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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Local Station Won't Run Misleading Ad!

NYC mayor's gun ad is shot down in Kansas


The CBS affiliate station in Wichita, Kan., is refusing to air a television advertisement that is part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control campaign, saying the spot is misleading.

Bloomberg's administration shot back, questioning the station's objectivity.

The advertisement, which debuted Sunday, urges the repeal of a piece of congressional legislation preventing federal authorities from sharing gun trace data with cities and local law enforcement.

The measure, known as the Tiahrt Amendment, is attached to appropriations bills and essentially must be redone each year. The National Rifle Association says it protects the privacy of gun owners, but Bloomberg argues that it hampers the ability of law enforcement authorities to trace illegal guns and arrest weapons traffickers.

The spot urging its repeal is airing in the congressional districts of the Democrat and the Republican who lead the House subcommittee considering the amendment. It was set to appear on a CBS affiliate in the Kansas district of Republican Rep. Todd Tiahrt, who authored the measure.

Tiahrt supports some changes to the language and is working with the Bloomberg administration to get that done, a spokesman for the congressman said.

The ad debuted during Sunday's political talk shows on NBC, ABC and CBS and later on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel. The CBS affiliate in Wichita chose not to air it, according to KWCH director of programming Laverne E. Goering.

"This is issue advertising, where the station is responsible for the truth or fairness of the ad, unlike political advertising, where the politicians can pretty much say what they want," Goering said.

The spot features the Chaska, Minn., chief of police, Scott Knight, who says that the federal legislation prevents him from being able to adequately fight gun violence.

"Where are the guns coming from, who's buying them, how are they getting into my city -- the information is there," he says. "We're not allowed to have it."

KWCH said the ad is misleading because the amendment allows law enforcement to have specific gun data for criminal investigations or prosecution.

The Bloomberg administration does not dispute that, but it wants access to aggregate data that might help officials understand trends or see gun trafficking patterns across jurisdictions.

The ad buy is part of a campaign launched by Bloomberg's nationwide coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler said Monday that the station's decision "raises real questions about the objectivity of this news organization that they would deprive their viewers from hearing from over 200 mayors and dozens of American law enforcement organizations."

Let KWCH in Wichita, KS know they did the right thing!!


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Common Sense Thoughts re: VT Shootings

This is a good editorial in the Daily Nebraskan re: Virginia Tech.

Guest Editorial:
People, Not External Causes, Can Stop Tragedies
by Amy Thompson
Over the next days, weeks and months, experts and laymen will try to make some sort of sense out of the largest massacre in U.S. history. One cable newsman said Monday that it happened in a place that one would never expect.

It's something people seem to automatically say after such tragedies, but it allows people in beautiful, peaceful, quiet towns everywhere to return to a false sense of security when the story falls out of media headlines. The underlying message of this innocent statement is that it is rare to happen in a beautiful, peaceful town.

So go back to your class, your job, your family. Forget the ugliness you saw, the grief you feel. It probably won't happen here.

There's nothing really wrong with that. It is human nature to grieve and then go on. It is human nature to walk through our lives as though in an impregnable bubble until the sharpened dart of someone else's pain or anger or depression or hatred or obsession or evil breaks through once again.

And then the bubble is reborn to be torn again, always unwittingly and always with the same questions.

Why me?

Why here?

Why didn't we see this coming?

How can we prevent this from happening again?

These horrendous tragedies would not be solved if everyone found religion. While some may argue that it would, godly people sometimes do bad things as well.

Gun control would not have stopped the deaths of more than 30 people. "Guns don't kill people; people kill people." Of course it is cliché, but that makes it no less true. A gun is but a lump of metal without a purposeful digit at the trigger. This fact will not cause gun control advocates a moment's pause over the coming weeks.

Last week, CBS's "The Unit" was called in to help control a hostage situation at a prominent Virginia school. That television show did not cause Monday's mass murder. A human, who may or may not have seen that show, perpetrated a crime out of whatever emotion he may have been having. Filling television screens with "The Cosby Show" and "7th Heaven" would not end mass murder.

So why do these terrible things keep happening?

The only answer is a simple answer: people.

People are fallible and unpredictable. Some people are evil. Some people snap.

So where do we go from here?

The first lesson we must know today is that it can happen again: anywhere and at any time. Pain, anger, depression, hatred, obsession and evil exist anywhere people do. No, this does not mean you should walk around in fear with bulletproof notebooks. It just means you should be aware of your surroundings, your friends and your family. When your gut tells you something may be a warning sign, don't squash the feeling; explore it within yourself or with a professional to determine whether there is reason to be concerned.

The second lesson is that the assigning of external causes is frivolous and irresponsible. The blame lies with the individual, though some may be shared with friends, family or associates who may come forward and say, "I knew he was depressed (or angry or obsessed) but I didn't know it was this bad."

Therein lies the third lesson. We must inform ourselves as to what might signal danger in the people we know. Mood swings, changing habits, all of these will come forward in articles written by smarter people than I in the coming weeks. Read them, learn them and recognize the signs in others.

When necessary, talk to those people you are concerned about. If you feel uncomfortable confronting people about their issues, do whatever you can to find someone who might help them.

No offense to Capt. Carl Oestmann of the University Police Department, whom I've heard commented that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has an emergency plan in place for such events. Monday's shooter apparently had two handguns that could release dozens of shots in mere seconds and then be reloaded with dozens more in just two seconds more. There is no plan in the world that can prevent such mass harm when the mind behind it is intent.

So what can we do then?

Sadly, there is little to do but attempt to identify those who may perpetrate such heinous acts and then attempt to "fix" them. This is a terrifically difficult task in that many times, such events as we saw this week are planned and carried out in short periods of time and well before friends or relatives or coworkers can intervene.

It is a sad truth that with all the discussions that will be had in the coming weeks to try and answer the same questions we asked after Columbine just eight years ago this week, we will not find any new answers. The responsibility will still lie with the individual.

And, thus, the final lesson will hopefully reach a young man or woman reading this piece who may be experiencing a pain, depression, obsession or any other passionate, overwhelming emotion that they feel is controlling them: There is no shame in getting help.

Let them know we agree with her comments regarding gun control!
Comment Here!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech Our Prayers are with you

Today at Virginia Tech 32 people lost their lives. To the victims, their families and friends we offer our prayers and deepest condolences.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Positive Influence of Hunting, Part II

In the last installment of this series, we explored the story of Todd C. from Ontario, Canada and his plunge into hunting in his 30’s. The goal in this series is to explore the positive effect of hunting on the hunter. When a person takes up hunting, it can be a life changing experience, as Todd showed us.

This time around, we’re going to get to know Dillon W. Growing up in the suburbs of New Jersey, and without a formal introduction to hunting in his youth, Dillon took it up on his own at the age of 37.

According to Dillon, “I believe many Americans take up hunting and discover the outdoors late in life, for a wide variety of reasons, but many more are too intimidated to ever take the first step.”

Growing up he had an affinity for the outdoors, as many children living in the suburbs do.

“When I was in grade school, I read My Side of the Mountain, by Jean George, and regularly watched Grizzly Adams on TV. As a boy I dreamed about the wilderness and what it took to survive in the outdoors. I spent countless hours in a small strip of woods in a local park, imaging myself in the harsh wilderness away from all human contact.”

Perhaps he might have taken up hunting in his youth, but tragic circumstances intervened.

“Sadly, the dreams and imaginings of my youth were the extent of my outdoor expertise as a boy. At the age of 11 my father, who was largely absent because of his job as a merchant seaman, had a massive heart attack and died between sea voyages. Two years later my grandfather also died. The result of this was devastating – at the onset of my adolescence I was left totally without a male role model. The chances of fulfilling my dream of experiencing the outdoors had vanished in two short years.”

After some time spent serving in the Navy, he came home after Operation Desert storm and his life strayed off course a bit.

“Upon separating from the Navy, I found myself without many options living at home with my mother and working part time jobs. In the Navy, firearms were a mundane part of everyday life, in my mother’s house they were the ultimate taboo. I grew my hair long and decided to try all the things that my schoolmates had done in college. I started playing in a rock band, experimenting with drugs and sleeping the daylight away. I learned that drugs weren’t my thing, but I was attracted to the attention I got from the hippies I was running with. A long haired war veteran who played rock and roll was quite a conversation piece, and I was a big hit at parties. Six or seven years went by in a blur of heavy drinking and darkness. And then a wonderful thing happened – I met the woman I would raise a family with. We got married and began our new life together as a family in less than a year. My whole life changed.”

Once his life began to get back on track, he and his wife moved into an old farmhouse that they rented. Finally the hunting seed would be planted. According to Dillon, “I was fascinated with having livestock all around me and took every chance to help the farmer with his work. Finally, I was getting close to the land and learning skills that were commonplace 100 years ago.” He goes on to add, “It was during this time that I met my first hunter and had my first taste of venison. The seed had been planted, but it still needed time to grow. We found a house in the NJ Highlands, surrounded by State Park lands and lakes. Our new neighbors on both sides were hunters. The seed soon began to sprout.”

It was during that time that Dillon and his wife became close with their neighbors and often received various game meats as gifts. At a barbeque next door, he got his first taste of back strap and decided then and there that it was time to learn how to hunt. Soon after that, he got a gun and a hunting license and was preparing for spring turkey season.

“The day of my first hunt arrived and I couldn’t sleep the night before. I had scouted a good spot and knew there was at least one gobbler in the spot I was heading for. As the glow of first light hit the chilly woods I began to hear the sounds of the woods waking up. Pileated woodpeckers, crows, squirrels and birds whose calls I have yet to identify began chattering all around me,” Dillon says.

He was already gaining a heightened sense of awareness.

He continues, “I made my first tentative yelp with my box call and was immediately answered by gobbles from 2 directions. Two of them! The hair on the back of my next stood straight up and my body went into survival mode as the adrenalin started to pump. I kept up the conversation for a few minutes with both toms getting closer to me. Then disaster struck – the birds were getting farther away.”

Noon came, and I went home with an empty game bag that day. But my brain was full. I had gotten the equivalent of a college education on a single chilly spring morning in the woods. The seed had grown and was in full bloom. Every detail of that day is burned indelibly in my mind from the smell and sounds of the predawn woods to the primal adrenalin ride of that first gobble.”

His first hunt may not have resulted in a meal, but it started to produce a much more meaningful change in Dillon.

“After several days of hunting, I began to notice things that had never drawn my attention before. I walked differently than I did on a sidewalk – each step carefully considered and placed. I took notice of things like deer sign and easy paths to water and clearings. Most significantly, I realized that no one had ever taught me to do these things – I simply did them instinctively,” he says.

He goes on to say, “As I walked through the woods I was aware that I was using all of my senses simultaneously: I noticed signs of the presence of wildlife that I didn’t know to look for, I heard bird calls that I have heard all my life and never distinguished from the noises of the world, I smelled running water and felt the changes in the terrain under my feet. I felt more alive than I had ever felt in my life. I learned that the harvest is not the only reward of the hunt.”

Overall, his first season was a success with 1 turkey hen, 32 pheasants, 12 chukars, 36 squirrels and two rabbits in his freezer, and one unsuccessful encounter with a wily, eight-point buck. Even though he didn’t get the buck, it still added to what had become a completely life-changing experience. According to Dillon, “I had already begun to sense that I was becoming a different person as a result of my journey.”

So what now? Now that he has embarked on the spiritual journey of hunting, what’s the next step? Surely the next logical step is the same that any father would take.

“My daughter, thus far our only child, is now four years old. She looks forward with great excitement to this spring, when I have promised her that I would take her scouting for turkey”, Dillon says.

He adds, “Hunting has given me the tools to raise my children with opportunities and experiences I never had. This makes me mourn the absence of hunting heritage in my own childhood, but appreciate and celebrate it even more with my own child. That doing so will ensure that future generations continue to carry on the hunting heritage gives me a sense of immense pride in having made the world better and more perfect place. Being a parent is the most important job anyone can undertake. It’s been said that children are the future. I go further than that – parents are the future, and children are the bricks we’ll use to build it. I have a clear picture of the world I want my children to raise their own children in, and hunting, fishing and trapping are the tools I will use.”

For countless centuries, the traditions and skills of hunting, fishing, trapping, and the outdoors have been passed from generation to generation. Dillon had no one to show him the way, yet he found the desire and determination to embark on that journey alone. He learned the skills necessary to become a successful hunter, and he continues to engage in the learning process. His spiritual growth and new-found connection to the wild are undeniable, and he has already chosen to pass that on to his young child. Hunting has given him a key to a door that once opened, changed his life forever. He’ll pass that gift to his daughter and thus a new hunting-aware lineage will be started, equipping subsequent generations of Dillon’s family with the skills, desire, and appreciation for hunting that will have the same positive effect on their lives that it has had on his own.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Thank You Sheriff, from the law abiding citizens of PA

This is unusal in that I would like to ask our readers to thank the Sheriff for his stand with the law abiding citizens of PA.

Story Here

Sheriff against effort to limit handgun sales

Barry J. Jozwiak tells lawmakers that people should be able to buy as many pistols as they want, and shouldn’t be punished for failing to report gun thefts and losses.

By Kori Walter
Reading Eagle

Reading, PA - Berks County Sheriff Barry J. Jozwiak asked a panel of state lawmakers in Reading on Thursday to shoot down any legislation that would limit handgun purchases, claiming it would not curb crime or gun violence.

Jozwiak’s testimony before the state House Judiciary Committee in City Council chambers put him at odds with Reading Mayor Tom McMahon, Philadelphia lawmakers and others calling for tougher handgun laws in response to a rash of shootings and murders in Pennsylvania cities.

Jozwiak, a Republican, said he opposed a bill that would limit people to buying one handgun per month.

Instead of passing new gun laws, Jozwiak said, police and judges should enforce existing laws.

“Gun control does not reduce crime,” Jozwiak said. “In fact, criminals prefer their victims to be unarmed.”

Jozwiak even criticized a proposal that would require gun owners to notify police if their handguns were lost or stolen.

Supporters believe that would reduce instances of people buying guns, turning them over to criminals and then claiming that the gun was lost or stolen.

Jozwiak said such a law would punish honest, law-abiding gun owners who didn’t realize that their guns were missing.

“I don’t think anyone who has guns checks on a daily basis to make sure that it (a gun) is there,” said Jozwiak, whose office is in charge of issuing gun permits.

State Rep. Jewell Williams, a Philadelphia Democrat, said he was frustrated by the influence the National Rifle Association and other gun advocates exert in blocking efforts to get guns off the streets.

“People are dying in Pennsylvania,” Williams said. “Your kids ... are being shot, robbed and murdered with illegal guns. It’s almost like people don’t care anymore. It’s like special-interest groups are controlling people’s lives.”

State Rep. Harold James, also a Philadelphia Democrat, suggested a summit with gun-rights advocates might help both sides come up with solutions to soaring murder rates.

“We have an emergency, an epidemic problem in Philadelphia as it relates to gun crime and gun violence,” James said. “We’re here to reach out to say we have a problem and we want help.”

The judiciary committee is holding hearings throughout the state on crime and violence.

Committee Chairman Thomas R. Caltagirone, a Reading Democrat, said he hopes the hearings will help lawmakers reach a consensus on dealing with the issue.

State Rep. Jim Cox, a Spring Township Republican, said he would not support the one-handgun-per-month legislation because it chips away at gun owners’ rights and could lead to more drastic restrictions.

“I want people to have the sheer, unadulterated ability to defend themselves,” Cox said. “If they want to go out and buy 20 weapons to protect themselves because there has been a crime wave in their neighborhood, I don’t want to restrict them.”

•Contact reporter Kori Walter at 610-371-5022 or kwalter@readingeagle.com.