The Security Issue

With the shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of six people in Tucson on Saturday, people are coming up with some ideas on how to keep this from happening again. Some of the ideas are:

-More gun control

-Less vitriol

-Less angry political rhetoric

-More security for office holders

I’m not in favor of more gun control laws, but I am in favor of enforcing the laws that are already on the books – and we can sure use less vitriol and anger at our elected officials – and our elected officials can tone down the political rhetoric some.

This column is about security. As one who has been involved with security issues for most of my life in one job or another, I say it’s well past the time to take a closer look at the security of elected officials.

I would wager that every elected official has at least been threatened in some way throughout their careers.

There are wackos galore roaming around the country who write letters or send e-mails, make phone calls, and there are few who are brave enough to show their faces at public meetings. Continue reading

Breaking News Coverage

Like a lot of people, I receive most of my news from through Twitter by following several news organizations and through text messages from several major news organizations. When the news broke about the shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords being shot along with several other people in Tucson, Arizona, it was the media at its best and at its worst.

First, the media quickly and accurately reported that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and several others had reportedly been shot in Tucson.

It went downhill from there. It was chaos. Everyone wants to be first in the news-reporting world, but sometimes being first leaves you with the distinction of being the most wrong.

Several news organizations reported that Giffords had died. Others jumped on the media bandwagon and reported the same thing. Cable news station soon broke in to their regular programming and reported the “breaking news.”

Then someone reported that Giffords was alive and everyone took a step back – and some blamed “authorities” for giving them incorrect information.

Someone on Twitter asked why is it so important to be the first one to report a death.

There were also incorrect reports about the shooter’s last name, which is not that big a thing unless your name is the same as the one erroneously reported.

Here’s a story that explains the whole mess.

We see this happen a lot in this age of the internet and 24-hour news channels. Everyone wants to be the next Walter Cronkite and get their little piece of fame during a major event – and it’s easy with cell phone cameras and wireless access – but it is ultimately up to those who actually report the news for a living to get it correct.

In this case, and for reasons we may never know, they failed.