Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gunwalker, Agitated.

Today, Radley Balko mentioned Gunwalker, and I didn't recall his having done so before.  I thought it might be useful to, well, agitate a bit about that.  (Balko would be a great asset to have for Gunwalker reportage, given his following with libertarian types and his current employ by, of all things, The Huffington Post.)  So, responding to an upstream comment, I did.
"Got another source for the BATFE documents? CBS News doesn’t have a great history with government documents."


It's true that CBS has a pretty crappy history with a lot of things--just like all their peers.  That's why when a Sharyl Attkisson actually begins reporting a story in the tradition of watchdog (vs. lapdog), it sticks out like a sore thumb.  I could hardly believe it when I saw her first F&F story myself, but she continues to act like a real reporter, despite intimidation attempts and plenty of empty ridicule.  She's far from perfect, but I'm actually impressed.

If anyone here wants to follow the F&F story, go to the people that Attkisson got it from:  the whole thing got its start when street agents at ATF (writing at the site actually approached bloggers Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea as whistleblowers.  Now the irony in this origin is a rather complete story unto itself, as Vanderboegh and Codrea are, ah, not exactly what you'd call fans of ATF, nor particularly of Congress.  Nonetheless, they were deemed honest enough by the field agents to wind up the preferred conduits between their own feared management, mainstream media and what have now become Congressional investigators.

Mike and David have been churning out the "Gunwalker" (F&F) content pretty much full-time for almost a full year now, and there is a lot of it.  To my knowledge they have been supported in every claim they've yet made by both the whistleblowers and the paper evidence they have produced, and have started to weather just the sort of telltale retaliatory and harassment attacks and smears that you would expect when there's real fire to go with the smoke.

Mike and David are certainly quirky, and way too direct for mainstream sensibilities, but they are the real deal.  You want the full story on Gunwalker, you go to them.

(To Radley:  methinks this is a story worth picking up.  If you check it out for yourself, I don't think you'll be disappointed.)
Now Balko's a busy boy, and I'm not exactly expecting him to take my suggestion, but I do think it would be worth his time.  And it would sure help Mike and David in their efforts, which despite all that's happened, could easily get disappeared by the increasing number of professionals in that field who really do want this whole ugly mess to go away.


theaton said...

Can you point to some examples which you use to label David and Mike "quirky?"

They are not "way too direct for mainstream sensibilities" either. They may be way too direct for lazy, apathetic humans that pass for citizens these days but that's another story.

Kevin Wilmeth said...

theaton, please understand that "quirky" is a compliment in my personal lexicon. By it I mean "different, but worth working with". I've got personal differences with both Mike and David in some matters politic, but for the most part those items are so far down the priority list as to be in the realm of quirk. They are doing such important work, and doing it so well, that I'll simply table those items unless and until we solve the bigger problems and have some time left over to bicker. :-)

Regarding both of your points: remember that I wrote my note for the audience of The Agitator, not for the audience of Threepers and WoG-rats. My comment about "mainstream sensibilities" was quite carefully chosen as well, specifically to challenge the "everyman" (who so often fancies himself "above the mainstream") to look further, even if he happens to land over at SSI and find the (I would say refreshingly) direct discussion to be a little jarring for what he's used to. Yes, the conversation needs to be direct--we'll never get out of this mess until we can at least speak plainly--but for most people that doesn't happen all at once. (That was true for me, too.) I wrote it for the audience.

I suspect you and I are more on the same wavelength than different ones. And if you read any quantity of stuff that I've written before, it should be pretty obvious the respect in which I hold both Mike and David. I still don't think we'll solve the problem (of which Gunwalker is but a symptom) by appealing to the same people (the FedGov) who produced it in the first place, but if anything good can come of "working within the system", I think they'll find it.