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Friday, December 08, 2006

Lars Larson blames the Kims

Conservative KXL radio talk show host Lars Larson was on Larry King last night, talking about the ordeal of the Kim family. I guess Lars just couldn't help himself. To be fair, this quote is from a segment where King was also interviewing survivors of other wilderness ordeals, but the show was about the Kims, and what Larson had to say is pretty insulting to the Kim family:
KING: Once again, Lars, the human ability to cope.

LARSON: It's an amazing ability, Larry. And what we need is, I think we need more of that in this country. We need people who are prepared to take care of themselves when they go into situations like this. I mean, I try to warn my family members to make sure they have on board in their vehicles everything they might need if they ended off on a side road.

This is what happens when you go out into areas where you're going to get stuck and nobody knows where you are and they're unlikely to find you.
But authorities don't see it that way.
(Oregon State Police Lt. Gregg) Hastings stressed that the Kims "did nothing wrong" before or after they became stranded Nov. 25 en route to Gold Beach on the Oregon coast."He was making decisions, and she was too, that they thought would be the best for their family to survive," Hastings said. "We should all ask ourselves what we would do in that situation. He was trying to save his family."
And there has been plenty of press coverage in Oregon about Bear Camp road, the now infamous Forest Road 23.
There but for the lack of snow went Geeno Valdez, who says he would have become a local version of the Kim family tragedy had his ordeal on Bear Camp Road not been in the summer.

Valdez, a retired teacher living in Medford, said road maps and poor signs lured him, like they did the Kims, onto the now infamous route for a trip between Grants Pass and Gold Beach.

Trying to follow signs pointing to Gold Beach, Valdez and his wife got lost several times and spent the night in their car before eventually finding their way home safely.

"It's misleading that the maps and the signs say that road goes to Gold Beach," Valdez said Thursday, a day after James Kim's body was discovered in a creek near where his family's car was stranded.

"I followed the signs that family did and the same thing happened to me, only it was summer," Valdez said. "Thank God."
And that's from someone who lives in Medford. Those of us who are either from the Northwest or have lived here a long time tend to know what Forest Service and BLM roads are like. Most areas of the United States don't have logging roads, obviously.

The Kims are from another state, and it's irrelevant what state they are from. Various media outlets have also interviewed people from the east coast who had problems with that road.

And from a letter to the editor in this morning's Columbian, we get a particularly nasty sentiment:
If you need to go somewhere in the winter, stay on the main roads. If you venture off into the wilderness and get lost, you should have to pay for the cost of search and rescue. If children are involved and you choose to endanger their safety, consideration should be given to taking them away from you as an abusive parent.
Nice. Are Larson and the writer of the letter so afraid of death that when misfortune strikes someone they have to prove to themselves their own supposed superiority?

That's a pretty telling and pretty twisted way to look at the world. The family took a wrong turn, thinking they could get to the beach. It ended horribly. People with an ounce of compassion in their cold hearts would not try to add to the family's misery. But then, there are ratings to obtain and newspapers to sell.

It's bad enough when regular reporters have to cover stories like this, and most do their jobs professionally and with as much caring as can be accomplished given the circumstances. Where things go awry is when sell-outs like Larson go into their acts. And believe me, Larson is an act.

He used to be a real reporter, then he sold out and started pretending to be a nut case, so that the real nut cases will listen to his radio show.

And that's what's wrong with the media landscape today. You can profit from being a sell-out professional jerk like Larson, and then if anyone criticizes the prevalence of such trash on the airwaves, we get a bunch of hoo-ha about the First Amendment.

And yes, one has an absolute First Amendment right to be a sell-out jerk, but that doesn't mean you deserve any respect.

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