crashed making a turn in their own neighborhood. One of the suspects mothers showed up at the scene and began screaming at the police claiming that her son was injured because they were chasing him over something small like a stolen car. She kept yelling that it was "the police officers' fault!" and "All this for an M1" (referring to the crime as a misdemeanor of the first degree). Pretty soon the crowd began to join in with her yelling at the cops. Police noticed the tension and called for extra officers. As soon as the suspects were loaded into ambulances, police abandoned the stolen vehicle scene to avoid a riot. Problem is, they didn't tell Carl and me the were heading out. Luckily, our own instincts kicked in and we got out of there soon after, but a more inexperienced news crew would have been thumped.

Thanks to all of you weighed in on the U of A "gun signs" post below. It's obviously a very passionate topic. Again, hopefully most of you see that I wasn't judging whether it's right or wrong to put the signs up .. but rather, I just was surprised that the U of A didn't use the signs when they went so overboard on smoking and with Virginia Tech being just a few months old. Many of you shared some great points. For example, I certainly want to learn more about the Ohio newspaper that printed all the names and addresses of its local concealed carry license holders. I think that's outrageous. Anyway, keep your thoughts coming. It doesn't matter if we always agree, but it does make a difference that we get the issues out in the open. Hopefully, my writing is worth your time.

Off to the set for the 10 p.m. news!! Eric

4 comments:

Swanny said...

What kind of a crazy world do we live in where a mother would defend her child for stealing a car? Unbelievable. With parenting skills like that, the police should have locked her up as well for Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.

If I would have pulled something like that as a kid, I would have prayed for the police to get me to jail before my father got there. His punishment would have been much worse than any handed down by the criminal justice system.

David B. said...

What you mention in your post is one indication of why parts of our country are so violent and depressed financially - parents and community members enable bad behavior, rather than standing up against it.

You have a nice blog here, and it is nice to see your willingness to discuss/examine different issues (e.g. the gun example). Too bad I don't live near Akron to watch you, but I do live in Ohio.

Chris said...

Eric,

I am one of the "outed" CHL holders from that newspaper up north. This was simply an effort by the Editor to manufacture news rather than report it. I grant that news media should have access to the lists relative to news stories. For example, there is a shooting in a neighborhood. In writing the story, the reporter should be able to find out if the person who is accused of the shooting had (OR DIDN'T HAVE) a license to carry concealed. In that case, the information is relevant. But to announce to the entire readership that "Joe Blow has a CHL" and Joe has never committed a crime and has been living a good, quiet life...that isn't newsworthy.

vanillacokehead said...

Eric,

I remember working in a not-so-good neighborhood of Jackson, Mississippi one afternoon and I was sent out on a "one-man-band" to get some video and interviews for a story the weekend anchor wanted me to get.

I approached a gentleman in his 30s and asked him if I could interview him - and he paused for a few seconds - and as he stood up, I noticed a revolver stuck in his waistband.

I kept cool on the outside; but inside, my inner voice was saying, "oh, man -- is this dude gonna pull that gun out and shoot me?" Luckily he didn't - I got my interview - and then put my camera back into the car and got out of there as fast as I could. I was literally shaking as I was driving back to the station.