The Pontiac Daily Leader’s managing editor Erich Murphy came out to the May 2015 Guns Save Life meeting in Pontiac to see for himself what Guns Save Life is all about. And today, that dead-tree daily published a very fair and balanced look at that GSL meeting.
It was about a month ago that the Livingston County newspaper published a hit piece by Paul Westermeyer that attacked GSL and those in attendance at our meeting, painting us as drunken old white guys just itching to kill people.
The young reporter found out that when you take a cheap shot at someone – or in this case a group of someones – you can expect to get some push back and that it might get uncomfortable. We slapped him around pretty well, sharing his criminal history and DUI arrests. We also roundly castigated the Daily Leader for choosing to publish a vitriolic piece attacking honorable and notable members of the community.
Mr. Murphy didn’t promise a thing, but I had a feeling a fair feature story or something similar would probably be forthcoming. Mr. Murphy did admit that he knew the young reporter’s piece would have fall-out, but he said he was unprepared for just how bad the storm was.
The young punk who wrote those hate-filled words and characterizations about upstanding members of the community is still employed for now.
Our belief is that he should dust off his resume and start submitting it to other publications where he and his writing style might serve a better fit. Something like Mother Jones might be ideal.
A couple hours well spent
by Erich Murphy
(Pontiac Daily Leader) – First of all, this is NOT an apology piece. This accounting of a meeting of the Guns Save Life folks is purely from the author’s perspective and is not a reflection on anybody else’s experiences.
The tan box at the top of the page indicates that opinions provided by columnists and letter writers do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Leader. A column — an opinion piece — written recently was just that — an opinion piece. The editor will argue to his last breath that an opinion is something everyone has a right to possess, regardless of what others may think.
I too would argue to my last breath that everyone has a right to an opinion. I wouldn’t argue that every individual is guaranteed a platform from which to disseminate wrongheaded beliefs and vitriol.
That said the experience of the Daily Leader representative at Tuesday’s Gun Save Life meeting was interesting. First of all, I question it being an actual meeting. It was more of a gathering of folks with like principles and attitudes toward the right to own and carry weapons.
John Boch is the big wig with Guns Save Life and John Gahm seems to be the local leader.
The managing editor of The Leader was invited by Boch to attend this “meeting” and get his own perspective. This offer was gladly accepted out of personal curiosity.
Boch gave his speech to the casually dressed audience before the guest speakers took the podium. Boch explained some things going on around the country involving the rights of gun ownership, touching on incidents in Baltimore and Texas.
He pointed out that gun laws aren’t where he believes they should be in Illinois and suggested that those with similar beliefs contact state legislators in an effort to make changes favorable to gun owners.
This kind of action certainly met the approval of the author.
That is what a professional newspaperman’s writing looks like. Are you reading Paul? Maybe someday, with experience and good judgement, you too can write like that.
There’s more, and he closes with this:
Actually, the editor can easily find himself being friendly with this organization in much the same manner he was with the motorcycle group.
There are causes that are being fought for by these people. Regardless of the makeup, appearance and even the stereotype that prevails (and there is one), the group is pushing for rights of American citizens. This is something that this author can strongly support.
Nice job, sir. Perfect? No. Fair? Absolutely.
I posted a quick note on their website after someone tipped me off that Mr. Murphy’s piece had been published:
by John Boch
First of all, this is NOT a thank you. But in reality, it is.
Mr. Murphy, your “editorial” is a fair, unbiased take on what Guns Save Life is all about. Kudos for doing it right.
You and I share staunch support for the First Amendment.
I’ll even work hard to ensure the troubled young man who appeared at the previous month’s meeting can exercise his First Amendment right in a free press.
Given that author’s writings, I don’t see him standing up for our First Amendment right to promote civil rights in general and the Second Amendment in particular.
But that’s okay. Someone has to take the high road and be the bigger man, just as it takes good men to stand up to evil.
We had roughly one hundred twenty people present celebrating the ideals promoted by our nation’s Founding Fathers. Men, women, youngsters – even a young woman from New Zealand who is a world champion athlete.
After you left, member Dean Rothermel talked about how and why he became involved in Guns Save Life. At his first meeting, he found driven, passionate people who really cared about making our country a better place to live and raise our families. They weren’t the rednecks he thought he might find. These were intelligent, thoughtful, well-educated people.
He raved about GSL speakers he’s seen. These include vets from WWII to Afghanistan telling their stories of overcoming adversity and horrors most of us can’t imagine. History often comes to life at GSL meetings.
We also gave away door prizes and our monthly drawing gun.
Good people doing good things. That’s GSL.
You don’t have to be a member to attend our first Tuesday meetings at the VFW. Come join us.
Judge for yourself which writer at the Daily Leader came away with the right impression of Guns Save Life.
Thank you Daily Leader, for doing the right thing.