Friday, April 26, 2013

Hometown Assignment

Thankfully, I don't often get assignments in the City of Hawthorne.

I live in the City of Hawthorne.

IMG_1444.JPG

Sure, I might want to work on the front line and witness the mayhem and mass destruction of breaking news, but I really prefer to LIVE in a nice quiet non-newsworthy neighborhood.

IMG_1426.JPG

A young woman's apartment was broken into by people from a bail bonds company. They suspected a guy who skipped out on his bail was still seeing her, so they "forced entry" when they came knocking and she wouldn't open her door.

They held her and searched her small apartment for their felon.

IMG_1428.JPG

Surprise! He wasn't there.

IMG_1432.JPG

Maybe I'm missing something, but it all seems very illegal. The girl has already hired a lawyer to represent her and I think I'd probably do the same.

Did I mention her 7 year old daughter was in the apartment at the time?

IMG_1440.JPG

Apparently the bail bonds company believes they have the right to break into a home if they believe you're harboring a person who owes them money.

The bail bonds company calls it "forced entry".

IMG_1446.JPG

She wasn't. She did have a cameraphone though and recorded them breaking in.

I worked on the story earlier this week with a new reporter, Tom Wait.

IMG_1450.JPG

We shot interviews at the apartment with the girl and an interview with one of the bail bonds people near a taco joint a couple miles away. Later we went live outside of the Hawthorne Police Department.

It's hard for me to imagine how I would feel if the same thing happened to me.

It's hard to imagine, mostly because I really doubt I'd ever be in that situation.

IMG_1460.JPG

How difficult is it to avoid this kind of mess? It's pretty easy for me. I guess it's not so easy for others.

I'm glad it's Friday. There's only so much stupidity I can handle in one week.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Wonderful Dangerous World

I think it's safe to say, that for a few days the horror of the bombing in Boston gripped the entire country (shucks, that might even be understating it).  My middle daughter and her family lives just a couple of blocks away from where the bombings happened.  Luckily she, my granddaughter and my son-in-law were all away from the area at the time.

She and her family are fine.  Me?  Yeah, I'm still a little freaked out by the proximity.

_MG_1730_130409.jpg

As I was digging through photos I'd snapped in the last couple of weeks, I came across these from an officer involved shooting in the City of Lynwood.

_MG_1731_130409.jpg

From what I remember of the assignment, a Sheriff's Deputy (or Deputies) killed a suspect.

_MG_1732_130409.jpg

Sorry if my recollection is a bit thin of details, but that's what I'm chewing on right now.

_MG_1727_130409.jpg

A big part of my job involves me covering the end of someone's life.  Sometimes it's a good guy and some times it's a bad guy.  Often it's just someone who happened to be somewhere that ended as the wrong place to be.

It doesn't happen every day that I'm on an assignment that involves death and some days I'm just fortunate enough to not draw that particular straw.

_MG_1733_130409.jpg

So some days are easier than others.  I'm sure the people around me have heard me warn them enough to be long tired of my cautionary tales.

_MG_1734_130409.jpg

People are hurt or killed every day.  Some days hit closer to home than others, but it is all a part of the world we live in.

_MG_1735_130409.jpg

You can crawl up and hide from the world or you can live in it and hope and pray the worst of what can happen, doesn't happen to you (or yours).

Maybe I'm thinking about it right now because of the bombing in Boston.  Maybe it's just the melancholy gray I see out my window.  It could be because of the death I covered and yet recall nearly none of the details.

I just know what I know.

It's not a safe world outside, but there's too much awesome in it to pass up any (every) chance to enjoy it.

The weekend is coming.  Have fun.  For gosh sakes, watch your back.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Sunday Night Decadence

My wife and I squeezed quite a bit into this past weekend. It's not a newsworthy event, but I thought I'd like to share just a peek at how we spent the last few waking hours of our weekend.

IMG_1829_130421.jpg

Dinner was long over. We were both ready for the coming week. A quick trip to the grocery store for every ingredient we could think of to make banana splits. Yeah, say what you will, it was awesome.

Note: Some worked better than others, but we managed to survive our near (sugar induced) comatose state.

All this and new episodes of "Game of Thrones", "Madmen" and "The Good Wife".

Next time skip the gummi-bears and candy corn.

A Grand Day at the Prix, Long Beach

I never even did a live shot on Friday, but it was a long grueling day anyway. I don't even remember why I was on the dayside shift. I just show up when they tell me to show up.

IMG_1795_130419.jpg

The day started in downtown Los Angeles and wound up on Pine Street in Long Beach.

IMG_1794_130419.jpg

Dave Lopez and I were covering the increased security at public events. This prompeted by the bombing at the Boston Marathon.

IMG_1793_130419.jpg

Heck, even with a pretty busy weekend all around Los Angeles, it was probably one of the safest weekends to be out and about.

IMG_1791_130419.jpg

It turned into a pretty interesting day. We cut our piece and stood by waiting to go live for a couple of hours because of the impending arrest of the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing.

IMG_1787_130419.jpg

Granted there are tougher ways to make a living. Standing around and waiting for word that we were clear from all shows was more mentally stressful than physical.

We were ready to go live during the 4pm newscast. The station cleared us to go home about 5:50pm.

I had the mast down, the gear packed away and was driving off by 6:20pm, ready to start my weekend (sigh) and here we are on Monday already.

I'm glad they caught the bombers, let's see what this week brings.



Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Missing Girl Found

As much as I enjoy what I do (gosh, I love my job), there are parts of it that are difficult.
 
 
Last week a child went missing. She was found hours later outside of a Starbucks a few miles from her home.
 
 
My reporter and I were only two blocks away when she was found. We were heading to relieve one of the crews who had been on the story since earlier in the day.
 
We went directly to the location where she had been found.
 
 
Your first hope in these types of situations is that the child was unharmed by the person who took her.
 
Then you just hope the kid is returned alive.
 
 
As soon as we arrived on the scene, an officer approached us and asked us to please be discreet and even suggested we not put the girl on the air.
 
That's a difficult position for me.
 
 
I understood what he was asking and I understood why he was asking
.
All I could do is assure him I'd do my best to be cover the story from a reasonable distance. I have some leeway in how I approach my job, but I still have a job to do.
 
If there were other news cameras at the scene, my options sadly would be more limited.
 
 
Since my camera was the only ground record of the event, how it was shot was completely up to me.
My reporter and I didn't need to talk it over.
 
I kept my distance and covered the scene. She was mostly blocked by the officers and paramedics, but I could see the little girl in my viewfinder.
 
 
This was not a completely happy reunion. The little girl was alive; there's some comfort to be had in that. She was sexually assaulted. I didn't know it at the time, but I suspected that was the case.
 
Nobody asked me why there was only 10 seconds or so of video of the girl, so I believe I did my job to my station's satisfaction. Maybe I could have been more aggressive and gotten more shots of her, but I honestly did what I could.
 
Bad decisions are easy. Bad decisions can cost you your job or your humanity.
 
It can be difficult, but I try to hang on to as much of both as I can.