The Miami Dade Schools Police Headquarters was under seige this morning. The morning staff meeting dragged on longer than usual. Channel 10 reporters flitted in and out of the decidedly shitty building. Secretaries peered out into the parking lot through the front door’s peep hole.
I was there to check out some records. And one of the cops letting me into the station asked if he ought to pat me down.
Which is understandable. Jeff Weinsier was busted yesterday on school grounds for trying to break out of the designated media “staging-area” –a tent they’d set up a good ways off from the high school that employed the whack job math teacher who got busted this weekend charging the Homestead Air force base with a pair of butcher knives screaming “death to America.”
(Laugh Note: the Herald suggests the man was arrested “attacking” the air force base.)
Weinsier got busted, according to School Police PIO Ed Torrens, after police told him four or five times to get off school property and back into the “staging area.” When the officer took Weinsier into custody they found that the reporter was packing a revolver in his waistband – no holster.
“You’ll blow your dick off doing that kind of shit,” one cop remarked. The story was the source of some amusement.
And why not? It’s funny.
Guys around the station mentioned to me that Weinsier began carrying the weapon after he started his Dirty Dining segment –in which he went undercover to find cockaroaches in local reastaurants. Appearently Weinsier started receiving a lot of threats.
The station’s response is throwaway. Dave Boylan, Channel 10’s general manager and Vice President wrote, “Our standard operating procedure is to thoroughly investigate the facts of any situation involving an employees actions and that process is under way.”
Channel 10 will no doubt railroad Wiensier for carrying the gun. And maybe they should. But why do people freak out about the prospect of an investigative reporter with a gun? As though we’re supposed to root through the town like pigs in the wilderness.
When Stuck on the Palmetto wrote the story, the gun jumped from being a .38 to a Dirty Harry hand cannon.
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Journalists receive a lot of threats, by god. I can count three times where my subject promised me they’d “kill” me if I quoted them (and I did). I can count two when I chose not to –the most notable of which involved a drunk German tiger trainer who claimed to have killed a lot of people as a mercenary in South Africa).
Most of the guys I meet who carry guns are security contractors or salesmen. They sit in offices all day long, live in nice suburbs and do the same thing day in and day out. They never go anywhere dangerous and they certainly don’t fuck with people’s livelihoods in the way that we do as a matter of course.
Daniel Ricker, the gadfly who religiously attends local meetings and writes the Watchdog Report once told me he sleeps with a loaded double-barrel shotgun next to his bed. “They’ll never get me,” he told me over drinks at Berry’s in the Grove. “Not unless they use a silencer.” --Calvin Godfrey