Schmuck Alert: Sight of the Gun

March 22, 2012 lead, photog blogs

Bumpkin WIth a Gun

TV News: the only profession where you place yourself in volatile situations, then wheeze like a banshee when trouble erupts. That said, there is ABSOLUTELY no excuse for pulling a gun you don’t plan to use, let alone menacing a news crew with it. But there’s no denying that’s exactly what happened in Joiner, Arkansas the other day, thanks to the magic of video…

“Excuse me, Cameraman? Yes, you – the one I’m threatening with bodily harm and a firearm… you’re not recording this, are you? ‘Cause if you’re, I’d be be pretty thick to keep whipping out my piece like this. Maybe I’ll just hold it by my side and walk away like I have to pee. You keep rolling while your lady friend goes all Isiah Carey up in this joint…”

Okay, so it’s easy to poke fun, but if someone pulled a heater on ME, whatever audio that followed would be so draped in profanity, Ozzy Osbourne’s kids would file a complaint with the FCC. Truth is, reporter April Thompson and photographer Ben Short did a lot of things correctly when an angry young man pulled up and broke out his best Boomhauer. Thompson remained chill and got out of the camera’s way, Short kept rolling and centered his lens on their surprise guest. It was all rather textbook until Dude smacks the camera, then runs back to his pick-up for more than a little ordnance. At that point, mere hindrance turned criminal.

Critics can fault WREG for pimping the incident out of proportion and they may have a point, but the fact remains that jack-ass brandished a weapon in front of an innocent news crew and no matter the showboating that followed, that shit ain’t cool. So ease up on the Monday morning quarterbacking, fellow media members! I’ve seen a few of you soil your action slacks whenever a bug flies into the car. Who knows what dialect you may affect once somebody pulls a hand-cannon on you! Me – I’d reach for a word understandable in any language…


(By the way, the subtitle of this particular Schmuck Alert is a lame attempt to salute David Carr’s The Night of the Gun, quite possibly the finest junkie memoir you’d ever want to read. A Lenslinger Library Favorite!)