Thursday, September 14, 2006

3 Seconds of Fame

I don't know if you caught it or not, but I happened to be on the news tonight, on Fox 13 (Just You Watch the Best!). It was a story related to the college shootings in Montreal today, which were obviously tragic. It just happened to take place in the same week that the Utah State Supreme Court struck down the U's ban on firearms on campus which currently applies also to concealed weapons permit holders. There are still some federal issues being tried in federal court and the U's president, Michael Young, hopes to maintain a gun-free campus.

In response to reading this story, I wrote a letter to the Chrony (the school paper in question) stating that it really didn't matter how this whole thing turns out since even now, with the ban in effect, nothing is being done to ensure that people are abiding by the ban. There are no bag checks or metal detectors. Essentially, the only effect of the ban is to limit law-abiding concealed weapons permit holders from bringing their guns on campus. Anyone who wants to come and shoot people, like the shooter in Montreal for example, can just walk right in and do so. This isn't to say that I support metal detectors on campus. That probably would actually scare students more than would otherwise be. I'm just saying that we seem to be putting a lot of time (over 2 years now) and money (how much did tuition rise this year?) into fighting over something that is purely cosmetic in nature. You can read the letter here. Sadly, neither I nor the paper's editor was able to correct the fact that I wrote medical detector instead of metal detector. Too much medical informatics on the brain, I guess.

Apparently a reporter at our local Fox affiliate, KSTU-13, was on campus today and happened to talk to a University employee who felt it would be inappropriate to state their opinion on the situation, but referred the reporter to my letter in the school paper, saying that he agreed with what I had written. This prompted the reporter to call me and ask if he could meet with me and interview me for the story.

I was more than a little surprised and at first tried to get out of it, informing him that I was not on campus today and would be all over this afternoon. He said, "that's okay, we can come wherever you are", so finally I agreed to let them come to my apartment. I was actually pretty nervous at the prospect of being on television, so I changed into a nicer shirt and made sure I didn't have anything stuck in my teeth.

Half an hour later they arrived and for about 5 minutes they filmed me while I answered about 10 different questions related to my stance and to my thoughts on the situation at the U. I felt like I did a fairly good job of representing myself well and not saying anything that I didn't really believe. Based on some tips from a friend gave me, I made sure to keep my arms at my sides and not wave them around.

Afterwards I sent out an email to most everyone I knew and let them know to watch for me during the 9:00 news tonight. Then I headed to the church for a full night of interviews (I'm the executive secretary). I arrived home around 9:40 and found out that the story still hadn't aired (sorry to everyone who sat through 45 minutes of local news programming), but probably would shortly. Finally the story came on, and sure enough a few minutes in, I appeared and gave my 3 second soundbite. They also mentioned my letter briefly, while showing a screenshot of the online version of the newspaper, that for some reason was focused between the headline and the first line of my letter. Not sure what they were going for there, but oh well.

Anyway, a few people recorded it for me, and there's a chance I could get it burned to DVD. If that happens I'll try to post the video here for anyone who missed it and would love to see me in action. Don't blink you might miss it.


Chip Chief said...

i saw it jake. you are a gentleman and a scholar. thank goodness for Tivo.

CJ said...

Way to go, bro. I read the letter and look forward to the full-fledged video of the latest news star. See where all your letters to the editor are getting you? Man, now I can tell people we used to get smoothies together and I once rode in your amazing car once.

j said...

You rode in my amazing car way more than once. And as for the smoothies, I wish there was a way to make that sound more manly, but hey it was just Jamba Juice.

And of course, really someday I'll be saying those things about you, since you will be the rich and powerful one.