Thursday, October 11, 2007

Week's End Thoughts & Tribe Stuff

This has been a rough week for the news business, leading off with the horror of the Success Academy shootings in Cleveland Wednesday. It sparked the usual gab-fest shows opinions on whether gun control would have stopped this; are our schools safe?; why weren't warning signs heeded; what led this troubled 14-year old to attack others and then take his own life.

I'm not sure there are any answers to these questions.

From a media coverage perspective we heard about this right after the first shots, thanks in large measure to WKYC's proximity right across the street from Success Academy. Frank Macek has very informative posts in his Director's Cut blog from Channel 3 on their coverage. The other Cleveland stations -- WEWS, WJW and WOIO -- also had strong coverage of this breaking news, coming at the same time a major train derailment forced a thousand people from their homes near Painesville.

One of the common threads of coverage has been the use of the 9-1-1 calls from parents relaying to police information they were getting from their children and others inside Success Academy. There is a bill in the Ohio General Assembly that seeks to restrict broadcast or web airing of 9-1-1 audio, on the grounds it discourages calls by people afraid of retribution after being tagged "snitches". One thing I took away from the use of the 9-1-1 calls and the job Cleveland dispatchers did in handling the distraught parents was the system worked, and the folks on the other side of the phone stepped up to remain calm and still try and get information to pass along which might be helpful to S.W.A.T and other emergency responders on the scene.

I've got to think some of the lessons from Columbine are still fresh, including the razor's edge situations posed for police who often don't know if someone running from the scene is victim or perp. Having the information relayed by eyewitnesses inside may not always be the most reliable (eyewitness testimony is notoriously all over the board) but it does help those on the front line try and paint a more complete picture of what happens behind the closed doors and windows of a hostage situation. Knowing the 9-1-1 system works on this level should be seen as a positive, and not an objection. Our tax dollars pay for it and most importantly it is public record -- and public understanding and support of 9-1-1 is critical to helping the system work.

On a couple of totally goofy notes:

The Indians begin their best-of-seven series with the Boston Red Sox Friday night at fabled Fenway Park. My good pal Bob Salsberg of the Associated Press in Boston enjoyed watching the Tribe dump the Yankees; of course it's not because he's a big Indians fan but more to the point it was us beating New York, and for folks in Red Sox Nation that pretty much makes the Indians fans -- until this weekend.

Some funny photos are coming out of the NY series; for example, this up-close version of Insectus Tribefanus. We owe a tremendous debt to this little fellow, captured by AkronNewsNow web designer Andrew Seese, for the Game Two 11-inning win over the Bronx Bombers. If only we could be assured warmer October nights for when the BoSox visit but alas, the forecast will be a fairly chilly Monday and Tuesday at Carnegie and Ontario so it's unlikely we'll see our little buddies lend a hand against Manny and company.

My cousin Gene forwarded this gem. It had to be one of the most painful things he's ever attached, ever.

He's a big Yankees fan and was, I'm sure, planning to find some creative way of rubbing a New York series win in my face. Without a single comment from me he forwarded this photo that kind of says it all. Please feel free to forward to your friends and family who wear pinstripes.

Finally Mark Biviano earns my thanks and gratitude for forwarding this image that bears the ultimate lesson of how money can't buy happiness.

The greatest quote coming out of the ALDS series comes from Mark Shapiro, who noted how much he enjoyed the loudest applause he savors most was the devastating silence from Yankee Stadium Tuesday evening. I'm only sorry it didn't come on the last game ever at the House that Ruth Built (that's next year) but it was great fun seeing all those empty seats as the overconfident New York fans slunk back into their subway holes to escape reality underground.

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