The War On Journalists, At Home And Abroad

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Photo illustration by R.V. Scheide.

Last Thursday at about 8 a.m., I called the Shasta County Coroner’s office, seeking to fill in some of the blanks on “A Short History Of Fatal Encounters With Shasta County Law Enforcement,” my story published by A News Cafe last Tuesday.

The story was based on data collected by the Fatal Encounters website, a nonprofit organization headed by my friend and colleague D. Brian Burghart that is attempting to catalog every person killed during interactions with police officers in the United States since 2000.

As I explained in the story, there is no public database that tracks such deaths. So Fatal Encounters collects information from what few public resources exist as well as media reports on the following data points: name, city, county, state, race, age, gender, year of death, date of injury resulting in death, if mental illness was present, victims’ disposition, cause, submitter, circumstances, and the police agencies responsible.

As Burghart explains on the website, which I provided a link to in my story, Fatal Encounters is “not a finished product. We’re just the first step toward creating an impartial, comprehensive and searchable national database of people killed during interactions with law enforcement.”

One data point that has proven persistently hard for Fatal Encounters to fill is the race of the deceased person. Many newspapers choose not to report race, and in those cases, race is marked “unspecified.” The race of six of the 35 people killed by police officers in Shasta County listed in my story were marked “unspecified,” including the most recent, Donnell Lang.

Thus my call to to the Shasta County Coroner’s office last Thursday morning. I left a message saying I was seeking information on Lang’s race and was somewhat surprised when the call was almost immediately returned.

The woman on the line didn’t identify herself and told me she’d have to get permission from the higher-ups before releasing any information. I told her I was also seeking information on some of the other 35 fatal encounters I documented in my recent story on A News Cafe and spelled out our website’s address for her. She promised to get back to me.

She didn’t. But approximately three hours later, A News Cafe publisher Doni Chamberlain received a private email from one Ashleigh Roller claiming my story was filled with numerous errors:

Hello Doni,

I would like to offer some advice for your reporters. After reading R.V. Scheide’s article “A Short History of Fatal Encounters with Shasta County Law Enforcement”, I noticed many inaccuracies that can be fact checked fairly easily.

All of the information Mr. Scheide reports on is listed on a Death Certificate, which is a public record document. All anyone has to do is request a copy of it from the Shasta County Recorder’s Office or the Vital Records Office. There is a fee for requesting this document, but, to me, no price would be too high to report accurate information. Another option is to request a copy of the Coroner’s Report from the Coroner’s Office, which is also a public record document, however, it only becomes public record once the case is closed and that can take some time.

Thank you for your time,

Ashleigh”

Chamberlain, who does not know Ashleigh Roller, forwarded me the email. I replied to Ashleigh Thursday afternoon.

Ashleigh,

Doni forwarded me your email. I’m interested in what numerous errors you are referring to? I checked all 35 deaths against the record in the local press, I am in fact in contact with the coroner’s office to fill in the blanks, such as cases where race is unidentified. My report is based on the work of other journalists, so if I got numerous things wrong, so did they. Please enlighten us as to who you are and what errors you are talking about.

R.V. Scheide”

Roller responded 90 minutes later:

The point of my initial email was to offer advice to check facts. If you are basing your work on the work performed by other writers, you should still check the facts before signing you name to the story. The inaccuracies I was referring to relate to the cause, manner, and circumstances surrounding some of the different cases you mentioned, all of which can be checked by requesting a copy of the Death Certificate or Coroner’s Report. Race can also be found in those documents.”

“Name one,” I shot back, referring to the alleged errors. Then it hit me. She hadn’t answered my first question—who are you?–and she sure seemed to know a lot about the Coroner’s Office. Who is this Ashleigh Roller?

So I searched the name on Facebook, and discovered, surprise, surprise, that Ashleigh Roller is an administrative secretary for the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office. According to the Sheriff’s website, she works for … a drum roll please … the Coroner’s Office.

In other words, a public employee of the Shasta County Coroner’s Office, rather than reply to a journalist’s legitimate request for information, instead contacted my boss in an effort to discredit my work, Fatal Encounters’ work and the work of any reporter who’s ever written a news story about someone dying at the hands of local law enforcement during the past 20 years.

I’ll admit I was a bit livid when I sent the following reply to Roller.

Ah, I see, you work for the Sheriff’s Office. Funny how I just called the coroner today and all of a sudden you pop up out of nowhere. I’ll be publishing your name and title in my next story. Think about that next time you go behind someone’s back and try to torpedo them.

Sincerely,

R.V. Scheide”

I spent three days researching and writing last week’s story, most of which was spent confirming that each of the 35 fatal encounters with Shasta County law enforcement had indeed occurred since 2000. I found all 35 cases in the Record Searchlight’s online archive maintained by the Shasta County Library. I did not find any cases that weren’t on the Fatal Encounters database.

Infrequently, I found a discrepancy between the database and the news report. If possible, I tried to add this information in the “summary description” of each incident. In at least one case, the “cause of death” changed, and I indicated that.

As Roller correctly noted in her email reply to me, the coroner’s report often comes out long after public interest in the case has subsided, and sometimes the “cause of death” changes. Unless the case attracted significant publicity, newspapers don’t do follow-up stories.

But this doesn’t change the fact that the person died after a fatal encounter with police. The suggestion that before publishing, I should have paid whatever the fee is for a coroner report multiplied by 35 reports is laughable.

At any rate, I’m fully willing to concede with Roller that some of the data points on Fatal Encounters are in need of updating, since I’m apparently the person who gave her the idea. Obviously, the six decedents in my story whose race remains “unidentified” were of one race or another, and that will be listed on the death certificate or the coroner’s report.

Who knows what else is listed in those 35 coroner reports? That’s why I called the Coroner’s Office in the first place—to find out what access there was to these reports. Instead, a public employee who didn’t identify herself as such attempted to get me in hot water.

Never one to waste an opportunity, I decided to give Roller a chance to redeem herself and emailed her one more time.

You know A News Cafe is a shoe-string operation. It’s funny that you think we have the money to just buy 35 coroner’s reports. I have a better idea. How about you give them to us for free and I’ll correct the record, since that’s what you seem so concerned about. After all, I contacted the coroner first, before you contacted my boss.”

Needless to say, Roller has gone mute since I discovered her actual identity. The Coroner’s Office has not called me back. I’m willing to wager that the last thing Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko wants is a journalist pouring over the coroner reports of all the people who’ve been killed by law enforcement in Shasta County since 2000.

This isn’t a story Ashleigh Roller wants her name on. That’s why she didn’t use her work email address to contact my boss. But there was one thing she didn’t count on.

This journalist would fight back.

Meanwhile, Overseas

I belong to a decaying and increasingly unpopular institution, journalism. According to the most recent Gallup Poll on confidence in public institutions, only 23 percent of those surveyed nationally said they had a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in newspapers, just 20 percent expressed the same about TV News, and a mere 16 percent had confidence in Internet News—which is where the vast majority of people get their news these days.

Only Congress, at 11 percent, has a lower rating. Journalism is running neck-and-neck with the Criminal Justice system with its 22 percent confidence rating.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Gallup Poll found that nearly three-quarters, 74 percent, of those surveyed have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the military, and more than half, 54 percent, felt the same about law enforcement.

Above, I wrote about the lengths one Shasta County Sheriff’s Office employee went to discredit last week’s story on fatal encounters with local law enforcement.

At the same time this was unfolding, WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange was hauled out of the Ecuadoran embassy in London, where has sought asylum for the past seven years, based on his fears that the United States government was seeking to indict and extradite him for publishing documents leaked by Chelsea Manning in 2010.

Moments after Assange exited the embassy in the supine position, the United States indicted him for him for publishing documents leaked by Chelsea Manning in 2010.

It’s more than ironic that President Donald Trump, who benefited bigly from WikiLeak’s summer of 2016 document dump that exposed the Democratic Party’s efforts to thwart Bernie Sanders’ campaign, suddenly doesn’t know what WikiLeaks is.

It’s worth noting that the most controversial information leaked by Manning and published by WikiLeaks, and subsequently, “The New York Times”, “The Washington Post”, “The Guardian” and countless other media outlets, concerned a U.S. Army helicopter crew killing a dozen civilians in Iraq in 2007, including two Reuters journalists.

The only two people who’ve done time for that war crime are Chelsea Manning, who’s being held in prison for refusing to testify, and Julian Assange, whose fate is uncertain.

But go ahead, tell me why Julian Assange is a criminal, not a journalist.

It’s guaranteed to get the conversation going.

R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas. He can be emailed at RVScheide@anewscafe.com.
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72 Responses

  1. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    RV, whenever you write about something, Fatal Encounters, Bethel, Rescue Mission, or any of your legislators you seem to get letters or emails from those subjects decrying your stories. You must be doing something right, keep doing it.

  2. Avatar Timothy Araiza says:

    R.V. you must be really proud of yourself for outing this young lady who was only encouraging you to seek the facts.
    You added nothing to your story other than the possibility of someone loosing their job.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      With all due respect, your statement contradicts itself. If the young lady (I don’t know her age, perhaps you do) was doing nothing wrong, why would she lose her job?

      Proud? Not really. Sickened is more like it.

  3. Avatar CODY says:

    Ironic that she lambasted you (and this publication) for printing inaccuracies, then suggests you can find the info on death certs. If those are $20 each, you would have to spend $700 to find out information that she could easily have just given you for free. Their office would benefit from that purchase. I thought that they served the public? I guess now we see how she rolls…

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Right? First she criticizes, then a sales pitch! It would have been way easier just to return my call.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      Have you tried using the public computer in the lobby of the assessor-recorder’s office? Pretty sure you can use it to view vital records for free (last time I was there they even provided pencils & scratch paper to take notes).

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        Yes, I’ve done that before, for as many as several records. Never for 35. I usually purchase the documents at whatever the price per page is.

  4. Avatar CHRISTIAN GARDINIER says:

    Honestly, my question is why are there so many “fatal errors?” It just seems that there are ways to apprehend people that don’t involve killing them, no? I know it’s kind of the wild west up here but cop, judge and executioner? As far a s Assange goes, well, I understand he was kind of kicked out of the Ecuadoran embassy…. New rule, don’t trash the people that are “hosting” your visit…? I think Assange has done some good (so does trump and his buddy putin…) but also not so good… Don’t do the crime if you can’t face the crime? Maybe Assange can tell us why he isn’t a criminal…. when he get lawyered up? I’m sure he’s going to get a few of the best…

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      One purpose of listing all 35 fatal encounters was to draw attention to just how many people have been killed and perhaps prod law enforcement to change its tactics.

      Julian Assange is guilty of one crime: committing journalism. The phony rape charges from Sweden have been dropped at least three times. Assange has always been lawyered up, and as early as 2010, his attorneys were aware that a secret grand jury in Alexandria VA was working to indict him on espionage charges and whisk him away to a Super Max prison where he’ll never be seen again. That is precisely why he sought asylum in the Ecuadoran embassy.

      Yet liberal progressives such as yourself, still wincing over Trump’s election, blame Assange and WiliLeaks dumping of DNC data unfavorable to Hillary Clinton for the loss, along with Putin and Russia. You all backed the Russian collusion fantasy to the hilt, not understanding that if it turned out false, you’d never be able to get the egg off your face before the next election.

      Which is where we are today. Liberals advocating for the jailing of a journalist. When you don’t like the message, shoot the messenger.

      • Tom O'Mara Tom O'Mara says:

        Tthere seems to be strong interest in the ANC community on police use of force, I therefore would invite and suggest interested persons to contact Sgt. Mark Montgomery at RPD and request a space in an upcoming Force Options training. His contact info is 530.776.0331, and mmontgomery@reddingpolice.org

        About 300 local citizens and leaders have taken part in this four-hour training to date. Annelise Pierce (https://anewscafe.com/2019/04/15/redding/rpds-use-of-lethal-force-justified/)
        does an excellent job above in summarizing some of the key points of the training in her article. It is required of all officers, and efforts have been made to make this available statewide through the POST Commission, and nationally through DOJ.

        I think it is to everyone’s advantage for the public to ask for the kind of policing it wants, and also to understand what it is we are asking officers to do on a daily basis. The Force Options training can be very helpful on both points.

        Tom O’Mara
        Volunteer Civil Rights Advocate, RPD

  5. E X C E L L E N T reporting!!

    If only… we could perform a forensic audit from the Balma and Eaton era.
    Perhaps some familiar patterns would emerge.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      The patterns are there. I’m particularly interested in looking at the case of the two Mexican nationals shot near Manton during a multiagency drug task force raid on a cartel grow. Supposedly one of them raised a gun barrel while running away. Wonder where the entry wounds are, in the front or the back?

  6. Avatar Robert Scheide Sr. says:

    When you see a real journalist at work you will often see them attacked by the people he was writing about, usually because they didn’t want the people to know what they are up too.

    It is so rare today especially on TV to hear anything resembling the truth. A current example is the reporting on Venezuela which has not even near the truth. Times like these call for a great journalist to step forward. When you see a name like Greg Palast, Chris Hedges, and TYT tell a different story completely you don’t have to guess who to believe.

    Yeah, and before you say I am blowing my son’s horn, you’re right. I will guarantee you one thing if RV writes it’s it is true .

    On ASSANGE. What we have done to Manning and will now try to do to ASSANGE. Did we need to know what Manning showed us, Oh hell yes. When horrors are done in our name we have a need to know. What was the government afraid for us to see? The gunning down of innocent people by our helicopter. For this Manning did jail time and it once again is in jail for refusal to testify against Assange. Assange has been a captive in the Ecuador embassy for 7 years and now is under arrest in England. The US wants Assange so they can lock him away and do God knows what to him.

    Good journalists today are rare. We are lucky to have RV.

    • Mr. Scheide, I agree. ANC is lucky to have R.V.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Thanks Dad. What some people didn’t get about the Fatal Encounters story was that it was partly a data-based journalism story. That’s why I called the coroner, to update as much data as possible. Any journalist in any U.S. County can now access this data. Certain patterns emerge, such as the killing of mentally ill people whose friends or family called the police in the first place. Police in Red Bluff just killed another one two days ago.

  7. Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

    In my experience the Shasta County Coroner’s Office – and Shasta County in general – has some very creative ways of concealing information from the public. Several years ago I attempted to find out how many homeless people died on local streets during the previous year, in connection to a shelter project I was involved with. To say that the County was uncooperative would be a raging understatement. That could be explainable – but not excusable – by the fact that a chain of local medical clinics had researched and publicized the number of homeless deaths a couple of years earlier (as I recall that figure was quite high per-capita), which inspired some amount of outrage from the community, and calls on local officials to do something to avert even more deaths that were often entirely preventable.

    A Coroner’s Office employee informed me that this information was no longer available, since the County had begun making use of an obscure state code (having nothing at all to do with the homeless) which County officials claimed allowed them to “assign” homeless people an address – thereby effectively hiding the fact that the person was homeless at the time of their death. I asked what address a homeless person might be assigned, and was told that it could be a previous address (where one might reasonably assume someone else now lives, which seemed very much like falsifying public records to me), the nearest public address to where the person died, or the Rescue Mission – apparently whether or not the person was actually staying there.

    Using a low-profile County employee to criticize R.V.’s efforts to bring attention to a subject that local officials would likely prefer got as little attention as possible was unprofessional, deceptive, and just plain tacky.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      On at least three stories, I’ve put in multiple calls to the Sheriff’s Office and not had my calls returned. I haven’t mentioned it in the past because I was hoping it was just a fluke and the situation would turn around. Obviously it hasn’t.

  8. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Information coming from Ashleigh Roller reminds me of another of R.V.’s columns, one on Bethel about LGBT. The woman who responded to R.V.’s column had been “cured” of being a lesbian and was now straight. It appeared that the Bethel leadership hid behind the skirts of that member rather than write a rebuttal themselves.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      That’s interesting, because one of my Bethel sources reports that at least one-half of their pray away the gay team, aka Equipped To Love, was never gay in the first place.

  9. Avatar Candace C says:

    R.V. I’m a progressive but I was not a fan of the “all things Russia” bandwagon nor am I a fan of jailing Assange. Just sayin’. Oh, and I’m glad you’re here on ANC as well.

  10. Avatar Barbara Dill says:

    There is a political war going on between the Republicans and the Democrats or actually the Democrats and the President. Pelosi said they use what is called a smear campaign . They start a nasty rumor that is untrue and leak it to the press as if it’s true. The press does their dirty work by reporting it to the people and then the ones that started it act like they didn’t know anything about it. She admitted this to the press I watched it. I do realize a lot of stuff posted on Face Book or Twitter is false. But when you watch those words come out of her mouth, that’s not made up. So we have this battle going on in our Government and there are very biased journalist reporting more of an opinion than fact. It is nice to hear the truth!
    You mentioned Iraq and it touched my heart. Though the story you mentioned is not even close to my experience, but it is controversial. But I’ll save that for another time……..

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Pelosi is a total tool, she is not the one who will defeat Trumpian white nationalism.

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        The trouble with the Democrats defeating Trump is they paint all Trump supporters as white racists rednecks. Clinton called them deplorables and lost the election. The Democrats have to come up with a different message or after the 2020 election they will cry “What Happened” again. And actually I think Pelosi is the only one who realizes this.

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          I’m counting on the Trump voters who like me have realized Trump’s racism is real, not an act.

    • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

      Barbara,

      You might want to read the Snopes Fact Check below. The video you watched was edited to make it appear to be an admission by Pelosi, when she was actually crediting Republicans and the right-wing media with that tactic. In fact, this is an example (one of many) that perfectly supports her contention.

      https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/nancy-pelosi-wrap-up-smear/

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        Pelosi is still a tool.

        • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

          Yes she is, but we still shouldn’t credit her with things she never said. I just wanted to set the record straight re: Barbara’s comment above.

          • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

            That’s cool. The real video going around about Pelosi is her stabbing AOC in the back every chance she gets.

            Centrism is over.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Yes she is a tool…but she is a smart politician. Bruce is correct, Pelosi knows that AOC and her far left positions won’t win in 2020. Pretty much all of the candidates that have declared are rushing to the far left. AOC , Omar and Tlaib are an embarrassment to the Democrat party. I watch a fair amount of congressional hearings on Cspan and am appalled at the line of questioning coming from these three. The Democrat party is a mess right now. Trump hating will not win in 2020. The best person for the Dems right now is Mayor Pete. Although I disagree with most of his policies, he is a smart likable man that actually talks issues. A very impressive young man. Bernie or Biden is handing the election to Trump.

          • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

            Which party is in more in a mess now Doug Cook?

            This was the back-up reason I voted for Trump.

            That he would destroy both parties. Mission accomplished.

            Bernie/Mayor Pete 2020

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        You don’t really believe that the Democrats don’t engage in this tactic? Do you?

        • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

          The “lines of questioning” I believe you’re referring to are simply legitimate attempts by Democrats to determine how much damage the admitted God-in-government religious dominionists Trump is handing every federal agency and court appointment to will cause.. The Republican Party has been taken over by religious extremists to a far greater extent than the Democratic Party has been taken over by far-leftists.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            If America ia to be taken over by religious extremists I would rather have Christian religions that run the food banks for the homeless and immigrants and elderly here in Phoenix. I do not want the Islamic religion of Omar and her hate for Israel and calling President Obama a pretty face murderer.
            In RV’s article on the white nationalist terrorist groups pointed out by the Southern Poverty Law Center is another terror group pointed out, the Nation of Islam. Check SPLC’s terror map available on their website.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            Bruce,

            Your idea of who the “Christians” are who are relentlessly taking over our federal government at the highest levels is uninformed, to say the least. The article linked below begins with a video in which Lance Wallnau (who incidently has co-authored books with Bethel Church leader Bill Johnson on world religious domination) explains how they plan to “sneak” into positions of power, with the objective of implementing brutal Old Testament law.

            https://thechurchoftruth.org/plan-for-christian-domination/

            In addition, more than a few of the “Christian” groups backing these people are also listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. One example is the so-called “Alliance Defending Freedom”. The statement below is from the SPLC website:

            “Founded by some 30 leaders of the Christian Right, the Alliance Defending Freedom is a legal advocacy and training group that has supported the recriminalization of homosexuality in the U.S. and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has falsely linked homosexuality to high rates of pedophilia, and claims that a “homosexual agenda” will destroy Christianity and society. ADF also works to develop “religious liberty” legislation and case law that will allow the denial of goods and services to LGBT people on the basis of religion. Since the election of President Donald Trump, the ADF has become one of the most influential groups informing the administration’s attack on LGBT rights”.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Patricia, your relentless condemnation of Christian groups misses the actual facts. Churches, nobody else, are stepping up to care for the homeless, immigrants, elderly, the poor. And that includes churches on the left that furnish sanctuary for many.
            St Mary’s Food Bank serves all of Arizona feeding the homeless, immigrants, elderly, poor, people you say you care about. St Mary’s warehouse is in Sun City where all the people you hate live. White religious Trump MAGA backers. It is there because all those people you hate are very giving with food, money and their time as the warehouse runs on white MAGA Trump volunteers. From that Sun City warehouse semi trucks go to all parts of Arizona to feed the homeless, immigrants, elderly and the poor.
            You want to pursue your seven mole hill conspiracy that is your right, more power to you. But don’t condemn me because I don’t believe your facts.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            Bruce,

            There is a wealth of information available about 7 Mountains Dominionism besides my link above, which features a dominionist leader (who has now been invited to join Trump’s inner circle of religious “advisors”) describing this movement’s goals in his own words. Representatives of religious dominionism are being appointed to head federal agencies and to federal courts by the current administration in vast numbers, so it’s obviously far more than the “molehill” you claim.

            And you apparently don’t know anything about Trump’s attitude and that of his followers toward the poor and down-trodden if you imagine they are at the forefront of helping those groups. I’m familiar with the St. Mary’s Food Bank Network in Arizona (whose parners are not all religious – in fact, far from it). I see no indication that Trump supporters make up any notable percentage – or any percentage at all – of the many groups and organizations associated with St. Mary’s.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Patricia you say you know St Mary’s food bank and then state something that shows you know nothing about them. I can’t argue with your lack of facts.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            I admit that most of what I know about St. Mary’s Food Bank Network is taken directly from its website. Do you think St. Mary’s is posting inaccurate information about itself?

          • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

            There’s not a dime’s bit of difference between fundamentalist Muslims who support Sharia law and rightwing evangelicals who are sometimes referred to as the American Taliban. Maybe Bruce would find rule under Christian zealots preferable, but in the long run, the results are the same: women reduced to chattel, gays stoned to death, etc.

            The attacks on Omar for “hating Israel” are religious bigotry in action. This happens anytime anyone attempts to criticize Israel’s behavior, and American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC, rewards this religious bigotry with the benjamins, as Omar correctly noted.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Patricia, I volunteer at St Mary’s Food Bank and see none of the charges you somehow read off their web page. I suggest that if you are going to research something you stick to what you physically can prove. That is what real journalist do.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            Bruce,

            And can you prove that St. Mary’s Food Bank Network is loaded with poor people-hating Trump supporters? That Arizona is a Red state, or that it has a warehouse in a particular city proves nothing. However, Catholic organizations do more than most along those lines, which I believe they see as a way to supposedly offset the harm the Catholic Church causes with its anti-birth control, anti-abortion teachings.

            It’s also not true that religious people are the only ones who do anything for the poor and down-trodden. Where I now live there are a number of Atheist and Humanist groups that are helping those very people on a regular basis. And of course those Atheists and Humanists are also the ones on the front lines when it comes to defending marginalized groups from attacks on their civil and human rights – and on their very survival – by Trump and the people who voted for him.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Patricia I name names and personal involvement while you “research” questionable sources. You claim there are many atheists who help the poor yet cannot name one other than to offer “several groups”
            And the latest survey from The Hill shows President Trump at 46% approval. While his personal life gets low marks he gets high marks for the handling of the economy and foreign relations.

  11. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    R.V., some of the misinformation shared by some of the responders to your article demonstrate how important solid journalistic practices are today. There is a lot of nonsense in print and on the internet. It is curious that your recent contact with the Coroner’s office inspired a employee there to contact your boss in, what to me, was a very patronizing e-mail. I’m sure Ashleigh is proud to have “outed” a journalist because he could not summit Mt. Obfuscation to check a couple of details for his research. I’m told the “Freedom of Information” act works in Shasta County to get through the stalling and misdirection that Patricia Barrett wrote about. Thanks R.V.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      There is indeed a lot of nonsense promulgated by the mainstream media, in newspapers, cable TV and on the internet. For example, the MSM, with prodding from American intelligence services, as waged a near decade long campaign to demonize Julian Assange and WikiLeaks–even though most of those outlets used the data uncovered by WikiLeaks. The MSM’s idiotic pursuit of the Russian collusion fantasy has given all journalists a black eye. I think that’s one of the primary reasons Ms. Roller felt safe going behind my back. Journalists just don’t get any respect. That’s always been the case, but today it seems more pronounced than ever.

  12. Avatar Candace C says:

    I think AOC is great. I’m not embarrassed by her one bit. I also have no problem if someone dares to criticize Israel or Netanyahu or suggest that perhaps Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is less than humane. I’d rather no extreme fundamentalists, Christian or otherwise “take us over”. The current president and GOP party of Trump are a heck of a lot scarier to me than several smart, progressive, freshman congresswomen hoping for a fairer, smarter, just, healthier world and are learning by trial and error how to navigate their new positions. And yes, I know there are those here that vehemently disagree with me and that’s ok. Sidebar: So far I’m very impressed with Pete B.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      I read the other day that FOX News and mentioned AOC something like 4000 times since her election. Someone’s scared!

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        A lot of what AOC says is what is wrong with America. It shakes up the establishment, Republican and Democrat, which is needed. FOX isn’t scared of her, she brings viewers. Business Insiders said that one of the groups that have benefited from Trump’s presidency are newspapers because he sells papers.

  13. Avatar Candace C says:

    R.V. I just realized how far away from your original story I went! Not sure how I got there without re-reading the comment thread. I suspect I’m guilty of falling down the political rabbit hole. Regarding your story, Joanne mentioned the Freedom of Information Act and I’m wondering about that as well (?).

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      Candace you didn’t stray any farther than anyone else as the comment section always seems to develop a life of it’s own. I like AOC, not sure I like her message but she is challenging the Democratic party like the late John McCain challenged the Republican party. The Maverick is gone and I wonder who will take his place. I do not trust Omar and maybe it was because I drove thru her district and felt unsafe.

      • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

        Bruce,

        What an odd comment. I suppose you would feel very “unsafe” in the neighborhood where I now live (in a city 60 miles from the Mexican border). There is a predominance of darker-skinned people here. However, I’ve never lived in a quieter neighborhood, or in one with nicer people.

        By the way, below is some factual information about Omar’s district. It seems there are far fewer Somali’s in her district than right-wing websites and commenters maintain:

        https://www.factcheck.org/2019/02/meme-misleads-on-minnesotas-somali-refugees/

        • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

          Odd comment? An area where half a dozen American born young men joined the Taliban and where at least one mosque was being investigated over terror group recruitment. Where the Somali taxi drivers refused to take passengers from the airport if they had alcohol containers. You should read main stream media instead of conspiracy hacks. When ICE took several Mexican illegals from Swift Meat in neighboring Nebraska the workers were replaced by Somali Muslims who immediately caused such an uproar over their religious rights that a brawl ended up between Christians and Muslims in the plant’s cafeteria. All the Muslims were fired because of their actions and even the Omaha Muslim group wouldn’t back them. For someone who claims they do a lot of research you seem to lack facts. Stick to Bethel bashing, I do not know enough to debate you over them.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Candace, the Freedom of Information Act covers federal public agencies. If the agency attempts to withhold documents that are public information, the reporter files a FIA request. In the state of California, the Public Records Act does the same for all public agencies within the state. No one has withheld information from me on this story, I didn’t get that far, because the public employee responsible for calling me back instead tried to discredit my work to my boss.

  14. Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

    Bruce,

    The one thing I can agree with in your post above is that you don’t know enough about Bethel to debate me about them. I don’t have time to look into all your other claims at the moment. However, I doubt that Factcheck.org is a “conspiracy hack”.

    Also, how does refusing to transport people carrying containers of alcohol (something they do) compare to refusing to serve gay people? (something they are).

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      Patricia many Muslim countries execute gay people. As for checking facts about safety in Omar’s district it is front page news in all media this week. A deranged man went into the Mall of America with the intent to kill someone and threw a five year old of the upper balcony. The man also was colored. I suggest you drive through the Twin Cities and see how safe they are.

      • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

        Bruce,

        You might try actually researching 7 Mountains Dominionism (you could start with my link above). These people absolutely believe (and some dominionist leaders have even admitted publicly) that their objective is a government and society based on brutal Old Testament law, which they state will include the execution of gay people, disobedient children, “promiscuous” women, etc. etc. As R.V. pointed out above, there is very little – if any – difference between the “Christian” extremists the Trump administration is handing our country to and their Islamic counterparts.

        And it’s unfortunate that there is violent crime everywhere – particularly in the big cities, and sometimes focused on national attractions (like the Mall of America). However, I’ve seen no indication in news accounts that the deranged man responsible for throwing the child off the balcony was a foreigner, a Muslim, or in any way associated with a foreign organization (and how interesting that you felt the need to point out that he is “colored”).

  15. Avatar CODY says:

    It sure did not take long for this comment thread to get totally ruined.
    What happened to the high number of deaths by cop? And Julian Assange…

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Yeah, the comment thread’s been hijacked. I would have preferred to discuss Assange, the state of the press today, police use of deadly force etc. I’m kinda Betheled out for the time being.

  16. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    And I am leaving this, what did Steve call it, vortex of useless ness.

  17. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    Cody, above, is right. Stick to the subject.

  18. Avatar Candace C says:

    R.V. Ok, got it, thanks much for the explanation.

  19. Avatar Doug Cook says:

    Getting back to the subject at hand…I was pondering R.V.s statistics, and I have no reason to doubt them. Could it be that it was the passage if Prop 47 that released thousands of violent prisoners back on to our streets in California that is causing this spike?

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      It’s difficult to say whether there is spike in officer involved shootings because of Prop 47. The crime rate, violent and petty, has leveled off after increasing right after Prop 47 was implemented. The recent rash of shootings could be an anomaly. Or it could be the result of bad training. During the past 20 years, I think they’re been 3 0r 4 years where there were no shootings. We’re No. 2 in the state per capita, but lots more people get killed in big metro regions.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        I’m not sure about your claim that crime is leveling off. Property crimes in California have skyrocketed. In San Francisco, property crimes is four times of that in New York city.

  20. Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

    I had no idea. I wasn’t the first to bring up Bethel, Trump, AOC, Pelosi, Omar, national politics, etc. – I was just following the direction the conversation was taking. I didn’t know we were supposed to stick strictly to the subject of the article.