Last night I tuned into the Detroit Fox2 News broadcast to view a heavily anticipated segment in which reporter Rob Wolchek was going to be featuring Michigan Open Carry Inc. ex-President Scott Web.
If you have heard of Wolchek, you would know that his subjects are inducted into his virtual "Hall of Shame" for some type of wrong-doing. His typical enshrinees on past broadcasts have included interviews of home improvement contractors who did shoddy construction jobs and employees who were taped drinking alcoholic beverages while on company time. Thus, I had a sinking feeling Webb was going to be a victim of a hatchet-job.
The overall theme of last night's broadcast was that Webb should not have access to a firearm, let alone carry one openly, because there are concerns that he is danger to both himself and other people.
Wolchek makes his best attempt to prove his point by parading out before the video cameras both public documents and taped testimony from women in Webb's personal life over the past 10 years. It was disclosed in the broadcast that the six different women, at one time or another, issued a Personal Protection Order (PPO) against Webb.
Allegations from the women - either on air or via public documents - included the following: Webb making threats to their safety, Webb allegedly threatening to kill himself by placing the barrel of the gun into his mouth, and statements that suggested that the women felt that Webb was mentally ill.
Wolchek's report conceded that as of now, none of the women have an active PPO against Webb. It was also disclosed that Webb has not been convicted of a felony or any other offense that would preclude or bar him from owning a firearm. The statements from the women, in Wolchek's view, should be enough for the viewers to conclude that Webb is a menace.
However, no mention is made of the fact that PPOs are easy to levy against a person and can be done without prior knowledge of the person being accused of wrong-doing. In fact, a mere unproven claim of abuse, of an assault, or a threat to one's safety is all that is needed to get a PPO put in place.
Further, it was not stated that in some cases people get PPOs put in effect against ex-husbands and ex-boyfriends out of spite or to influence the results of child custody fights. I'd go so far as to say that the practice is a documented step in the Divorce Lawyer's Handbook.
A balanced story would have had Webb to discuss the allegations in depth. To serve that end, Wolchek ambushed Webb on-camera after he left a court proceeding. Webb declined to discuss his personal business, at that time, on the air and left. Wolchek concludes that Webb is being evasive and has something to hide. In essence, Webb is presumed guilty.
Besides not having Webb's side to this "he said/she said" drama, I was most disappointed about how Wolchek used Webb's pro-gun activities to "add ammunition" to the claim that Webb must be crazy. Light was made of the fact that he mows his lawn topless while carrying a holstered gun on his hip.
Wolchek is attempting to portray folks who open carry a handgun as oddballs. Openly displaying a handgun is not for everyone. The bigger point is that open carry is legal. If it's not the type of activity that you wish to do, then don't. Just don't berate those who choose to do so within the boundaries of the US Constitution and the Michigan Constitution.