The Surveillance Video of the Boston Bombing Suspects That Almost Never Was


boston-marathon_ribbon-210x210Propped up on a set of easels at the front of the conference room, a pair of garish posterboards buckled. Someone cut out a not so ominous looking paper banner which read, “Armed and Dangerous” in red ink, and pasted it at the display’s bottom. Above that, chunked into two groups of four images each, were eight screen grabs rescued from a surveillance video captured just moments before the bombs in Boston exploded. The images had a matte finish, and absorbed none of the flash from the photographers’ cameras, and and yet for all of their apparent dullness, the images yielded the most brilliant results.

Gesturing to the primitive exhibits, a dour looking FBI agent named Richard DesLauriers, after giving the world its very first glimpse of the Boston bombing suspects during last Thursday’s earth shattering press conference said, “As you can see, the quality of the photos is quite good,” and then, rocking back on his heels, issued both the public and the media the following warning, “For clarity, ” said DesLauriers, his face a mask of grim determination, “these images should be the only ones, and I emphasize, THE ONLY ONES, that the public should view to assist us.”

After the New York Post’s, “Bag Men,” headline grossly misidentified one of the victims as a suspect, the FBI was more apt to play favorites and was pressing that point home; as far as it was concerned, it had the definitive video of the Boston bombing suspects in its possession. “Other photos should not be deemed credible,” said agent DesLauriers squinting over the top of his glasses, “other photos unnecessarily divert the public’s attention in the wrong direction and create undue work for vital law enforcement resources.”

Tom Maggio, Owner of CCTV Services Inc. wheeled around in his chair, and pointed to a monitor, “You see that red trim around the border,” said Maggio tracing his finger along the edges of the surveillance video of the Boston bombers on the FBI’s website, “that red mark is a signature unique to our software.” The video itself originated from, “Whiskey’s Steakhouse,” a restaurant located on 885 Boylston Street, just 60 meters from the blast zone. The Whiskey is a faithful CCTV Services Inc. client. “The video shown on T.V. Is from Whiskey’s….from your system,” wrote Whiskey’s General Manager Becky Caloggero in an email sent after Thursday’s FBI press conference. “Homeland Security, ATF, the Feds, all say the system is exceptional; one of the best in the city!! Nice job!!” wrote Caloggero.

Maggio yanked a sheet of paper from the printer and waved it briefly in the air. He called it a, “Notifications Report.” On it, were 10 notifications, or “Alerts.” It looked dire. “This report here was generated a little over a week before the Boston Marathon,” said Maggio rapping the back of his finger tips on it. “These are error messages from the DVR at Whiskey’s, and had any one of these issues gone unresolved for any uncertain length of time, in all likelihood, instead of the headline being, ‘Surveillance Video Leads Authorities to Bombing Suspects,’ it could just as easily have been, ‘FBI Comes Up Empty in Surveillance Video Search’

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Asked if it’s possible that a client’s system might appear to be up and running, and recording, when in fact it’s not, Maggio tilted back in his chair and loudly exhaled, “It happens all of the time with less forward operating systems,” he said. Explaining the sophisticated nature of the type of exclusive software Maggio uses to track, monitor, and troubleshoot issues on the fly, Maggio scoffs at lesser brands, “Just ask the FBI, or NYPD detectives how many times they’ve rolled up on some unsuspecting shop owner with a CCTV system and asked permission to see the footage, only to walk away with zilch because the unit stopped recording a month ago, and no one knew about it.”

Maggio calls this self monitoring software a “DVR Health Monitoring Program.” Any hitch, glitch, hiccup, or burp that may or may not compromise the integrity of the recording mechanism, Maggio explains, is monitored much the same way a patient in critical care would be treated. “It’s a proactive formula, where we get to see inside of the patient, and resolve the issues as they occur.” One blip, one beep, one “signal loss to camera” error message, explained Maggio steering himself out from behind his desk, gets triaged in the observation room by a group of highly skilled technicians on stand-by.

Maggio multi-tasks during the interview. Phones are ringing, papers get shoved into his hands, he motions to an associate, “follow us,” he says, as he serpentines swiftly through the office to the back until he enters the observation room. Arms folded, he lords over an 80 inch screen; a flurry of alerts register on it and are blinking.

A team of technicians, including the one Maggio hooked on his way in, are jockeying lap tops, their fingers flutter across the keyboards; they are communicating with machines. “Since the onset of the digital age,”‘said Maggio, “it’s been a boon for companies like mine in the security industry. Now, assuming you own some type of tablet, or smart phone, you can appreciate how sensitive, and temperamental all of this digital technology can be.”

Referring again to the notification report, Maggio ticked off a bone chilling menu of bizarre tech mishaps that sounded eerily similar to the one’s someone’s tablet, or home PC program might issue right before the screen decides to freeze up and lock. Situations like that, for the average person, typically resolve themselves days later, right after the kid with the big hair from the “Geek Squad,” ends up collecting his $300 to fix it. “With that in mind,” said Maggio, “do we really want to risk losing video evidence of something this significant over something as simple as an unmonitored system error?” The question hung in the air as Maggio spun on his heels exiting the room.

A CCTV Services Inc. spokesman was adamant that the evidentiary value of what will, over time, come to be considered one of the most notorious surveillance videos ever created, is owed to the DVR Health Monitoring Program.”No one disputes that this is the video that not only identified the Boston bombers for the first time, it coaxed them out into the open, out of hiding, and into the crosshairs of law enforcement,” said the spokesman.

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Congratulations and many thanks to all of the dedicated law enforcement officials who, through their tireless efforts, saw this case swiftly to its end.

To the city of Boston, bear your grief, and in it will you discover a sympathetic nation eager to shoulder it.

To the families of the bombing victims, we extend our deepest sympathies. May you find peace at the end of your grief.

To the victims of the heinous bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon, we are eternally vigilant in your memory.

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CCTV Services Inc. Linked to Video Surveillance of Boston Bombing Suspects

Groomed like college kids clad in back packs and baseball caps, Boston bombing suspects “No.1” and “No. 2” casually cruised Boylston Street minutes before their perilous stop, drop and blow cratered the spirit of a city now in mourning. CCTV Services Inc. confirms that the ubiquitous surveillance video footage and accompanying screen captures thundering across the web and wall papering cable news coverage of the two bombing suspects comes from cameras mounted by a CCTV Services Inc. technician outside the restaurant, “Whiskey’s Steakhouse.”

“The Whiskey is on Boylston Street,” said Tom D., a CCTV Services Inc. Installation Technician, “and is about 200 feet from the blast site.” Ironically, Tom had a scheduled appointment with the Whiskey on the day of the race, which was subsequently canceled by the client as marathon crowds swelled. “I was just there last week on a service call,” he said. “On my way in, I luckily spied all of my outdoor mounts for fatigue. There was none. Overall, I was happy with my coverage; I liked the drops I had, my aim was true, and the angles were sharp.”

Tom explains what it’s like watching his handiwork play out on cable news during the unfolding of this tragic national drama, “You got the FBI holding up a picture, a screen shot of a guy who they say might be the bomber. It’s on FOX, CNN, MSNBC, You Tube, FaceBook, and it’s eerie because I’ve seen that particular city block on Boylston filled with smiling pedestrians on the monitor dozens of times before, and because I shifted this over here a little to the left and that over there a little to the right, some big cheese at the FBI is now holding up a photograph on national television in the middle of a massive manhunt for America’s newest enemy.”

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A street view from inside of, “Whiskey’s Smokehouse.” Looking from inside the restaurant, the impact site would be to the left of this establishment from this perspective.

“It’s routine for law enforcement to canvass the area shops like they did here at the Whiskey,” said Tom Maggio, Owner of CCTV Services Inc. “Detectives and the like will often burn the data to a CD on site after finding something of interest during a cursory review.” Tom and his representatives at CCTV Services Inc. work often with law enforcement officials, and in the case of the Boston bombing, have willfully pledged their cooperation with authorities.

“This isn’t the first time our images were used to help apprehend dangerous individuals in high profile cases,” said a spokesman for CCTV Services Inc. “The same way the police in New York utilized our CCTV images to apprehend David Laffer in the 2011 Father’s Day massacre at the Medford pharmacy, I’m confident that the individuals responsible for this gruesome business up in Boston are about to be visited by a similar fate,” said the spokesman.

Condolences to the family members of those wounded and killed in the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon. Eternal peace to those no longer with us.

This story is still developing.

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Unlimited Storage Now Availble to our Virtual Video Vault

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As the manufacturer of our DVR systems, we have now included an exclusive bundle of solutions, bringing you unprecedented peace of mind year after year. This group of services includes an offsite backup solution of your onsite video data.

We save, store, and retrieve your vital recordings for you in our secure video vault transferred over the Internet. The amount of storage is unlimited and your data is saved indefinitely.

Security of your data is assured and access is as easy as sending us an email of the dates you need to review. Our service allows unlimited access to the amount of data you may retrieve through our email request system. We will download the requested video data to your DVR or any other computer for you to review as needed.

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We even manage your DVR offsite back up to make sure it is functioning in real time. We also maintain a history log of all retrieved data requests. There is nothing for you to do except view video from as far back in time as you would like. This service includes our exclusive DVR Health Monitoring, which sends you and us emails and alerts when your DVR or cameras need service.

All storage space, set up, programming, monitoring and maintenance of your account is managed by us for a small monthly fee.

If you want your video data to protect you, then protect your video data today!

Call 631-427-0950 to speak with a representative.

Posted in CCTV Services Updates, February 2011 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

CCTV Services, Inc. Partners with Keyscan Access Control Systems

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CCTV Services, Inc. is proud to announce their new partnership with Keyscan Access Control. This relationship creates an opportunity for CCTV Services to offer the most comprehensive access control system at the most competitive prices on the market.

Keyscan is one of the most preeminent and widely-used access control systems in the tri-state area. It is highly compatible with other access control systems, which makes updating your existing system quick and affordable.

CCTV Services is now one of five direct dealers who sell, install, maintain and host your access control system and because of this we offer 25-50% upfront cost savings than our competitors. We also offer the lowest hosting cost on the market, with the same service as all major competitors.

Hosting:

CCTV Services’ centrally managed hosting services makes it easy for customers by taking the worry out of managing and maintaining an access control system. Customer data transmission from the control units to the CCTV Services host are encrypted and tightly secured; plus, your data is always regularly backed up and ready for restore should any unforeseen event occur.

This service  dramatically reduces the entry level cost for access control because it removes the cost barriers of onsite IT infrastructure, software, and database administration and maintenance for a typical access control installation and transfers these elements to the hands of CCTV Services.  The centrally managed hosting service offers the ability to know in real time if anything were to fail. Real time service is now possible with the remote capabilities to control your entire system right from your PC or mobile device.  This service can save customers thousands of dollars and provide unsurpassed convenience.

Administrating:

Administrating is the ability to add, edit, or delete card holders, open or close doors remotely, receive reports in real-time, etc.  CCTV Services, Inc. offers the service of handling administration to alleviate the hassle of making changes; however, unlike with other companies, you have the option of keeping full administrative control of your system if that is what you choose.

CCTV Services has a web-based solution for those customers who prefer some level of self-management of their access control system.  Customers can easily perform basic functions such as add and delete cardholders and credentials, modify privileges, generate reports, lock unlock and pulse controlled doors and review overall system status for all your facilities using an internet connected PC, smartphone or even an iPad.

Service & Warranty

Customers receive a one year warranty on all parts and labor installed by CCTV Services, Inc.

After the one year, we offer a pay as you go service from 8am-5pm at no additional monthly cost; however, a credit card is required to be on file.

If we installed all your equipment, our service contract covers all parts and labor 24 hours a day,7 days a week, 365 days a year.

If we took over your equipment, we will cover all labor 24 hours a day,7 days a week, 365 days a year.

For more information on how you can reap the benefits of Keyscan Access Control through CCTV Services, Inc., call 631.427.0950 Ext 127.

 

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Surveillance Leads to Conviction of Jerome Isaac

20130114-132235.jpgClad in a blue jumpsuit while wearing white gloves, a surgical mask and strapped with a portable tank of fuel, Jerome Isaac positioned himself outside the elevator in a Brooklyn apartment building and waited. When the doors opened he sprayed the fuel on the cab’s occupant, a 73 year-old woman named Deloris Gillespie. Stemming from differences over an outstanding debt owed by Gillespie for odd jobs Isaac claims he performed, Isaac hurled a Molotov cocktail at the already saturated Gillespie, igniting a blaze and burning her alive.

A year later, using evidence collected from surveillance cameras serviced and installed by CCTV Services Inc., a New York Supreme Court in Brooklyn sentenced Isaac to a 50 year prison term. Prosecutor Kenneth Taub, at Isaac’s arraignment, said the surveillance footage, as evidence against Isaac was, “overwhelming,” and that Isaac’s identity in the video was completely “obvious.”

When it comes to the capture and conviction of criminals caught in the act, surveillance equipment installed, maintained and serviced by CCTV Services Inc., consistently produces the type of high quality footage that law enforcement and successful criminal prosecutors continue to rely on. So, whether it’s something as small as shoplifting, or one of the other high profile cases we’ve serviced, if our work is good enough for the criminal justice system, CCTV Services Inc. is probably a good fit for your business too.

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Three Things to Know Before Buying a CCTV System

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Spanning two decades, video surveillance technology, or CCTV as it’s known in security industry parlance, has undergone some dramatic changes. During the 90’s, relatively expensive analog equipment was the industry standard. By the turn of the century however, CCTV systems made the switch to digital. Exploiting the public’s unfamiliarity with these newer technologies, unscrupulous retailers looking to line their own pockets have been pushing consumers into the most expensive solutions for years.

Loaded with tech-jargon and exaggerated claims of superior quality, typical “IP Solutions” come at a steep rate for consumers and range in price from $1,000-$2,000 per camera. In addition to repeat fees for software licensing and maintenance contracts, truth be told, IP cameras aren’t even necessarily useful for most applications.

IP Cameras vs Digital Cameras: What’s the Difference?

With demand for greater security measures on the rise in a post 9/11 world, unlicensed operators and ethically challenged online retailers have flooded the marketplace in recent years. To help cut through that noise, here are a few helpful tips:

    Products and Providers: What to Look For

There is still equipment at all price levels being installed without the necessary knowledge and expertise good long term results require. Work and maintenance performed by unlicensed contractors who treat CCTV installations as a sideline gig will always be subpar. Absent a long list of documented customer testimonials and lacking end user support, hiring a local all purpose contractor on the cheap will always degrade the usefulness of high quality equipment. For starters, find a company that specializes in a single discipline and keep your investment under one roof; don’t buy equipment from one entity and hire another to install it. There are high quality products and providers out there prepared to service your security needs professionally, and at an affordable rate.

Purchasing a CCTV System: Trust but Verify

    Rational Expectations: What Can a Consumer Expect to pay for a Standard CCTV System?

The cost of a high-quality surveillance camera with installation by a licensed contractor, and a one year warranty averages about $350. The cost for a professional, licensed installation of a full system, with 4 cameras, including a high-quality PC based DVR, including a one-year warranty and advanced technical support averages about $3,000. That makes a professionally installed and supported, high-quality surveillance camera $350/ea. Those that insist on doing it themselves can spend less but the result will not be the same. Never spend more, ever, keep shopping.

    Now That You Know, Where Should You Go?

To weed out rogue retailers and installers disinterested in providing long term support and services, search the web by Googling, “CCTV Surveillance Services.” Interview no less than three companies. Do your due diligence and seek as many references from each company’s list of existing clients as you can.

Many people will only work with someone they can get a read on through word of mouth. This is wise, prudent and advisable, and why we’ve asked our customers to come forward with their own video testimonials.

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Security Concerns Rise in Aftermath of Sandy Hook Shooting

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Our deepest sorrows for the victims of Sandy Hook. To the families, victims in their own right, we share in the hour of your loss and mourning, and with grief, extend our sincerest condolences.

Of all of the senseless, violent acts I’ve encountered during my work as a professional in the security business, or have heard about from one of my colleagues, the tragedy at Sandy Hook is by far the most heinous. Nothing in its wake can make up for the loss, and sadly, for the broken hearted, there is little else left but choking grief and anguish. Desperate to see that something like this never happens again, a shocked nation is now struggling in its search for answers.

Mere hours after the mass shooting, strong opinions and cries for calls to action were sounded all across the web. Until changes are made, I predict they will only get louder. There are those who are adamant that tightening gun control laws is the answer, while others say we need to address issues of mental health and social isolation. What most agree on however, is that we are probably going to need to implement more than just one single reform to achieve the desired result.

Sadly enough, we now know there is no “safe” place that escapes from the risk of a mass murder or any other horrible crime. The need for increased security in schools is absolutely irrefutable.

There are many tools available which are affordable, and many prudent steps we can take to help secure our schools. Including emergency planning, thought-out systems using electronic security equipment such as alarm monitored systems, metal detectors, and surveillance camera systems need to be part of the discussion. Strategic placement of cameras at all exits and entrances can quickly alert staff to possible threats, while shatter proof glass can deny an assailant admission.

In consulting with security professionals, law enforcement officials and corresponding governmental agencies can forge better preparedness within our communities. As a deterrence, a security presence gives everyone, including our children, peace of mind. With tighter security, staff will be likelier to have the opportunity to act at the first sign of suspicion.

Parents need to speak out and ask community leaders and school board members what they are doing about public safety and security.
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To secure itself properly, society must then pursue those policies which make it safer more vigorously. We must recognize our security needs and demand that those responsible for its charge, heed it. Our own safety, and the safety and security of our children depends on it.

With all the current bickering between the politicos and the NRA, many wonder why we are willing to tolerate this hardening of our society.

Before they strike over and over again, catching and sending criminals away for longer periods of time through strict enforcement and prosecution is one of the only approaches that seems to make the most sense.

The issue of mental health matters greatly. The system however, has little to no desire to act until someone is actually attacked or killed. Too often all the signs prior to a violent act were present, but no one cared (concerned more about trampling the rights of others, one would suppose). Try explaining to the authorities that someone you know has violent potential, and that you feel threatened, and absolutely nothing will occur as a result.

Where are the criminals? The fastest way to find criminals is to catch them. In many cases criminals act in ways that are detectable. A simple measurement of our progress on reducing the murders and all crime should the relationship between unsolved and solved crimes.

As long as more criminals defy capture than get apprehended after committing crimes, we are losing the battle. Logic tells us unsolved crimes lead to more and more serious crimes, as criminals will undoubtedly strike again. The opportunity to catch the criminal and detect people with mental problems (before a catastrophe strikes) goes undercapitalized, if not ignored completely.

Why not start with demanding our safety in public places, communities, schools, businesses, and buildings of all kinds by eliminating those committing crimes by sentencing them to longer prison sentences?

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The facts are:

The government can’t even agree on balancing a budget.
More gun laws will not stop a killer from killing.
Mental health issues will continue unchecked.
Hollywood and video games capitalize on the marketability of violence and sex.
Drugs will continue to be a thriving business and lead to more and more crime.
Crime will increase as more and more desperation arises out the worst economic conditions in 70 years. Ask those coming off unemployment.

Let’s focus on the simple solutions, not the ones that will never force change. Remember, crime will continue to come in more and more shocking forms as creativity to kill and steal has no boundaries

“Catch criminals before they strike again”.

How? Logically.

Let’s start by asking the right people that question, those whose job it is to take criminals off the street. Those who are risking their own lives to protect us all for a little more than the amount of an unemployment check.

Why not ask the police what the public can do to help them actually catch more criminals, more often?

Remember the question here. The object is not to stop crimes. Nothing is going to do that, nothing! Crimes are the act of an individual(s) that no force or threat of consequence will change, (not even life itself) before the event.

The only logical “objective” to have is to take criminals off the street where our families live, work and play and reduce the likelihood of repeat occurrences BY THE SAME CRIMINAL, and yes, one criminal at a time.

We all know that police are in fact the most qualified to fight crime. Their tools include training, serious weaponry, high speed cruises, bullet reflecting body armor and plenty of procedures. Yet we ask everyone but the police how to solve the problem.

What is the first question the police ask at any crime scene? They ask if there is any video footage. What if there is none? Then the objective of “apprehension” becomes that much more difficult; if not impossible. Without video evidence, many crimes go unsolved and criminals remain at large, planning their next criminal act.

The tools police rely on most is a combination of cooperation and awareness of the public that video data will remove criminals from society quickly before another crime is committed by the same criminal.

It just so happens at this moment in time (2013) when our society is so desperate for answers, we actually have affordable technology to expand the size of our penal corrections system. With affordable solutions at hand, and a plethora of novel investigative techniques at our disposal, slowly but surely the criminals will get the message, but it’s up to all of us to demand they get it.

Or, if you want to address the problem of crime expeditiously, call for laws to make recorded video cameras systems available to the police “as mandatory” for every business, education, health care facility and all other places of public assembly.

Who pays? Those being protected, of course!

Posted in Crime, From the Experts, News | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

CCTV Services Inc. Launches New Website!

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CCTV Services Inc. Announces The Launch Of It’s New Website: http://cctvservices.net/

Partnering with New York’s premier marketing firm, Donovan Media, CCTV Services Inc. introduces the launch of its new website. In close consultation with customer service representatives at CCTV Services Inc., marketing and web development professionals at Donovan Media have assembled our new website with two fundamental goals in mind: Creating a platform where CCTV Services Inc.’s current customers and clients can come and obtain the latest information on new products and services, technological advances in the industry, and customized security solutions to help improve their bottom line, and broadening the appeal of CCTV Services Inc. across the web with a highly stylized, customer oriented website.

Coded with the latest in Google technology, the new website is more search engine friendly. Tailored to match specific CCTV related search queries, potential customers and pre-existing clients can now access the information they need much quicker, and with greater accuracy.

Sleek in its design, the new site is also, very easy on the eyes and twice as practical as it is aesthetically pleasing. On it, consumers will find our “Quick Quote” forms to be new and improved, featuring an abundance of new client support services, and a wealth of new and updated material at the ready. The site is fully secure and we’ve even added on an entire e-commerce portion to facilitate convenient online shopping.

CCTV Services Inc. Goes Mobile!

Scan this QR Code into your smartphone and keep CCTV Services with you on the go! Once it’s loaded in your phone’s browser, just click on the phone number in the upper right hand corner of the site and either, add it to your contacts, share it with others, or click on it to speak directly with one of our friendly customer service representatives.

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We encourage everyone to stop on by, check out the new site, and drop us a line telling us what you think! Customers purchasing a new product, service or system through the website today can save 10% by using the Customer Code: “Launch” when speaking to one of our representatives.

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Media Inaccuracies Mount In Wake Of Sandy Hook School Shooting

20121218-143243.jpg In journalism it’s called the, “out there syndrome,” meaning that, if something is already, “out there” and being reported, instead of independently verifying it, news agencies feel free to run with it. Following Friday’s ghastly shooting at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, Ryan Lanza’s name got out there, and bouncing through the media’s echo chamber for hours, it was repeated ad-nauseum, incorrectly naming him as the Sandy Hook shooter.

There’s a saying in journalism and it goes, “check the freezer.” Each semester, thousands of college freshman enrolled in journalism programs nationwide hear it for the first time, and since 2006, have been taught to memorize it. It’s shorthand for taking the extra step of verifying something before reporting it as fact. During Hurricane Katrina, when rapes and killings at the Convention Center were reported en masse, roaming gangs of hurricane refugees were reportedly stalking the Convention Center, shooting at rescue workers, and murdering at will. Supposedly, the remains of their handiwork ended up deposited in a meat locker that was reported to contain between 40-50 frozen corpses. Problem was, all of the garish stories emanating from the Convention Center at the time, all turned out to be third and fourth hand accounts about how someone’s cousin said they talked to someone who had seen the bodies in the freezer. Turns out, no one ever actually checked. There were no roaming death squads, no bodies in the freezer; none of it was true.

In a thoughtful piece excoriating the media’s coverage of the Sandy Hook shooting, the Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik blasts journalists, calling it, “high school journalism.” Incensed, Zurawik pleaded his case on CNN’S “Reliable Sources,” a media watchdog program hosted by Howard Kurtz, in a segment called, “The Media and the Massacre,” and was aghast, “how could Ryan Lanza be the dead shooter if he’s alive and posting on his Facebook?” he said. Supposedly, a law enforcement officer on the scene told a journalist that the real shooter, Adam Lanza was found with his brother Ryan’s identification on him, triggering the initial false reports and rampant speculation that surfaced surrounding the killer’s identity. The media linked to the kid’s Facebook, but instead of just linking to it, they should have monitored it, clipped a picture from it, shown it to cops, gotten a confirmation, and in short, just checked the freezer!

Now, imagine one of those parents driving to up to Sandy Hook to find out if their kid is alive, and in those frantic few minutes in the car leading up to that moment, the news is irresponsibly reporting all kinds of erroneous death tallies. Now suddenly, someone’s everything sadly hinges on the accuracy of a news report. In the opening hours following the tragedy, competing news agencies were running contradictory and fluctuating body counts like they were ticking off back and forth scores to a football game. On the radio, 1010 WINS repeatedly cited the number of deceased as 27, with 18 of those victims being children. On cable news, CNN reported 20 dead, 10 of them children, while a network newscast from CBS incorrectly listed the number of dead at 26, with eight of the victims being of adult age. Without regard for the parents or family members of the slain victims who might be in the listening audience, swelling body counts that seemed to double in a span less than two minutes, depending on which news station you followed, no doubt dashed the hopes of many, and wrongly lifted those of others.

Also, this type of media myth building and errant reporting inevitably leaves the door wide open for bug eyed conspiracists like the, “Idaho Picker,” to hawk his spin. With over 100,000 views on his YouTube channel and counting, The Picker does however, inadvertently make a good case for malfeasance via errant reporting. The material he posts in the video is a combination of screen shots mashed up with live reportage from some of the earliest reporting on the scene; replete with The Picker’s twangy narrative. Exhibit A is an AP video of police who appear to have someone in custody in the woods behind the school. Exhibit B, is an interview with a first grader who claims he saw another man pinned down outside of the school with cuffs on. Now, tying those disparate bits together with information that Lanza’s father, Peter Lanza, being somehow connected to the Aurora shooter’s father, Robert Holmes via looming testimony the two were scheduled to give in front of Congress over the controversial LIBOR banking scandal, and Voila! Courtesy of The Picker and his minions, the tragedy at Sandy Hook suddenly transforms into a CIA put-up job with three shooters. The police are lying, the government is lying, and the media is covering it up. When errant reporting stands uncorrected, this is the result.

Now, for all of the public awareness campaigns media outlets profess to promote (an act itself likely inspired from superficial motives governed by hypersensitive political correctness) news casters, in their feeble attempts to create an on air psychological profile of the killer, managed to hurl the public’s understanding of individuals with autism back into the stone age. The amount of times I had to hear the word, “autism” linked with the phrase, “mental illness,” and be subjected to anchors like Wolf Blitzer quizzing mental health experts to determine for the audience if an “autistic” person is capable of committing high levels of premeditated violence is, aside from absurd sounding, borderline trashy reality t.v. exhibitionism. First of all, a person isn’t “autistic,” they have autism. Secondly, as for it being a disorder or a mental illness with violent features, in the wake of an unfolding national tragedy, Americans don’t have the stomach, or the time to sit and watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta educate Wolf Blitzer on the glaring distinctions.

Lastly, Zurawihits right on target in his article criticizing MSNBC wag, Alex Wagner for prostituting (my word not his) her newscast to shill for Democrats who want stricter gun control measures on the books. Look, if a news program, cable or otherwise, wishes to invite someone like NY Representative Carolyn McCarthy on the show because her husband was tragically gunned down in 1993 on a LIRR commuter train by spree shooter Colin Ferguson, and as an outspoken critic in the Congress on lax gun laws is in a position to actually effect legislation on this front, it would be newsworthy and merit attention. However, when it’s the host injecting the topic of gun control into our national discourse by pretending to moderate some made for t.v. argument pitting Tea Party activists and Democratic bloggers against one another with gun rights as the chew toy, passing it all off as if it’s some type of legitimate debate on the 2nd Amendment, it’s no wonder that a lot of Americans aren’t embarrassed to admit that they get their news from Jon Stewart’s, “The Daily Show.”

Finally, during a press conference on Friday, a slightly bewildered medical examiner was asked by a reporter, “what were the children wearing?” Bristling, he guffawed, “they were wearing cute kids’ stuff. Stuff you’d dress your kids, or your grandkids in for the first grade.” Now that’s bleeding edge journalism in action.

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The Devil Wears Khakis: The Latest on the Columbus Circle Shooting

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The silver Lincoln MKZ Sedan used as the getaway car in Monday’s Midtown mob style execution of a Californian man has been recovered by police. Following the stunning orchestrated hit on a crowded Manhattan street near Columbus Circle, a surveillance video of the shooting emerged. In it, a khaki clad assassin and his wheel man are seen speeding off shortly after the hit, and were subsequently spotted exiting the city via the Queens Midtown Tunnel. Abandoned, the car ended up in Queens, and was traced back to a local couple who rented it weeks ago from a Huntington Station Avis dealer. According to statements to the police, the couple loaned the car to someone, but the cops are being tight lipped about who that someone is.

With 20 drug related beefs in his jacket, the victim, Brandon Woodard, a 31 year old law student could have been his own best client. Before getting gunned down, a hefty cocaine possession rap pending a February court appearance was looming. Add to that, Woodard’s spotty finances and reported junkets as a second tier promoter with ties to the entertainment industry seem sketchy at best. Adhering to the maxim that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, he once got himself collared for assaulting a security guard backstage at a concert for the singing artist known as Usher.

Enter Tonya Pinkins, former star of the daytime drama, “All My Children.” She told Showbiz411 that she wasn’t surprised when Woodard wound up dead on a NYC street with a bullet in his head, “I’ve been trying to get the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney to do something about this family for five years.” Publicly airing a scandalous family feud, Pinkins says her ex-boyfriend’s new wife, Sandra Mcbeth, the mother of shooting victim Brandon Woodard, is a, “black collar criminal,” and profits from people losing their homes as evidenced by the dozens of Mcbeth’s forged documents and fraudulent mortgage deals Pinkins published on a website attacking McBeth.

Disbarred in 2006 and branded a substance abuser by Pinkins, her ex-boyfriend, Rodney David Wellington is also the father of Pinkins’s 16 year-old daughter. She says the list of people who have been burned by this family is huge, and apparently Pinkins, by injecting herself publicly into the bizarre backstory of this death by shooting, with its web of drug abuse, mortgage meltdowns, custody battles, flame wars and forgery, must have been burned pretty badly to want to come out on the record so forcefully and risk having her own public image tarnished.

A ballistic report links the 9mm weapon used in the Midtown slaying to a 2009 shooting in St. Albans Queens; police are rounding up the usual suspects. 10 minutes prior to the shooting, the portly trigger man can be seen on surveillance video stepping out of the silver Lincoln Sedan on 58th & 7th, donning his black executioner’s hoodie. The victim is seen ambling away from the killer and then circling back towards him, apparently in response to a text message that police say was used to lure him back into the kill zone. Slithering behind Woodard, the one man death squad in Dockers reared up his 9mm semi-automatic weapon, and popped off a single slug, striking the victim in the back of his head, killing him instantly. A little on the plump side, when the assailant climbs back into the Lincoln, the surveillance video clearly shows the passenger side of the sedan sagging.

H/T to @JulieMason for the Title

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