Monday, October 13, 2008

The Orlando Sentinel: lopsided journalism

Henry Pierson Curtis, an Orlando Sentinel staff writer, has launched a drive-by, multimedia campaign against weapons that can fire more than one bullet through the walls of a typical Florida residence. Since the Sentinel has been orchestrating this linkage of Orange County's rising crime problems to the 2004 sunset of Joe Biden's Federal Assault Weapons ban since March, I suspect he knows that includes nearly any firearm.

He also invents the newest attack against the Second Amendment, "disposable AK-47s", after Andre Patterson, 27, and Joshua Sharpe, 25, were repeatedly shot in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Two AK-47s and other weapons were ditched at the scene by the murderers, who were not apprehended.

This information was casually offered in the 12th paragraph: "Patterson had been arrested at least 13 times in Orange County on charges related to drugs, violence and firearms. Sharpe, known as "Booty," did not have a record in Orange County."

Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary features prominently in Pierson's writing, which often lacks no documentation for the numbers he cites. Of course, there is the mandatory video footage showing sheriff's employees blazing away at their training range with an AR-15 and an AK-47 removed from the evidence locker.

Beary was attacked by the Sentinel last fall after the department purchased an Alexander Arms Beowulf .50 cal. M-16 upper to bag "large dangerous animals" such as "exotics" on the lam from Disney's Animal Kingdom or the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Pierson has also cited Beary for appearing in uniform at a fundraising event for Jerry Demings, former Orlando police chief, who Beary has endorsed to replace him as sheriff. Deming, a Democrat, is opposed by Republican John Tegg, a former Beary deputy who ran against him in 2004.

Beary has also endorsed Democrat Lawson Lamar, who is seeking reelection as that area's State Attorney. Politicians and criminals aren't linked to the area's growing crime problem, but animated, disposable "assault weapons" are. Something has been lost in translation.

The National Rifle Association named Beary its law enforcement officer of the year in 1996.

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