Monday Briefing: Some did, others didn’t take advantage of tragedy

07/23/2012 8:00 AM |

This weekend I spent a lot of time watching television news and reading various internet and print accounts of the movie theater shooting tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.

In fact, I’m not sure I’ve watched this much television news in one week since September 2001.

One thing that kept bothering me as I watched the story unravel was the number of opportunists getting face time on television by sharing their thoughts on gun control. For every key player speaking out on the issue, there were 10 people who don’t matter appearing before the camera.

I haven’t seen Stephen Baldwin much since he was shooting extras in the 1995 film “The Usual Suspects.” But there he was Saturday on CNN, sharing his views on gun control, while making sure to get a plug in for his charity and his latest film project before the commercial break. I care about Stephen Baldwin’s thoughts on guns about as much as I would Smith or Wesson’s thoughts on cinema.

Noticeably absent from the discussion were the opinions on gun control of president Barack Obama and his November opponent Mitt Romney. Given the largest platform in years to share their thoughts on this always important topic, neither one offered anything of substance on the issue. At least not in the first 48 hours after the shooting.

Of course, I’m sure that is more reflective of the powerful gun lobby in Washington, D.C., than it is the two candidates’ lack of strong feelings on the subject. I’m sure if Mr. Obama was in his second term right now, he’d have come out blasting. Mr. Romney, too.

Instead the strongest opinions we heard on the issue this weekend came from man on the street interviews, the occasional Congressman, lame duck Mike Bloomberg and d-list Hollywood types like Alec, no Billy, no Danny, er Stephen Baldwin.

• There was plenty of good news around Riverhead this weekend, especially the story of Ron Rowe recovering from his injuries and returning home from the hospital. He told the News-Review on Saturday that “[he’s] really overwhelmed by it all. People are calling me from high school that I haven’t talked to in 20 years. I’ve lived here since the first grade. I think that makes me a native. You don’t realize how many lives you’ve touched.” May his health continue to improve.

• Riverhead also got its first dog park this Saturday after several delays.

• Riverhead Raceway honored three drivers killed on the track over the years at its race event Saturday.

[email protected]