by John Boch

Pontiac Daily Leader scribe (and part time merchandiser at Bimbo Bakeries) Paul Westermeyer came to Guns Save Life’s Pontiac meeting on April 7th, spent a half-hour more or less to himself, and then left to write up a vulgar hate piece that was subsequently published Saturday, April 11th.

We’ll cut to the chase and reprint it, with commentary in italics.

Gunfire of the vanities

Base Photo via Facebook.
By Paul Westermeyer

Pontiac, IL (Daily Leader) – I received a call last week from a guy asking if he and his fellows could get some media coverage for the local chapter of Guns Save Life. Though this is something we don’t typically do, I gave him the “We’ll look into it” line.

Then there was this exchange:

“I also have a birthday I want to put in the paper, but when I walked by your offices, I noticed a sign that said I was unwelcome.”

Come again? What sign?

“The sign with the handgun and the red cross through it — I’m unwelcome in your building.”

Unfortunately for this man, whom I can only assume would leave the Charlie Hebdo clue unanswered in an intermediate crossword puzzle, we do indeed have a sign on our door that prohibits guns on the premises.

Interesting Mr. Westermeyer goes from unaware of the sign to aware of it.  It’s indicative of what’s to come.  As for Charlie Hebdo:  All the gun control in France didn’t save a single member of the Hebdo staff from Muslim terrorists.

The gentleman who called the newspaper office and spoke with Mr. Westermeyer also called me afterwards.  As I recall, the man called to place a quarter-page advertisement to recognize a close relative’s milestone birthday.  When told he would need to come down to the office, that’s when the topic of the sign came up.  In the end, he declined to go to the newspaper to finalize the ad because of the “NO GUNS” sign and explained why.  In the midst of the back and forth, he mentioned the monthly Guns Save Life meeting in Pontiac.  He invited Mr. Westermeyer out to learn more about why he felt that a gun-free zone was a criminal empowerment zone. 

But it intrigued me to find out why someone would feel his safety compromised in a building of people armed with only slacks and pens, so I decided to drop in on their event at the VFW last Tuesday.

It’s not the people “armed” with slacks and pens he’s concerned about.  It’s the violent criminal actors who might drop in on the business.  Just as violent criminal Muslim terrorists dropped in on Charlie Hebdo and slaughtered their men “armed” with slacks and pens.

I attended the rally briefly, as other duties were more pressing. But in the half-hour I was there, it didn’t take long to notice a few things …

Every other person in attendance had a drink of some sort; the ones immediately around me had a wide selection in front of them. I’m the furthest thing from a teetotaler, but it would seem that a Hemingwayesque intake of alcohol pairs well with arms. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Every other person had a drink of some sort?  No doubt Mr. Westermeyer likes to parse his words like Bill Clinton.   I too had a drink:  water.  I might have had two in fact.  The reality is that half the people or more were eating.  Of course they had a “drink”:  defined as beverage.  Sure, a dozen or so of almost ninety people might have had a beer.  Some maybe two.  So what?

Of the more than 70 people I counted, there were only nine women in attendance. There was a single person in the hall who wasn’t white. Whether that speaks more to culture of the group or to who is actually interested, I don’t know. Make of it what you will.

We had closer to ninety.  I’m sure Paul can count that high.  Nine women?  Maybe.  So?  One non-white?  Who brought race into the mix?  Livingston County is only about one-third as non-white as the Illinois average.  Does that speak to the culture of Livingston County residents or those who choose to live there?  Clearly residents must have moved there because they didn’t like non-whites, right?  I mean, that’s why Livingston County residents elected an African-American sheriff, right?

Upon commencement, John Boch, the executive director of the firearms advocacy group, held his microphone too close to his face during his address and reverberated the room with optimism regarding relaxation of gun laws.

Grasping for anything he can.

He expressed hope that someday soon, silencers could make their way into the gun enthusiast’s arsenal.

And it makes PERFECT sense: when taking jurisprudence into your own hands with the argument of self-defense, why alert your distress to others with the sound of gunfire? You can be judge, jury, executioner AND secret agent!

Paul’s shrill tone belies his deep-seated hatred of gun owners and anyone who doesn’t share his political ideology.

Boch also talked about the prospect of lifting gun restrictions in Chicago, saying that, yes, things may get a little rowdy for awhile, but that criminals will think twice when facing an armed populace …

In other words, an armed secret police of everyday people — in effect, the new Stasi; mobilized with guns and Zersetzung.

A secret police?  How about just self-reliant everyday people who, instead of cowering to threats from violent criminal predators, possess the means of fighting back in self-defense.  Paul seems to prefer they submit to repeated victimization.

That was all I could take.

But he stuck around anyway.

The most alarming thing, however, that Boch and others of his ilk are pushing for is WHERE, exactly, they can take their guns. As it stands, they can really only walk around outside with them and have them in their vehicles. That’s not enough, apparently, and they seek to be able to take guns into retail stores, restaurants, college campuses, parks, playgrounds and other public and private venues.

Paul might wish his baseless assertion that card-carrying good guys can “…really only walk around outside with them and have them in their vehicles…” was true, but it’s not.  Roughly an eighth of a million Illinois concealed carry licensees can carry their guns just about everywhere except at taxpayer funded locations and a handful of other locations.

For these people, Charleton Heston is not just their president — he’s their Moses, and they hope to find their land of milk and gunnery soon.

Newsflash Paul:  Charleton Heston is dead.  I wish he was my president, however.

I’m liberal-leaning on most issues, and I’ll admit: guns are pretty cool — I have a rifle guide I received as a present when I was a rowdy teenager that still makes for an enjoyable toilet-time read.

Liberal leaning:  On a scale where Bill Clinton is a rabid conservative, perhaps. 

Once upon a time, I viewed guns as I viewed Italian sports cars: fascinating, terrifying, but ultimately abstract. Yet with gun lobbies continuing to batter legislation, with devices that can now create untraceable firearms with 3D printers, the abstract is bleeding into reality.

A “Ghost gun” machine is not a 3-D printer, Paul.  It’s a computer controlled mill.   Once the final milling is done to a partially completed metal blank (commonly known as an “80% receiver”), you have a gun part called the “receiver”.  That part is considered a firearm in the complex world of gun laws. If you build it yourself, it’s exempt from some gun laws.

Once more, Paul, your intellect isn’t in front of the curve.  It’s badly behind.  Although I will give you that 3D printing is advancing rapidly.  There are now carbon fiber printers that create objects, including gun parts, that are much stronger than the early plastics.

Now, I am forced to see a valid comparison of guns with toys of a more sexual nature: one or two hidden around the house where your children can’t find them is fine, though double digit numbers of them is approaching the perverse. And feeling the need to carry these sin-tempters at all times on your person is possibly warranting some psychiatric help.

So now you’re dispensing medical diagnosis too?  Your feeble effort at practicing medicine without a license is about as impressive as your practice of journalism.

This is not to say that all concealed-carry advocates are irresponsible lunatics. But there’s no minimum age for FOID Card application, and all it takes is a relatively clean background check. And as for 3D printer-machined guns, how many curious teenagers do you know with access to a credit card?

It wouldn’t be nice of us to write, “That is not to say that all liberals are purveyors of kiddie porn”, so why then do you write such things about concealed-carry advocates?

It’s distressing to think that society as at such a nadir that a significant slew of people want to be armed at all times. Is the safety of a few worth the fear of most? With militant tea bags like Ted Cruz lobbying for office, it’s a matter of time before A Christmas Story’s Ralphie comic parable becomes a canon of tragedies.

Oh, joy.  The zenith of Paul Westermeyer’s writing skills is an ad hominem attack on those those who believe:

1. Illegal aliens are here illegally.
2. Pro-domestic employment is indispensable.
3. A strong military is essential.
4. Special interests must be eliminated.
5. Gun ownership is sacred.
6. Government must be downsized.
7. The national budget must be balanced.
8. Deficit spending must end.
9. Bailout and stimulus plans are illegal.
10. Reducing personal income taxes is a must.
11. Reducing business income taxes is mandatory.
12. Political offices must be available to average citizens.
13. Intrusive government must be stopped.
14. English as our core language is required.
15. Traditional family values are encouraged.

In essence, he’s just slurred almost ninety business owners, professionals, and other law-abiding, honorable members of his community in attendance – and a majority of residents of Livingston County.

Are you comfortable with the thought that at a movie theater, a restaurant, or at the college where your child is attending school — that one, or two, or a hundred people may have a firearm on them?

The prudent person welcomes the proven benefits of firearms ownership, along with the proven results concealed carry laws get reducing violent crime.  Do you rely on “feelings” and “emotions” or on hard-science when making decisions that affect your family’s safety and security?  With decisions come consequences.

Guns CAN save lives — that is true. But they are designed to end them. And the possibility of a secret army of teenagers with silenced, untraceable guns makes me feel a lot less secure about resting my sense of security on some ambiguous “can” — and that’s right where my rifle book is going.

Writing that guns are designed for killing is as feeble-minded as proclaiming spoons are designed to make people fat.


So, what did Paul miss after he left?

He missed the founders of HOOAH Deer Hunt for Heroes talking about their program which as grown in its three short years to help dozens of wounded American servicemen transitioning out of the military because of their war-time injuries.

On one hand I’m kind of glad Mr. Westermeyer left when he did.  Given the tone of his story, he probably would have represented our wounded servicemen – who sacrificed great mental and physical injuries for their nation’s safety and well-being – as baby-killing oppressors committing atrocities at every turn during their time serving overseas.

We passed the hat and between those present and Guns Save Life, we sent the HOOAH people home with $850 towards this year’s program.

Mr. Westermeyer missed us talking about some other guns.


Daniel Parcher from South Post Guns brought a Polish PKM rifle to the meeting.  It’s certainly best that the local paper’s errand boy left early.  He would have wet himself.


We also had the head of Cross Trail Outfitters – an organization that helps build strong Christian men from at-risk boys raised in single-parent households.

Photo via Facebook.
Cross Trail Outfitters participants.

The Daily Leader’s gumshoe would likely have had a problem with the religious aspect of CTO, so it’s probably best he didn’t stick around for that, either.

We gave away a host of door prizes.  No doubt that was rigged.

And we gave away a handgun to the winner of our monthly gun drawing.  He wasn’t present.

We have no doubt that the gun’s winner was a ne’er-do-well.  Or so he would have been portrayed.



The Pontiac Daily Leader’s story has been getting raked over the coals by locals on Facebook and in comments.

Scott McCoy Wow. One of the most uninformed and irresponsible articles I’ve ever read. And trying to make it seem like this group is somehow racist and sexist? Come on. You should be ashamed of yourself. Half hour of standing there looking around a room and you write an article from that? I’ve learned more about your mindset from this article, than you learned from attending that meeting for thirty minutes. Just wow.


Teri Rutledge Ah, yes. If we don’t like the topic, make it about race or prejudice.

This is a blog or Facebook post, not newspaper worthy writing.
I miss the days of unbiased newspaper reporting. You would have failed my “Intro to Journalism” class in less than a w
eek, but wow, would my professor have had a time ripping your work to shreds!

If the media would report facts, and give the reader credit for the intelligence to form an opinion rather than trying to shove an agenda down their throats, perhaps some respectability could return to your profession.

Rebecca Burg Eimer The writer asked if I would be comfortable with armed people near my children at college or in a movie theater (I realize not a direct quote) and my answer is, yes. I would love to know that my college age daughter can carry a hand gun to protect herself or someone else.

 Kay Reedy Lannon Meister This a great organization and I am sad you attended with a preconceived opinion! That is not honest journalism in my opinion!
 Chris Campbell One of the most disgusting, idiotic things I’ve ever seen in this paper. The (mis)Leader has reached a new level of stupid. No wonder I dumped my subscription years ago.

Kelly Higgins Even though this is an “opinion” article, I am shocked that the Daily Leader would allow such an uninformed and unintelligent piece to be published. I think they hurt their reputation and credibility on this one

Chris Campbell In the future, I’m sure people will think twice before ever reaching out to invite a Leader reporter to an event.
Zack Lopeman I believe this is a very biased unprofessional article. I would like to know if your open minded to view the other side of this and read an article I wrote in support of concealed carry for a high school class. Would you be willing to read it? Let me know I’d be happy to email it to you. Thank you.
Lonny Wilcox I’d rather share a room with men having a beer or 2 armed than share the road with with a newspaper reporter 3 sheets to the wind. And the first is a choice I make, the second I have no choice in.
Zack Lopeman I know I’ll be calling and talking to a higher up expressing my displeasure with them Monday. Of course in a kind, professional way.
Chris Campbell I can only assume the people in charge of the Leader are getting really desperate for subscribers. How sad that trying to stir people up seems to be their plan to get attention.

David Stephenson What a political hack. I bet this “reporter” is going to have his head so far up Hillary’s rear, he couldn’t hear a cogent argument if you sent up there via loud speaker. I wonder if the phrase, “Shall not be infringed.” Ever came across his Democrat party teletype.

Shelly Kimbro Guns do not kill people, people with no respect for others lives do and there are more drunk driving accidents per year that kill people then law abidding people who have a right to protect themselves and what is theirs so before you anti gun people keep popping off at the mouth when presented with something that could harm you or yours you call someone with a gun to come protect you, criminals will carry they’ve failed epically on stopping that so why shouldn’t people who are law biding citizens arm themselves to protect themselves
Curtis Kester They failed to report on that we raised 600 dollars for wounded veterans to go hunting. This is the most ridiculous article.

Brad Duncan Wow!!!!! Liberals and their uninformed agenda seekers…..dbags

Chris Campbell  So let’s say you run a small-market newspaper in a small city. You publish mostly local news, school events & such. You stay in business by selling ad space to local businesses & from subscriptions purchased mostly by local residents. One day, a well-established local group INVITES you to their monthly meeting. What do you do? Send someone who will write the story based on their own preconceived notions before they even arrive at the meeting? Allow them to file the story for publication when they only stayed at the meeting for a few minutes? Look the other way when much of their story is about their own personal political views? Ignore it when they make huge inaccurate & insulting generalizations about all the people attending the meeting? As the owner of the small-market newspaper (which I suspect is about to get smaller), do you REALLY think these actions will bring you more customers & subscribers?

I wish them luck as they try to recover lapsed subscriptions to Guns Save Life members and their friends in Livingston County.  I also wish them luck with alienated (soon to be former) advertisers.


This post was struck from the paper’s Facebook page:
That is one hell of a hack job attempt at an article you ran about Guns Save Life. I was almost asleep when it was linked to me and i could have done better. One might like to believe small town papers still have some shred of journalistic integrity but such is apparently not the case. I have been to a dozen or so of their meetings and yes often there are those enjoying a beer as implied… also a sandwich, Pepsi, Dr pepper or fries. . . I would like to give a free nod to GSL. If someone wants tosee for themselves, ask their own questions and possibly make their own, less spoon fed opinions. The next meeting in Pontiac will be at the VFW Tuesday May 5th.
I also sent the following to the managing editor:


Newspapers today are struggling for relevancy and circulation, especially small-town newspapers such as the Daily Leader.

Given today’s economic world, I would think that it’s unwise to shoot yourself in the foot by trash-talking a group of eighty-some upstanding local residents and businessmen celebrating the ideals promoted by our Founding Fathers.

That’s what your reporter Paul Westermeyer did when he visited Guns Save Life’s Tuesday, April 7th meeting for a half-hour before dashing out to write an error-permeated hit piece published today titled “Gunfire of the vanities”.…/15041…/13312/OPINION

I’ll submit a rebuttal to Mr. Paul Westermeyer’s sad screed in the next couple of days.

I hope you’ll give consideration to publishing it.

Publishing a counterpoint to Mr. Westermeyer’s vituperation might be your only hope to not losing additional subscription and ad revenue.

Frankly, if it weren’t for my affinity for Pontiac as my wife’s hometown, I would skip the courtesy of a reply offered for publication.

Your publication enjoys the economic consequences of the signage you post on your front door, and so too with the journalistic tenor found within. Mr. Westermeyer’s “tea bagger” slurs of honorable local residents will not win friends and increase subscriptions and ad revenue.

I believe Mr. Westermeyer would be better suited writing for the Huffington Post than the Pontiac Daily Leader.

In further consideration, at this time I have neither the time nor the inclination to help them out with a rebuttal.  I have, in the words of the great reporter Paul Westermeyer, other duties more pressing.
55 thoughts on “ECONOMIC MISFIRE: Small-town newspaper shoots self in foot in hit piece against Guns Save Life”
  1. For the most part, I am proud to call Pontiac my hometown and claim to have grown up there. When this article came out, I was ashamed of my hometown. Leaving the “politics” out of it, this is poorly written and investigated piece of crap. The writer didn’t even stay for the whole meeting!!!! And I bet you if you attended any other meeting in town such as the Elks, the VFW board,the Sportmans Club or any of these types of organizations, you will find a few folks that may decide to have beer with their dinner. OH! The horror! And to bring race into this “opinion” piece is just laughable. Livingston County has an African American Sheriff. He didn’t get the job because he’s black,he got the job because he’s good at it and the people voted him in!

    This article not only does a disservice to GSL but also to all those organizations that we help like HOOAH, CTO, Pheasants Forever, Young Guns, and countless others. Not to mention the single Mom who’s ex husband has been physically abusive towards her for years who can now legally carry a weapon to defend herself and her children from such abuse.

    I hope that this poorly written article only increases the number of people at our next meeting in Pontiac if only out of curiosity. The more the merrier. The more the VFW will make in food sales. And maybe even some new members for GSL.

    And lastly, shame on you Paul for not doing your homework and for writing on something that you even admit you didn’t stay for the whole meeting.

    1. I almost hate to say it, but I’m thinkin’ that the good folks of Livingston County and Pontiac (and wherever else this local rag is sold)should “vote” with their $$$, and CANCEL their current subscription–if they even have such a sad sack delivered to them–and not get another for a year or so….watch lil Mr Libtard McKoolaiddrinker LOSE HIS JOB for such stupidity as he dished out here!!!!!!!!!!and watch the “rag” go on a HUGE +++++ publicity spree tryin’ to get its readership back!!!!!

  2. Paul is naive young liberal, fresh out of college and its indoctrination. He’s a lover, not a fighter.

    My son, who is probably a few years older than him based upon the picture, would call him a “moonbat”.

    Never understood the term myself, but if it fits.

  3. I live in Oklahoma and it’s sad to say that even in states that have a lot more of their freedoms restored we still have to deal with the mainstream news media’s idea that all firearms are bad.

    We recently had a range open up that has a alcohol on premises and there were quite a few pieces about how bad it would be when guns and alcohol mixed. It’s been open for a few months now and the only thing I have seen happen is a man in a business suit decided he didn’t want to pay for some parts so he five finger discounted them. We also have licensed open carry and the news-media proclaimed blood would run in the streets and we would have a shootout daily. They are so paranoid that the only idea they can hear is the one floating around in their head.

  4. Paul, I will pay for your CCW class, all the tuition, range fees, ammo and materials, I will even buy you lunch both days for the 16 hours of class time it takes to earn a ccw. You are then welcome to write all you like about us, and about what you learned. I would offer that you don’t begin to know what you do not yet know.

    Contact me or Mr Boch, my offer stands for you, or any other writer for your newspaper.

    1. Please Jeff, do not allow Paul any access to any type of firearm. We will all be better off. Let him (/them) play with simulators but no working firearms with ammo.

  5. Question:

    Is the reporter behind that piece just a young liberal bigot who detests guns and gun owners that this small-town hired to work as a staff reporter?

    Or does he “fit right in” with the other staff’s ideological beliefs?

    We shall find out soon. If they fire him, that’s one thing.

    If they stand by him, that’s indicative of supporting what he wrote.

    In any event, I am appalled that any small-town paper would publish something like this, attacking business leaders, professionals, and good citizens. Aren’t those the very people they rely upon for subscription and ad revenue?

    Let them go bk.

    Not so Crazy or Angry

  6. As a former academic, I’ve seen this first hand: “Professors” do not tolerate any differences of opinion. If you disagree, then you are ignorant and it becomes the professor’s responsibility to save you from yourself. If you persist in your disagreement, then you are assigned some sort of vile label (greedy, homophobic, hateful, religious extremist, stupid, etc.) and are dismissed. This forces uniformity of thought and encourages intolerance of differing opinions.

    Free exchange of ideas, discussing differences of opinion and respectful disagreements are no longer part of most journalism programs. Facts are no longer important.

    Mr. Westermeyer is a product of that environment and probably thinks he did society a favor by “exposing” GSL for what he thinks we are. Mr. Westermeyer needs some additional education. Whether he will be open to that remains to be seen.

    I second Jeff Schwarm’s proposal. Mr. Westermeyer is entitled to his opinion. However, if he is going be a journalist and write editorials for a newspaper, then he is obligated to get all of the facts and evaluate all sides of the issue before writing an editorial. It’s the difference between propaganda and journalism.

    The person who really needs to be taken to task here is Mr. Westermeyer’s editor. The editor is supposed to be keeping an eye on his/her reporters and editorial writers. The editor is responsible for the quality of the journalism. Clearly, this editor needs to be fired.

  7. 1-800-984-0989 is the phone number for Bimbo Bakeries Corporate where Mr. Westermeyer works part time as a merchandiser. I am calling tomorrow as the offices are closed now.

  8. I know Paul and believe me we’re not friends. however, I do enjoy his articles and think his opinion articles are pretty funny. This was no exception

    Im independent but I mostly vote gop, yet thinking that others opinions are calls for his firing is honestly the dumbest thing i’ve ever heard. in all the excitement over the 2nd amendment…. did some of us forget the first???

    maybe he shouldn’t have said some of those things or have implied racism or sexism or whatever, but he did say that maybe those were the people who were interested. I have been to a couple rallies like this, and its no different in more liberal or less “white” counties either…. it was just an observation in his defense

    yeah, he was misinformed on the ghost gun, but i have guns and i really want to know why some others are big into the whole suppressor thing. guns are loud, but there are also ear plugs. i have never seen a practical need for a suppressor. maybe i’m missing something, idk.

    also, janette…. really? your calling an employer based on opinions you dont agree with? his job as a reporter/columnist to occasionally have opinions…. gee whiz

    1. Jeremy,

      I hear you. Here’s the thing: Journalists have constitutional protections and responsibilities.

      A large part of the reason why the USA is so screwed up right now is because the journalists have stopped reporting facts and started advocating.

      As someone who publishes in a newspaper – Mr. Vandemeyer has the power to injure people. I believe that he deliberately injured GSL.

      Yes, he has first amendment protected speech. He may be funny. Yes, he can have opinions. But, that does not give him license to write anything he wants in the newspaper. He has a responsibility to get the facts and understand the issues before publishing his opinion.

      If he keeps going like this, eventually he will end up fired, sued or both.

    2. I have no dog in this fight. Gun politics, oddly enough, are something I haven’t touched in nearly 25 years of journalism and media education.

      It takes a lot of brass to do so, particularly in what I gather is primarily a conservative county. I wandered on this small-town story all the way in Wisconsin, for what it’s worth. He’s either brilliant or crazy. Probably both. Look at all the coverage this story is getting…how it continues to get attention even via your own site’s linkage.

      My two cents? Maybe Mr. Westermeyer was lazy and irresponsible in how he covered the event; he should have stayed for the whole thing or not come at all, even if he went with preconceived notions. Maybe he DID have more pressing matters, but if I reporter I taught did that, he would expect a chewing-out.

      It’s pretty evident he did have preconceived notions. He was there to cull a few quotes, do a survey of the audience and that was it.

      As far as his writing goes, pretty intelligent stuff. Just so we’re clear, if what he did report in his short time there was accurate (the paraphrasing and demographics, not his opinionated conclusions), there is nothing that can happen as far as defamation or getting sued in the future or anything like that. He may have aggressively tried to draw conclusions (and make logical leaps), but that’s what a lot of 21st century journalists do.

      Fossils like myself, George Will, and Kurt Schlichter are getting left behind by a younger generation of media firebrands who do more to test the limits of opinion and language. I fear it, and admire it.

      A lot of good wordplay and references got lost in a lot of the (understandably) negative reception.

      So, while Mr. Boch may have been the more informative, Mr. Westermeyer certainly had more flair. He impressed my colleagues, even those who disagreed with his conclusions.

      Just my two cents.

    3. Thank you Journalism Prof. I’m aspiring to write with more flair myself. And a dash more sarcasm.


    4. You have to decide if this is journalism, or if this is opinion. There is a huge difference, if this was opinion, thats fine, but dont give him the credibility of a journalist. If it is journalism, dont give him the benefit of the doubt for presenting opinion as journalism. Liberals live to hide behind the benefits of whatever benefits them at the moment, even if contradictory in nature, as is this journalism/opinion piece. He is a hack, plain and simple, he is a big fish in a tiny pond at a dying newspaper that has not been respected in any way shape or form for decades. so he can call him self a journalist, or a unicorn for that matter, since in the big scheme of things, he is as irrelevant as his opinion.

    5. The First Amendment guarantees your right to free speech. However, it does not make you totally free of consequences, namely being fired.

  9. Fire them all or let go out of business. What a crappy assed thing to write …. and publish …. about your fellow small town residents.

  10. One my biggest complaints about this is that he did NOT report the facts. These were his opinions. Also if you are going to write an article get the facts that you did attempt to write about correct.
    This is a monthly meeting, not a rally. A rally would be similar to IGOLD.

    “Secret army of teenagers…” almost anyone knows you have to have a FOID card in the state of Illinois to own, use or possess a gun. There are age restrictions on who can own a handgun. A simple Google search would have cleared this up for him.

    I also agree with one of the posts below, how in the heck did his editor approve this?

  11. Curious he brought up the drinking thing, yes there are beers on the tables which some people drink but having been to most of the meetings I cannot recall a single time anyone there got drunk and started waving a gun around. A simple trip through Judici however will find that among other things the reporter has been convicted once of driving under the influence and is currently charged with a second offense of DUI.

    It has long been my belief, backed up by observation that those who oppose guns in general and specifically those who say it will be like the “Wild West” if the law abiding are armed, are mentally ill and simply projecting how they would act onto others who do not share their mental affliction. Once again we see projection in this article which backs up the belief.

    But it also makes me wonder, is he a closet racist as well? A closet misogynist? Is his implication of others simply projection of his own failings?

    I won’t call for his termination, that is entirely between his employer and himself but having been in the business world my whole life, I know for a fact things which affect the bottom line can make or break a business and along with it a career. I suspect if enough cancelations flow into the Leader office he will answer for his actions.

    Invoking the 1st Amendment hasn’t worked for other cases of slander for many other papers and the fact this is an opinion piece offers zero protection which may be due to actual factual reporting.

    1. You all realize you don’t have to take this personal, right? What innate danger did you really think this article was doing to the community? Brainwashing the kids into being anti-gun? (Gasp!) Revoking your rights in some way? (The horror!) I’m even very pro-gun. Grew up around them and have a decent working knowledge of most of them. But this has reached a level of damn-near thuggery. GROW UP, PONTIAC.

    2. Just following our president’s counsel to hit back twice as hard.

      It also goes to show the character and moral turpitude of the man-child smearing us.


  12. Don’t know about any of the cute anecdotes you’re providing about the reporter and your shared propensity toward leaps of logic, but I’ll expand what I said to the other person regarding defamation.

    There was nothing libelous (slander is spoken) in his commentary. Proving defamation is (thankfully) incredibly difficult, and about 99% of attempts fail. Cases of opinion are often thrown out at the door. It isn’t helped that Mr. Boch decided to respond in kind and put words in Mr. Westermeyer’s mouth.

    1. I read the words written by Mr. Westermeyer. If he wants to place his uninformed, mis-directing opinion on an editorial page as his opinions, so be it. But this was billed as a news story.

      There were so many obvious lies in the piece and slanted coverage that it isn’t anywhere near objective reporting. Drinks by attendees? Did he know if they were actually carrying a weapon? (answer= no for the most part). Were they over-indulging? (answer= no).
      He states that a “no gun” sign will keep out bad guys with a gun and make his office “safer”…. Nope, all multiple victim events in recent history have happened in “gun free zones”. Wonder why?

      Is that the kind of journalism that you taught for 25 years? I seriously doubt it.

    2. I don’t know about the print edition, but the link I clicked on from this page links to an opinion piece with the words “opinion” in the link and it is filed under the paper’s opinion page. Not billed as a news article.

      As for everything else, those were his opinions, which he’s certainly entitled to have, and you’re certainly entitled to disagree with, but they have no truth value, as in they are not definably “true” or “false.” You’re arguing with your own opinions if that tells you something.

      Also, please don’t question my knowledge of the subject. Just because you’ve been reading a newspaper for as long as I’ve written for one and have been teaching others to do, does not make you an expert on media law. Thank you.

    3. Journalism Prof – The reason there is such a strong response is because of the group of people Mr. Westermeyer attacked with his opinion piece. These are lawyers, doctors, firemen, police, current and retired military. These are very honorable, service-oriented people who value integrity,honor, courage and self sacrifice. Many of these people have put their lives on the line for the freedoms that we enjoy (and that Mr. Westermeyer takes for granted).

      Implying that these people were racist or running around drunk with firearms was perhaps not libelous, but it was unfair and scurrilous.

      He owes us an apology. I doubt he is man enough to do that.

    4. You are absolutely correct in stating that absent malicious misstatements of material facts there is no suit for defamation against a newspaper by public entities or figures. However, the fact that misstatements do not rise to the level of being legally actionable does not make them right. I am getting heartily sick and tired of press and media outlets with a political agenda. Cancel your subscriptions folks and demonstrate that words have meaning in the commercial world.

    5. I am being sincere, no sarcasm intended, in asking this, is this an opinion piece or reporting? How is that to be distinguished? By the heading in the paper it’s printed? While it supposedly appeared on the opinion page of the print edition (I can not verify since I have only read it online)it starts out as what one would assume is a “report.” He was asked to attend a meeting via the phone call. He attended, albeit briefly, and is reporting on what he saw and heard, then it goes downhill. As almost anyone with an 8th grade education knows, his rights are protected under Freedom of Speech. I don’t know that anyone on here has an issue with this aspect of his job.

      However, when you insinuate with your words that a Civil Rights group is somehow racist because there are few people of color in attendance or that only old guys that like to drink beer attend due to the low number of ladies is a huge leap and a downright misrepresentation. While you have your opinion and like his “flair,” I am pretty sure that the majority in attendance don’t like their owning of guns being correlated to owing sex toys. Again HUGE leap in the correlations being presented by the author.

      As part of our monthly meetings, we have any and all Veterans stand so we can show our appreciation to them. I see no mention of this in Mr. Westermeyer’s report. These men and women that we recognize, served to help protect his freedoms to write such a piece. Pretty sure they are not real happy with what they are reading.

      And while Mr. Westermeyer is allowed his opinions and can use the local paper to support them, our readers also have their right to express their opinions. Maybe next time the author chooses to write such an article, he will do a better job of making it clear it’s an opinion piece versus a reporting.

  13. I would never embrace it, but such writing prompts me to hearken back to when the idea was floated around Congress that journalists should be licensed. *sigh* Fortunately, sane, cogent and free society has a way of cleaning the fish tank when needed.

  14. A regular political meeting of 70 to 90 people in a county of 38,000 and in a city of 12,000 is rather significant. The size had to be dismissed through references to race and gender to diminish credibility. Ridicule is a sign of the early road to social acceptance of a political movement.

  15. The Journalism Prof is correct that there is nothing libelous in the story.

    However, in the court of public opinion, the locals of Pontiac are plenty unimpressed with the hit job. Subscriptions won’t be renewed. Ads won’t be placed.

    I’ve already been contacted by two business owners who will no longer advertise in the Daily Leader, instead using other avenues to reach potential customers around town.

    My lovely bride is co-organizing the HOOAH Golf Outing coming to Pontiac in September that will serve as a fundraiser to help wounded American servicemen heal some of their mental wounds prior to leaving the service. One of the aspects of promotion *was* going to be a series of ads in the local paper (logical enough, eh?) seeking registrants.

    In fact, that was being discussed, probably within earshot of Mr. Westermeyer in the minutes before the meeting started.

    If you think for a moment that line item expense hasn’t been zeroed out, then you might be three sheets to the wind.


    1. I figured the good people of Pontiac wouldn’t put up with this. Where does he think he lives? San Francisco??

  16. Mr. Boch, as managing editor of the Daily Leader, I am telling you I did not receive any message from you regarding commentary to this piece. I will be happy to look it over, discuss it with you and give it strong consideration because it is an opinion you possess. This is similar to the opinion Mr. Westermeyer possesses. He has the right to an opinion, as do you. Whether anyone else agrees with it does not matter. We, as Americans, are allowed to form and own an opinion on whatever topic.

    1. Mr. Westermeyer is unquestionably entitled to his opinion. So are the subscribers and advertisers of the newspaper which allowed Westermeyer to publish his opinion. That hard reality of the commercial world is one that the Dixie Chicks learned about the hard way.

    2. Mr. Westermeyer is entitled to his opinion. As a journalist, he is also obligated to be responsible. This is the disconnect. Your reporter, under your supervision, did something fairly nasty to us. Now you are hiding behind the law. There is no remorse. No apology. I repeat what I said before, you should be fired.

    3. He was the sports editor, now the managing editor.

      Let’s give him the opportunity to remedy the cheap shot from Paul.

      Perhaps Paul’s next writing assignment should be about roadside field sobriety tests. I’m certain he could get his facts a little straighter about that topic!


    4. Sadly, Mr Murphy, it will be very likely your employment is terminated in the short term as well. I wish you well on your future endeavors. But, dollars is dollars, and thats something the Daily Leader just is not raking in, even with printing other publications. It may even be that they shut down the newspaper and leave the press room operational, you can always load trucks. As we speak, your employers are discussing both your staff and yourself status as employees.

  17. I posted this at the other entry, but thought I’d share it here too.

    LOL. Oh Deborah.

    Goose. Gander.

    I think he’s exercising his artistic flair having a little fun with GSL’s antagonist.

    I for one welcome it.

    Paul is a bully, plain and simple.

    He thought he could write disparaging things about people he didn’t know without any sort of repercussion other than being held up as a hero to the far left at places like Democratic Underground and similar leftist destinations.

    He ran up against a group of people who don’t cotton to getting bullied AND had the means with which to “push back twice as hard”.

    I don’t really have a dog in the fight when it comes to the Pontiac paper as I live an hour away. However, continued articles like Paul’s will put that paper on the verge of insolvency in short order, I have no doubt.

    And if the management of that place thinks like Paul, then I have no doubt they will be dead and gone sooner rather than later.

    I think I’ll post this at the other entry as well.

  18. Yeah, pretty sure the editor realized that it is his responsibility to oversee what goes out, and in this case he did not, and it cost subscribership. Probably a busy day handling cancellations. They left the online article though because this way they can say ain’t skeered, that and the click revenue

    1. If their alexa ranking was 1.7m when this started, then they ain’t got any click revenue.

  19. Yup, Facebook page has no more article when i went to check comments. Are they in retreat mode? Or circling their wagons?

    So their former sports editor is now the managing editor. Hmmm. After seeing his post here, I have to wonder if the apple (the reporter) is falling too far from the tree (the editor).

    Time will tell if they come back to do a real news piece instead of a hit piece next month. If they dont, then I’d say “let it burn!”

    1. Curious why no one has commented on the fact that the paper had not updated their own listing of their staff. Seems to me that advancement (?) from Sports Editor to Managing Editor would have been noticed by someone responsible for publishing the promotion (?).

  20. I must say, I’ve enjoyed watching this play out.

    It’s nice to see the power of the mainstream, old-media wane to the point that they can’t trash locals without suffering meaningful consequences.

    If you’re reading this and an still an advertiser with the Pontiac paper, please reconsider.

    You can do better.

  21. Don’t let this die. This is what they do. They start things, they lie, then they back off knowing good people will always back away after the heat dies down, then they just do it again. Hold one of theirs to task for his actions, let him feel accountability for the first time in his life. Maybe it will do him some good.

  22. Are you comfortable with the thought that at a movie theater, a restaurant, or at the college where your child is attending school — that one, or two, or a hundred people may have a firearm on them?
    Hey dummy, I attended a daycare center that the wacko B!tch Lorrie Dan tried to blow up in the 80s. Sh!t yes I want teachers armed to shoot the crazy people to protect the children, had the teachers at my daycare center been armed, maybe those Glencoe kids would have lived. I called and shared my story with Mr. Boch when I lived in Anchor. Wish I could have shared my story with a group, but I live back in liberal land now

  23. Quote:Are you comfortable with the thought that at a movie theater, a restaurant, or at the college where your child is attending school — that one, or two, or a hundred people may have a firearm on them?end quote

    Hey dummy, I attended a daycare center that the wacko B!tch Lorrie Dan tried to blow up in the 80s. Sh!t yes I want teachers armed to shoot the crazy people to protect the children, had the teachers at my daycare center been armed, maybe those Glencoe kids would have lived. I called and shared my story with Mr. Boch when I lived in Anchor. Wish I could have shared my story with a group, but I live back in liberal land now

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