Saturday, February 04, 2006

Good Story in the Enterprise.

This article in the Leelanau Enterprise answered a lot of questions I had about Dean's hostage taking attempt. This account sounds very much like the people who live in my community.

The Record-Eagle reporter chose to report the story using the "teen-gone-wild" formula that has been used over and over again since the Columbine school shootings. He played up the fear angle and told of how folks in this previously peaceful community were now locking doors. (We weren't.) He failed to even do a basic Google search on Dean, which would have turned up his step-dad's recent obituary; instead he quoted the sheriff as saying that everything had been going great for Dean. He twisted the interview with Ellen until she sounded like a helpless bystander. (Ellen is far from helpless, and she would never use the phrase "dark side" unless the toaster was broken.)

Chris Olsen's Enterprise report was through and well written. He interviewed the mother and daughter victims. They were scared, of course, but not helpless. Mom is retired military, with training in hostage negotiation, training that she put to use. The daughter recognized Dean's voice immediately, convinced him to take off the ski mask, and then spent the next half hour trying to convince him to put down the gun. When they finally convinced him to leave, they each took pencil and paper and went into separate rooms to write down what had happened while it was still fresh.

One of Mom's comments spoke directly to the fear-mongering that took place in the other paper:
“I don’t want everyone to go out and make the gun manufacturers rich,” the woman said. “Another gun would probably have only made matters worse. I think it will be years before anything like his happens again. We live in a safe community. This was an isolated incident.”

No comments: