Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Live, local, inaccurate

As Mark Twain wisely pointed out, there's a big difference between lightning, and a lightning bug.

There is also a big difference between someone really shooting a rifle at a school and someone having a rifle at a school.  Big diff. Not that I think that anyone should do either, but still...

Here's the deal, and what I think it says about modern journalism.  The other day as the Orioles were celebrating Opening Day down at the ballpark, the campus of one of our suburban colleges was upset when a couple of students who had been hunting squirrels with pellet rifles in the woods near the school wandered onto the campus, still with rifles in hand.  Another student saw them and reported same to security, and within minutes the school's plan for handling such events went to work.  

Bringing the guns on campus was a foolish thing to do.

There was only one problem, which became an even bigger problem: the school's head of security issued an immediate text to all school personnel advising them to shelter in place due to a report of someone on the Owings Mills campus seen with a gun. That was wise.  What was not wise was the the school posted this warning on their website: "Active shooter reported on Owings Mills Campus. Shelter in place until further notice."

That's the school's problem, but putting that on their website meant that a local TV news station grabbed that headline and put it out as Live Local Latebreaking news: Active Shooter at Stevenson University.

This is the worst kind of journalism, to be quite frank about it.  I was watching the ballgame and the bulletin came across my Facebook newsfeed, but as I checked into it, I was able to find that no one was actively shooting on the campus, which is certainly what "Active shooter" means.  There is no wiggle room there.

And then friends of mine with family members who work at or attend the school were upset, asking what was going on.  Had they had the opportunity to check further as I did, they would have found that the police advised that a person or persons was/were seen with a rifle, but there was no shooting; no bullets were fired.  I pointed this out via FB and the news website rather archly told me that all they did was repeat what the school had said.

Whatever happened to news agencies verifying what someone said before they put it out there as solid fact?  This is what happens now; people see a story on The Daily Currant or The Onion, two websites that publish satirical news stories, and they take them to be true, upsetting those to whom they disseminate the story.  No worthwhile news agency sees something written by a public relations person at a school and runs with it.

The shame is that we have come to trust what we see in print or on the web, and if "they said it on TV," it must be true.  

By the way, this same TV station reported in January that the killer of two people at a local mall and his two victims were involved in a love triangle, an adduction they had to retract when not one scintilla of evidence of it being true was unearthed.

Also by the way, as the back and forth went on between me and the news station, I found that "gun enthusiasts," always touchy when their right to tote and brandish firearms in any public forum is even mentioned in a bad light, were taking my back in the fight.  Politics does indeed "make strange bedfellows," as Charles Dudley Warner said before Facebook was invented.

1 comment:

Steve Finnell said...


Is it possible to seek God? Calvinists teach that none seek God. They believe God selects all who will be saved, making it an impossibility to seek HIM. Man-made doctrines are always contrary to Scripture. God's word is always, the last word.

Acts 15:15-17 With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, 16 After theses things I will return, And I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, And I will restore it, 17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,

Prophets of God agree that all mankind may seek the Lord; a sharp contrast to Calvinistic teaching.

Psalm 10:4 The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts are, "There is no God."

The wicked can seek God, however, they choose not to. Pride destroys the desire to seek God.

Acts 17:26-27 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

Mankind is to seek God. He is there for whoever is willing to find Him.

Psalm 53:1-2 The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God.".....2 God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there is anyone who understands, Who seeks God,

If God selects men to be saved against their will, He would not have to look down to see who seeks Him.

Proverbs 8:17 "I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.

God says diligently seek Him. Calvinists proclaim that no man can seek God. Who do you believe?

2 Chronicles 19:3 But there is some good in you, for you have removed the Asheroth from the land and you have set your heart to seek God."

Men need to prepare their hearts to seek God.

Psalm 9:10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

The writer of the Psalms says God will not forsake those who seek God. Those who preach, the John Calvin view of predestination, strongly disagree.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first His kingdom......

Jesus says seek God's kingdom. John Calvin says men cannot seek God.

Hebrews 11:6 ....for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

God rewards those who seek Him.


(All Scripture quotes from:NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)