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As a small-town newspaper reporter at the start of my career and when print newspapers were still a thing, I worked in a newsroom where one of our goals with stories of high national or international interest was to make them more relatable to the local audience.

Conflict breaks out between Israel and Gaza; you go to the local synagogue and interview Jewish leaders and families. Today, you might stop at a mosque and interview members of the local Muslim population (though back in the late 1990s there honestly weren’t any mosques in central Virginia or northeastern North Carolina that I knew of). Or you can even ask the socially rabid white Karen-in-training with straight As at an Ivy League school and vacationing with daddy at Martha’s Vineyard why she is willing to firebomb a cop car in protest over a conflict on the other side of the world, and of which she most often doesn’t even understand. Little Karen aside, if you could find someone with relatives in the actual conflict providing you with an international story with local connections, you had local news reporter paydirt.

If there were forest fires raging across the Rockies, you interviewed local fire officials about if there was a risk of such fires in the rural countryside outside the town. If there was a school shooting (and there wasn’t any back then either, though oddly, there were still plenty of guns around at the time) you’d interview local students to tease out their fear and apprehension so the local community could feel at one with the national angst and maybe feel grateful it wasn’t them. You get the point.

Such lessons don’t go away, even as a journalist’s career morphs and the writing they take on changes. We are creatures of habit and so fall back on what we know. So, it was this past week as eclipse fever swept the country, and mothers warned their kids not to look at the sun with naked eyes, that I pondered what connection might exist between the eclipse and the gun and shooting community.

It seemed a stretch. I was talking to a fellow editor at a hunting magazine and he told me with turkey seasons open in the South and about to open elsewhere, they were getting observations on how wild turkeys reacted to the eclipse. Interestingly, some reports from the so-called “path of totality” revealed as the sun began to emerge, some turkeys began to gobble their heads off from the roosts they had flown up to as it got dark. They had totally been fooled into thinking night had already come and gone.

But I didn’t have such a connection I could make with just firearms, or so I thought until I saw this headline from the Associated Press, “Woman shoots interstate drivers, says God told her to because of the eclipse, Florida police say”.

It wasn’t the angle I was looking for, but it was an angle of how mental illness and guns do not mix, and as such, is of interest to those who care about how such people’s actions can impact our gun rights and ability to enjoy firearms as the larger community of law-abiding gun owners. Thankfully, nobody was killed as a result of this mad woman’s actions.

Here’s what the AP reported:

A woman checked out of a Florida hotel on Monday, told staff that she was going on a God-directed shooting spree because of the North American solar eclipse that day, and allegedly shot two drivers on Interstate 10 before being arrested, according to the state’s highway patrol.

Taylon Nichelle Celestine, 22, of Georgia, entered the highway in Bonifay… and headed west … she fired into a passing car several times, shattering windows and grazing the driver in the arm, the department said in a statement.

She then fired at a second vehicle, hitting the driver in the neck. The driver was treated at a hospital.

Troopers stopped the woman after she drove for about 16 miles (26 kilometers) and found her with an AR-15 rifle and 9mm handgun. She was arrested and booked into the Holmes county jail.

She was charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and improper discharge of a firearm.

The Guardian, a British daily newspaper, with digital websites geared for different parts of the English-speaking world, also reported the news story, running the AP News report verbatim, until the end when it started editorializing with:

The ease with which Americans are able to stockpile guns and then potentially use them to attack strangers at random has motivated many activists to call on federal lawmakers to enact more substantial firearms restrictions. Few such measures have been adopted.

“What the hell was that?” I thought like someone discovering a used Band-Aid in their bowl of cereal. I read the precise wording of the last paragraph over again. It had clearly been written from a Brit point of view. Even more interestingly, it appeared right before an appeal at the bottom of the page from the U.S. edition editor, Betsy Reed, to donate money to the news organization citing their fairness and editorial integrity.

Ms. Reed had this to say:

Thank you for reading the Guardian, which is different from many organizations in the US media bubble. As the most important election of our lifetimes looms, I want you to know the three key reasons we are able to prioritize responsible reporting over the race for profits and clicks:

  1. With no billionaire owner to appease or shareholders to enrich, we are fully editorially independent and answerable only to you, our readers.We are not being pushed by anyone to amp up false scandals or cover the election like a reality TV contest. 
  2. We are unafraid to say plainly that US democracy is facing a unique historic threat.Instead of obsessing over who’s up and who’s down in the polls, our journalists are acutely focused on the stakes of this election: the fact that the fate of our democracy and our planet are on the line.
  3. We are keenly aware of how the media can be manipulated to promote political agendas.Our election coverage is defined in part by what we choose not to cover: we do not amplify gossipy stories drummed up by opposition researchers, platform lies and misinformation, or engage in “he said-she said” coverage without adequate context. 

The media will play a crucial role in shaping the outcome of this election – and this time, journalists must get it right. The Guardian is committed to doing so, but we can only do it with reader support. The majority of our funding comes from people like you contributing what you can.

Sounds like the folks at the Guardian, who believe they aren’t being manipulated, are fine as long as they are the manipulators. That, or Ms. Reed’s belief that The Guardian’s editorializing on firearms rights in this country isn’t part of a “political agenda” bent on “manipulation” or potentially echoing “false” narratives. And forgive me if my history is a little rusty, but it seems what the British have to say about how our country is run hasn’t really mattered since Sept. 3, 1783 when the Treaty of Paris was signed officially ending the Revolutionary War.

It also seems logic and truth—and fairness—in the gun debate have been eclipsed in the minds of both British and American mainstream journalists, and now they find themselves in a moment of darkness that has them so blind, they can’t even tell when they are lying to themselves.

Maybe that’s the real eclipse story that deserves coverage. Ms. Reed is right about one thing though, “the fate of our democracy” is on the line. The question is, who is the real enemy?

 

Editor: Along those lines, here’s a great, thought-provoking scene from 1995’s Crimson Tide with two of the greatest actors of our time.

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73 COMMENTS

  1. Those that tell people to “follow the science” simply have no interest in the science. It’s just a slogan to these people. Just like the ones that want to claim “my body my choice” are the same ones that want to force experimental drugs onto everyone else. It becomes a convenient excuse like “the devil made me do it”.

    • They use it the same way dark age royals used “god has commanded.”

      Basically translates to “doing what I told you to is backed up by a higher power so do it or else.”

      If you question that you were a heretic back then and a science denier today. Both unworthy of dignified humane treatment.

      • Good point, they have simply translated the “Divine Right of Kings” into the ultimate right of the Left to use government to force you to do what they want.

        • “…they have simply translated the “Divine Right of Kings” into the ultimate right of the Left to use government to force you to do what they want.”

          While conveniently ignoring the proof they are wrong.

          My *favorite* example :

          They want us to believe that ‘gun violence’ is “epidemic”, at an all-time high. Yet they can’t explain why, with potentially 100 million more guns “on the street” today than in the early 1990s, your chance of being murdered by a gun *today* is roughly one-half of what it was back then.

          What other conclusion can you possibly come to than more guns means less crime?

          I happen to believe violent muggings will plummet when violent thugs make the mental calculation that sticking a knife in an old lady’s face gets them shot dead instead of richer…

    • It’s like copy and paste except using your mouth. Very little brain power is required. Follow the leader. They have credentials!

    • The “science” they follow is “p0litical science”.

      Even in the former USSR people would joke about how over-politicized even minor things were.

    • “Just like the ones that want to claim “my body my choice” are the same ones that want to force experimental drugs onto everyone else“

      False equivalence.

      Science shows pregnancy is not contagious, unlike Covid, measles, smallpox, polio, etc.

      And am I reading it right, you are upset with the product of Donald Trump‘s ‘Warp Speed’ vax program? If he’s responsible for the experimental drug that has killed so many people, why do many people support him and want to reelect him?

      • I’m not upset because of Trumps warp speed program. Nothing about that program forced drugs onto anyone.

      • Science also shows that the vast majority of pregnancies will result in a live human being born if the process is not interfered with. Murder usually has to occur to stop it.

        But as a fascist you bought into sanger’s plan for eugenics. After all, you folks have a plan, that is working, to solve the ‘black’ problem.

      • Fouchi along with the CDC lied to Trump about what the “vaccine ” would do and its efficacy. Trump believed them because they were supposed to be the experts. Additionally he believed they were working in good faith.

      • Why were all the Dems against it when Trump was in, and then were all for it when Trump was out? Perhaps since Biden got in they saw it as a way to try to control people, and force their agenda on those they could. And didn’t Biden say he got the vaccine out real quick? Odd how you folks just believed him.

        • They were obviously “against” it (they weren’t really) in 2020 because they didn’t want to give people hope. They ran on too many people dying from Covid because Orange Man Bad. Then in 2021 they revealed their brilliant plan to save us of…moar masks and vax lol. Then more people died in 2021, so they switched to Florida Governor bad. Then more people died in NY, so they switched to unvaxxed bad. Who still listens to those liars? How many Miners could there be?

      • MINOR49er. Give it a REST! You Lefties have been trying to gain control over us since the days of FDR by changing the meaning of commonly used words to fit your Leftist agenda.
        No one wants to force any drugs on anyone. The “Warp Speed” Covid vax program saved many lives. No drug has ever been 100% safe. As usual you are warping the stats to fit your warped agenda.

  2. “The question is, who is the real enemy?”

    If you haven’t figured that out yet, there is no hope for you!

    • That’s a dangerous question, with a dangerous answer that many would consider … well, let’s just say find out who you can’t criticize and you’ll learn who rules over you.

      • johnnyboy…Just the other day your bigoted behind try to spin the violent filth of a shot dead white perp into Black…I hate to pee on you and your parade of bigotry but you are one lowlife piece of white trash who has no podium whatsoever.

  3. “We are unafraid to say plainly that US democracy is facing a unique historic threat.”

    yeah…and that threat is the idiots like this left wing liberal guardian author who want to turn our constitutional republic into a democracy where 51% of the people can decide the other 49% don’t have rights or can turn unalienable rights into privileges they control or do away with rights all together and continue to turn our country into their Marxist Soci -alist communism.

    even the UN has it in their plans, to do away with rights and replace them with ‘social responsibilities’ just like the communist counties do by calling it ‘responsibility to the state’…. the UN plan calls this ‘democracy’.

    • “…left wing liberal guardian author who want to turn our constitutional republic into a democracy where 51% of the people can decide the other 49% don’t have rights or can turn unalienable rights into privileges…”

      And the effective difference between “democracy” and a “republic”? In both conditions, the majority rules. Whenever/wherever there is a vote on a proposition, the minority of voters never wins. Thus, a political setup where voting is involved to settle matters, democratic methods are in use, thus a “democracy”. An adjective is required to describe complete mob rule: “pure democracy”; one person, one vote, nothing in between

    • …where 51% of the people can decide the other 49% don’t have rights or can turn unalienable rights into privileges they control or do away with rights all together…

      I’m impressed by your optimism that they would need or even bother with 51%.

      • “they would need or even bother with 51%“

        It seems Republican election officials are all too ready to ‘find’ votes to hit that 51% mark, they are even tampering with voting rights of our military serving overseas:

        “Jury finds former Milwaukee election official guilty in fake military absentee ballot case
        Alison Dirr March 20, 2024
        Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
        A former top Milwaukee election official was convicted at trial Wednesday in a case in which she was criminally charged for creating fake names to order three military absentee ballots ahead of the 2022 midterm elections and having them sent to a state legislator.

        The Milwaukee County jury took about five hours to deliver its verdict in the trial of former Milwaukee Election Commission deputy director Kimberly Zapata, 47, of Milwaukee.“

      • Republicans know how easy it is to hit that 51%, especially if you cheat:

        “Georgia GOP vice chairman, a vocal 2020 election denier, voted illegally 9 times
        By FOX 5 Atlanta Digital TeamPublished March 29, 2024 3:57pm EDT FOX 5 Atlanta
        ATLANTA – Brian Pritchard, first vice chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, was found to have violated the state’s election laws, a judge from the Office of State Administrative Hearings ruled this week.

        Administrative Law Judge Lisa Boggs wrote in her Wednesday decision that Pritchard violated state election laws by voting while on probation for forgery and other felonies, and that his explanations were neither “credible or convincing.”

        Here’s the best part, “a vocal 2020 election denier“ is actually committing voter fraud, how ironic.

        With Republicans, their accusation is their confession.

      • Worse than Waco. These were WW1 veterans promised stuff by their government. I had 2 uncles who went to France & got deathly ill from Spanish flu. My uncle Raymond died in 1939 from aftereffects. This from Herbert Hoover who was portrayed as a “hero” for saving European’s from starvation🙄

        • Yep, Republican President Herbert Hoover was just doing the bidding of his robber baron masters, on his way to impoverishing the middle class in the Great Depression.

        • minor49iq…Hoover was the kind of Republican hypocrite democRats like you adore until you think you see an opportunity to throw them under the bus in an attempt to purify yourselves…you know useful idiot stick in the mud rino Republicans like romney, mcCain, liz cheney, n. haley, etc.

        • minor49iq…RE: “to impoverishing the middle class in the Great Depression.”

          minor on the dark side of the coin is your beloved Gun Control murdering millions of defenseless people, take a bow democRat…

        • The above woman has more content of character “balls” than each and everyone of the so called defenders of the Second Amedment on this forum who have barked like mangy dogs at Defining Gun Control by its History for the spoon fed public. To each and everyone of you incompentent history doesn’t matter Gun talking blowbags try growing a pair…

    • It’s almost like there was something happening in 2020. If we could put our finger on it, and figure out who led us to that, we could never listen to those people again. If only we had some kind of technology where we could go back in time and listen to them for proof…Nah the sheep still wouldn’t notice, would they?

    • That’s great to see murder rates are down, it seems the last 3 1/2 years of Joe Biden have made an impact.

      When we consider the cities named, NYC, Philadelphia and San Francisco are all democratic administrations, it’s clear to see how under Joe Biden they have lowered the murder rate with effective and reasonable policies.

      • minor49iq…Do you just like making a complete fool out of yourself? Your time would be better spent scooping homeless people feces off sidewalks around the pelosi estate. Perhaps you should take your family shopping in NYC. And from nyc head to Chicago for the weekend fireworks…like joe you need help…mental help.

      • The rate did not go down ’cause Biden.

        But on the other hand, its great to see that gun sales increased during the same time ’cause Biden.

        In case you didn’t get the correlation, the crime rate went down for two reasons – one – the victim pool overall was no longer ‘confined’ to specific places due to invoked ‘quarantine’ so were not as readily available – two – more people were armed and able to defend them selves against the very criminals Biden emboldened and actually increased in numbers during his tyranny.

        Or in other words, the crime rate decrease continued at its pre-Biden and pre-pandemic rate as gun ownership went up.

      • and also murder rates are not actually down. The actual murder rates remain at higher levels than before the pandemic, and as before its mostly concentrated in blue cities.

        Its the arrest AND prosecution rate for murder has changed due to democrat insane ‘justice reform’ policies in blue cities.

        No arrest AND prosecution means it doesn’t appear in FBI crime rate stats, thus the false impression that murder rates fell under biden.

      • Biden had nothing to do with murder rates going down.
        It has to do with Democrats finally acknowledging their failed defund the police policies and refunding the police.
        What do people want? More police, safe communities. Things Democrats have fought against for years.

        • Recipe for Genocide…Take Gun Control and combine it with the gutless bigotry seen on this forum, place defenseless misfit victims in ovens and bake. Recipe results are 100 times worse than what can be portrayed in this video…

    • “https://www.wsj.com/us-news/murder-rates-down-new-york-san-francisco-philadelphia-508b6855”

      That’s entirely due to more gun control laws than ever before. If we double the number of gun control laws, we will eventually achieve zero murders, of any type. And with even more gun control laws, we can eliminate all disease…or at least cancer (which would bring about peace throughout the planet!)

      • Up the vaccine mandate laws and no one will get sick either. Gotta say minor is giving you a run for your money for sarcastic humor. On the serious side NY has largely stopped reporting on a lot of violent crime with a few counties being the exception and more and more of the police scanners are encrypted to make disproving the official numbers difficult for the citizens that care (and let me do my job honestly). With that said it apparently is even worse over at the department of health where my buddy works but haven’t been able to get him to elaborate how yet.

      • “That’s entirely due to more gun control laws than ever before“

        Not really, it’s probably more due to addressing the causes of poverty, such as the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years.

        • Yes because part time minimum wage jobs that go primarily to non-us citizens totally drive economic prosperity.

        • Wrong.
          If you knew how to read the jobs report, you would see the Household survey shows more Americas are working second or even third jobs to pay the bills.
          You would also see part time jobs have surged while full time jobs have declined since Biden took office.
          Of course you have not been paying attention inflation went up again.
          Learn to read past a headline.

        • “the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years.”

          Where were you bragging about this during pre-Covid era in 2020? It’s basically back to where it was then (3.5%). There’s one big difference. It’s called historic inflation. Then there’s the fact that all the Puppet Admin & Dems had to do was nothing, and the economy would have resumed. Instead, they paid people to stay home, prolonging the restart, and making the imminent inflation worse. Then, they went on a completely unnecessary spending bender while they lied to the American people about imminent inflation being fake news. They had to lie about it. If they told the truth, the American people wouldn’t be for them blowing through trillions that will do nothing but enrich the donor/ruling class, and make inflation worse for years to come. Notice how the Federal Reserve was an accomplice in this scam as well.

          It’s weird how you trip over yourself to simp for The Party who doesn’t care about you. Be honest for a change.

  4. That story was local for me. I drive that stretch of I-10 on a regular basis. Saw the story on WCTV before it went national.

  5. “Maybe that’s the real eclipse story that deserves coverage. Ms. Reed is right about one thing though, “the fate of our democracy” is on the line. The question is, who is the real enemy?”

    Interesting since America is not a Democracy.

    Who is the real enemy?

    The fool or the fool that follows them?

    • “Who’s the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?” –Old Man Ben (retired Jedi Knight)

  6. So, I will leave you with this from Brazilian native Renato Moicano – “I love the First Amendment,” Moicano told the fans in Las Vegas. “I want to carry and own f—ing guns. I love private property. And let me tell you something, if you care about your own f—ing country, Ludwig von Mises and the six lessons of the Austrian economic school, mother—–s.”

    Well said.

  7. “Woman shoots interstate drivers, says God told her to because of the eclipse“

    That’s certainly not the first time someone saw a ‘sign in the heavens’ and heard the voice of God ordering them to kill people.

    Just like what’s happening in the Middle East this very moment, the Abrahamic religions have been the cause of so much bloodshed and war.

    It really all started when Abraham himself ‘heard the voice of God’ in his head telling him to kill his own son, which he immediately begin to carry out
    Of course the story is Jehovah was just testing him to see if he was loyal. What a dick.

    Amazingly enough, it was just a couple thousand years later that God himself sacrificed his only son and to this very day, many Christians celebrate with the ritual cannibalism of eating his son’s flesh and drinking his son’s blood. Really creepy.

    • How many millions have your god, the Big State, killed?

      Your prophets of blood are folks like mao, stalin and hitler.

  8. This is all classic “Mouse Utopia” societal self-destructive behavior of certain elements of the population which has become terminally nihilistic.

  9. Fear has been used for centuries to control the masses. It is no different today than it was 3500 years ago. The Government scared everyone, almost everyone, into their homes for months. Until we caught on to the scam that was used to poison the victims of the “Jab” with.

    • The “othering” and HIPPA violations of the last few years were fun times. Glad I never opted into electronic records or named a primary care physician but even then it is wild how much data the government had access to that they shouldn’t have.

  10. ‘What the hell was that?’ I thought like someone discovering a used Band-Aid in their bowl of cereal.

    One of my family members purchased muffins baked at our local grocery store–and almost vomited when their third bite of muffin contained a used bandage. It doesn’t get much more gross than that.

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