David exposes Goliath

By John Boch

When I was in school, I was taught that newspaper reporters and editors were wise and learned individuals to be respected.  They were experts at the use of the English language and generally unbiased and unemotional in their reporting of the news. 

Today, thanks to the “new” media, we better understand how biased the major media is in its reporting of news.

We’ve heard of the disgraceful work of Jayson Blair at the New York Times.  “All the news that’s fit to print,” trumpets the Times everyday in the little box on the front page.  Looking back, I guess that includes the news that Blair fabricated

Nevertheless, I still believed editors, in particular were somehow more intelligent and above the fray.  Little did I know that an everyday working guy like me would soon discover the raw anger and juvenile intellect of an editor of a major metropolitan newspaper.

Charlie Madigan, former Chicago Tribune Editor. Photo courtesy Triblocal.com.

Here’s how it unfolded.  A couple of weeks ago I read an ugly story by a Chicago Tribune editor, Mr. Charles Madigan, that lamented how he had to pry his mother’s personal defense handgun from her cold, dead hands as she refused to let him take it while she was alive.  I was appalled.  This author implied that his own mother was a stupid old woman, devoid of common sense, who stubbornly maintained her foolish view that a personal defense gun that fit her hands would protect her from hooligans who might look upon her as an easy mark.

I wrote him a very nice note, not expecting much in reply, but keenly aware that if I wrote like a rube, my words might be used to by this big-city newspaperman to paint gun owners with the old “they are just stupid rednecks” brush.


“His response further reinforces to me – in a very personal sense – how the elitists in media view all of us, the unwashed masses, as fools.”


So I wrote in a stoic, intelligent manner expressing my position that this man’s mother knew far more than he gave her credit for and that he was a bigot for being closed-minded in his decision-making when it came to gun ownership.  “With choices come consequences,” I wrote the man who I initially thought was an intelligent and learned man who sought the truth in his work.

What I got back astounded me. 

Here it is in all it’s glory, warts and all:

well john, you don’t know me at all and yet you feel
you have the right to be offensive! what a guy. well,
here’s right back at you, you fool. when was the last
time you used a firearm for protection? i have known
people with houses full of firearms who have never
faced any demonstrable threat.
they wre just sitting there waiting to be stolen, which in
some cases, they were. i have also known people who
shot themselves, people who shot their wives and then
themselves, and people who shot innocent bypassers
because they were afraid of some perceived threat that
didn’t exist. you are plugged so full of propaganda you
don’t know the truth anymore. i recommend the centers
for disease control morbid. and mortality statistics,
which will show you that it is wise to have a gun if you
are, say, a drug dealer looking to expand or protect
territory (is that it, are you a drug dealer?
is that why you need weapons?) a policeman with a
legitimate need for a sidearm or a hunter trained in the
use of weapons for hunting. i think you should limit
your future communications to like minded people who
will agree with everything you say. i wrote that article
out of respect for my mother and concern that she had
been robbed by a GUN DEALER, you fool! that was
the only criminal threat she faced in her life that i can
don’t lecture me, go lecture the gun business you seem
to love so deeply about developing some ethical
behavior. bye. and i do mean bye. madigan.

I’ve received better written, more articulate hate mail from eighth graders.  Then it dawned on me:  this guy isn’t anything special. He’s just a boorish, not-so-intelligent elitist with a hot temper and thin skin. 

He deems me a fool, just like his own mother.

While my first note caused him a temper tantrum, my reply to his inarticulate electronic message surely resulted in spilled coffee either before or after he screeched out a Howard Dean Scream™.

His crude personal missive demonstrates how angry and defensive he gets when his urban-dependency, emotions-based beliefs and demagoguery are confronted with science and reason. 

I pointed out that the emperor has no clothes and he didn’t like it one bit.

Through my correspondence with Mr. Madigan, the big-shot Chicago Tribune Editor, I now better understand why the Tribune’s circulation is falling.  His response further reinforces to me – in a very personal sense – how the elitists in media view all of us, the unwashed masses, as fools.

Let them cling to that notion.  It will be their undoing.

Yes, my pen is mightier than the sword.

Until the excrement hits the rotating blades, that is.  That’s why I’ve got that 12-gauge in the trunk.

Reprinted from September 2005 issue of GunNews

8 thoughts on “David exposes Goliath”
  1. I have probably read three newspapers in the last five years. I seldom watch network news – national or local. And yet, I am more fully informed on the events of the day than the vast majority of people.

    My primary source of information is the internet – not any particular site, but a wide variety. I am as likely to visit Huffington Post as Newsmax – and when the “facts” of a story don’t seem to ring quite true, I often visit both. In “traditional” journalism, I find irony in the fact that RT (Russian Times) outperforms CBS, that Al Jezeera is often more credible than NBC, or ABC or FOX. RT especially has the sort of stories to which Americans really SHOULD be paying attention, while ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and other “American” outlets seem content to regurgitate pap and the government propaganda themes.

    Back in the heyday of Microsoft, I told my friends that Microsoft was dead – it just didn’t have the sense to fall down. Since then, we’ve seen the rise of Apple – as I predicted.

    Today I predict the demise of the lamestream media. It too is dead – and too stupid to fall down… but eventually, it will.

  2. Those of us from the Chicago area have known for decades that Charles Madigan was a total tool and emotional ranter. No surprise here.

    A quick note, though. Use Madigan’s complete name in the headline, and about three or four more times in the story to help ensure that this valuable article will be found by google if someone looks for his name.

    1. jack,
      would you support running the original column so people know what the fuss is all about? I think that would be prudent. I don’t know which “those of us” you are referring to. There are 11 million people in the greater chicago area and I am happy to have whatever they want to give. finally, this is one of those articles that preaches to the choir. i don’t think the author would have to convince anyone of the conclusion that i am just a bad guy. you have already self-selected on that question. bye! madigan

  3. You are in trouble today if you believe what you see in the media. It is mainly totally biased BullCrap and you should be aware of it. The things you should believe is your gut feeling and what you know as an indivdual. The main thing to remember is that most of the stuff shown today is politically baised and should be so discounted.

    That is only my view but I’ve been around awhile.

  4. John, don’t forget that some newspapers are to stupid to fail. I’m sure the Tribune falls into this category and is no doubt kept alive by the government mandated fairness doctrine. The only real use for a news rag like this would be during a toilet paper shortage. Actually, this editor wnaan’b is lucky his Mom didn’t take a shot at him and he can still waste my oxygen. He isn’t getting any younger himself and as his IQ is now obviously below room temperature, his own kids will be asking for his car keys. Your article is “Write On”

  5. A local paper here in Michigan the Holland Sentinel, had an article that didn’t hide it’s anti-gun agenda. It was so blatantly anti-gun that it belonged in the opinion section instead of the news section. I and another guy wrote scathing comments on their web site correcting the authors “facts”. The author had actually used Mother Jones magazine as one of her sources. Unbelievable. Gun owners need to learn the facts and correct these anti-gun bigots whenever we find them. We are at a crossroads and the enemy is using informational warfare against us, lets use the truth and try to balance these attacks on our rights before we lose them.

  6. well, that certainly is an old letter, and i salute the author of this article for calling me out for not typing well in email. i guess that is important. what is really important is that my mother had no reason to own a gun, her neighbors were not threatening her and, witness the fact she left it loaded and cocked in a bank money bag in a cedar chest, gun safety was not a strong point for her. I love my rifles and when i can, go to shoot them. but i don’t think a handgun is a prudent defense tool in suburban chicago. i know people believe all reporters are fools and distort whatever they can. but you were reading an opinion column, not a news story, as was clearly noted in the section in which it was published. i am as entitled to an opinion as any of your readers, first, and second, none of these people know me well enough to reach conclusions about who i am and what i think. i would ask in the future that if you want to pick away at columns, you should at least give space to print the column so people know why you are disagreeing. but i guess that is asking too much. press on, friends.

  7. Oh, yes, and the other point is about the ethics of gun dealers. What would you say a prime condition 1890s police revolver and a .38 chrome plated handgun with spectacular black checkered grips would be worth? The gun dealer told my mother they were worth nothing, then sold her an abysmally poor little 32 handgun, loaded it for her and sent her off with no instruction. You tell me who the enemy is in this picture, the reporter who told this story, or the dealer who took very valuable guns from a woman who didn’t know what she had and was so motivated by fear she bought a little piece of junk on the grounds she was going to protect herself. Shame on all of you.

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