A PACK, NOT A HERD: I reported last week on the two heroic teenagers who subdued an armed and dangerous classmate in Arroyo Grande, California. Sadly, I was about the only one outside the local media in Arroyo Grande who did. Here’s a local column on the subject:
It’s not often that students jump a gun-toting, teenage nut-ball who’s taken a classroom hostage at gunpoint, then wrestle him to the floor so their high school won’t become synonymous with Columbine and grape Kool-Aid.
Arroyo Grande High students Clay Gheza and Jonathan Griswold did. The kid who’d walked into their sophomore English class on Friday waving a 9 mm pistol with murder in mind was more interested in having a bloody good time than conjugating verbs. If Gheza and Griswold hadn’t grabbed him, we’d probably be attending a lot of funerals this week and I’d be so despairing that you wouldn’t be able to read this column because I wouldn’t be able to write it, and it’d be hard for you to read it anyway, blinking away all those tears.
Everybody in SLO County knows about it, and that’s the problem: Nobody else does. That’s what makes me more annoyed than usual. . . .
I flipped the channels incessantly, endlessly, annoyingly on Friday and Saturday and all this week, hoping to see Gheza and Griswold being interviewed by Connie Chung and Wolf Blitzer about their amazing act of selfless regard on that Friday morning, how they leapt and struggled the kid to the ground, holding the his arm down, the gun waving, struggling more, it might go off, the students screaming, the bullet, the bullet, it might go off, we could all be killed, hold him, hold him–
And the inevitable lame question from our irrepressible, ubiquitous, and oh-so-coifed national news models: “And how did you feel?” Headlines across the nation, “Student Heroics Avert Classroom Murder,” a phone call from the president, “Boys, your braveness and heroicking makes me proud–could sure use your help with that Baghdad bozo,” and the talking heads nodding and blabbing, “McLaughlin,” “McNeil,” “The Capitol Gang,” all bursting with amazed approval, astonishment, and praise, “Gosh, Jim, can you believe it? Amazing, simply amazing, why if they’d been on board those planes, there’d have been no Twin Towers disaster–we’ll be right back with an exclusive interview right after the break … ”
Nope. Nothing. Zippola-nada-noodle. If there was a mention, I missed it, and so did everyone I know who has a TV remote and a national newspaper subscription and the sense to know that this is the stuff journalists stumble out of bed each morning nursing their hangovers over, hoping to find that big old dog with that big old bite for that big old Pulitzer, maybe today, maybe, maybe–Arroyo Grande? Where’s that? How many kids got killed? None? Bummer. Hey, I know! We could go make some ice cubes on the sidewalk!”
“I just thought, ‘I’m going to take him down,’” Jonathan Griswold told the Tribune. “We didn’t want him to hurt anyone,” said Clay Gheza, with humble modesty that makes me feel like a jerk. I could learn from him.
So could Dan Rather, as soon as he pulls his head out of his butt.
I don’t actually believe that there’s a conspiracy among Big Media to constantly present an image of the American public as a bunch of bumbling, helpless boobs in need of constant supervision by the Nanny State, while suppressing all evidence to the contrary. But, you have to admit, its easy to see why some people do think that.
UPDATE: As far as I can tell, the story only got covered in the item I link above, and in these “”news brief” treatments in the Mercury News and the Fresno Bee, where it sat next to stories about community fund-raising dances and too-tall Santa statues. Pretty damned lame.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Scott Boone reports that it got some coverage:
I DID see a national news story on these guys…I think it was on 20/20 the other night (Thursday). I say “I think” because it could have been Dateline, etc (sorry, I was flipping channels, being a “pirate” and not watching the commercials–please don’t rat on me ;)
Anyhow, the one thing about the interview that really caught me was the fact that the interviewer never really tied this act with the acts on Flight 93…that they really are in the same vein. And more importantly, nothing was even HINTED at that it is THIS kind of vigilance and courage that we, as a country, need to promote in order to vanquish our savage enemies and their idiotarian allies. They wryly made more hay out of the fact that the “jocks” did nothing, and that the “rocker” and the “surfer” saved the day…geez, nice time to solidify the foundations of class warfare.
Just wanted to pass along that it was at least news-magazined, if underreported.
Well, sorry, you’re busted on the commercial-skipping thing, you “thief.” Funny that a local writer didn’t know about this (and neither did the Arroyo Grande local who sent me the link), but not actually shocking. Did anyone else see any coverage?
ANOTHER UPDATE: Tom Maguire has found some other coverage, though far less than the story deserves.
He thinks the story should be all over talk radio. I agree.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Well, here’s a transcript of a CNN story. Maybe nobody in Arroyo Grande actually watches TV?
And reader Fred Butzen emails:
Many thanks for the posting on Gheza and Griswold. Having a couple of teenagers myself, one of whom has just signed up with the Marines, I appreciate hearing stories like this. There’s a lot of troubled kids out there, but there’s also a lot of kids whose heads are screwed on straight as well.
Their action, though, simply underscores what a woman friend said to me after 9/11:
“It takes balls to live free.”
I can’t think of a better summary of why we fight the Islamofascists – and why we’ll win.
And why the French aren’t interested. . . .