Neal Boortz May Be Pulled from Virginia Radio Station

David Grant reports for the Collegiate Times that nationally syndicated talk show host Neal Boortz’ show may be pulled from Pulaski, Virginia’s WFNR AM for some controversial remarks he made in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings.

Boortz echoed a theme expressed by many that the victims were “standing in terror waiting for (their) turn to be executed.” Station manager Scott Stevens was appalled, as were some Democratic members of the Virginia legislature. Delegate Stephen Shannon stated, “I feel (Virginia radio stations) have a sense of public responsibility in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy to exercise some restraint. What they did was let this broadcaster peel off outrageous assertions that somehow it was the fault of the students and the faculty members who were killed or injured…There’s simply no place for this out-of-state radio host to make such claims on Virginia’s airwaves immediately after this tragedy has taken place.”

Now, I find Boortz’ insinuations here outrageous because I don’t expect untrained, unarmed teenagers to do anything other than panic when confronted with such an unexpected and horrifying situation. Still, the point was well within the legitimate sphere of public debate, even if the timing was unfortunate.

I have only heard snippets of Boortz’ show, mostly by accident when scanning for something to listen to on road trips, and have no strong opinion of him as a commenter. Presumably, though, he’s interesting enough to draw an audience consistently not just in his hometown Atlanta but in a variety of stations that syndicate him across the land. And the idea that a show broadcast nationally can somehow be tailored to local sensitivities is just bizarre.

As with the Don Imus situation, it’s absolutely within the right of businessmen to decide what programs to air and hosts to employ. If Grant believes taking Boortz off the air and replacing him with another host is the thing to do, it’s his call. But I find firing people who are hired as controversial commentators for making controversial comments troubling.

FILED UNDER: Guns and Gun Control, Media, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Rick DeMent says:

    Boortz is the worse kind of coward and this mindless gun pimping is every bit as bad as mindless gun banning. If we truly live in a world where the only way to be reasonably sure of our safety on the way to English class is to pack heat, we are simply too sick as a society and should nuke ourselves.

    Most people do not have the temperament for armed retaliation, only those trained and practiced are really qualified to retaliate in a life threatening circumstance like the one a Virginia Tech. While most people have that wherewithal to frighten off an intruder, taking on a madman bent on killing everyone and himself with it is a pretty low % undertaking.

    I have no problem with anyone who is trained and practiced carrying a conciled weapon, but that description does not describe the vast majority of those who feel they should be able to carry a gun “at will in public” under the 2nd amendment.

  2. Boyd says:

    But I find firing people who are hired as controversial commentators for making controversial comments troubling.

    Troubling? Well, maybe, but only after I pass through asinine, hypocritical, empty-headed…well, you get the idea.

  3. legion says:

    Boyd,
    Right on. Perhaps the idea of hiring talking heads who specialize in getting one group to hate another group just isn’t such a great idea to begin with…

  4. TJIT says:

    Rick,

    You miss the fact that these mass killings generally happen in only one place, gun free zones.

    And you miss earlier episodes where mass killings at schools were stopped by armed civilians, not uniformed police officers.

    Psycopaths and insane individuals are a fact of life. They are randomly distributed and the time and location where they decide to embark on a killing spree can’t be predicted.

    Concealed carry gives citizens the ability to stop psycopaths and the insane when they embark on a killing spree. Concealed carry is a prudent policy and the only effective way to reduce the risk of these attacks.

  5. Boortz isn’t the only one who mouthed off about VA Tech students and the lack of response. Columnist Mark Steyn did the same thing less than two weeks ago.

    and my reply

    http://thefloridamasochist.blogspot.com/2007/04/knucklehead-of-day-award_24.html

    I thought Steyn’s attack on the male students manhood was just sick.

    Boortz and Steyn are welcome to their opinions and can state them. I can also say what they say is outrageous. Free speech goes both ways, doesn’t it?

  6. Anderson says:

    I find it very, very difficult to avoid wishing that Boortz and Steyn would find themselves victims in a similar situation, and that there would be video of their reaction. I don’t think they’d quite come off as Chuck Norris.

  7. Bithead says:

    There is one person responsible for your saftey.
    One.

    You.

    That the government usurps that responsibility, not withstanding. And that the government does such a poor job of it, I draw as proof.

    IN that sense, Boortz is correct.

  8. Rick DeMent says:

    TJIT,

    And you miss the fact that the % chance anyone will ever have to face a crazed killer on the rampage is like winning a the lottery 10 time in a row, it’s just not on the radar of things people prepare for in their day to day life unless they are creepy insane.

    You also miss the fact that concealed carry gives psychopaths the same rights as anyone else to embark on a killing spree in the first place. You also miss the fact that there will never be a critical mass of people who will train themselves to respond to such an attack or walk around packed 24/7 to thwart an incident that is so statistically remote. The best you will end up with is more and more people, unprepared and untrained to deal with such a threat but armed none the less.

    In order to get a critical mass of people to carry 24/7 the requirements will have to be relaxed to the point were even the perpetrators will get to carry as well as the law abider’s. There tare too many people with delusions of adequacy, shooting a pistol and hitting your target is hard and becoming proficient requires training and practice.

    You simply cannot come up with a solution to prevent some tragedies, nor can you even mitigate it because every situation is different but I can tell you what the solution is not … to loosen restrictions on concealed carry. Look you want to pack 24/7, in most states you can, fill out the form, pass the requirements so you can feel safe. But this idea that we need to arm everyone in case some mad man goes on the rampage is nutty.

  9. TJIT says:

    Rick DeMent,

    You can rant and rave right past the facts on the ground all you want but that does not change the facts.

    1. Mass killings with guns happen for the most part in gun free zones. Gun free zones do not keep the guns out of psychopaths hands.

    2. There has never been an increase in gun violence caused by concealed carry permit holders in the states that have passed will issue right to carry laws.

    3. All that is needed to reduce mass shooting events is for the psychotic shooter to face the possibility that when he enters a room someone might be throwing bullets at him instead of textbooks. The chance that psycopaths might get bullets thrown back at them massively reduces the odds of them attempting a mass shooting attack.

    Cheers,

    TJIT

  10. TJIT says:

    Rick, you said

    But this idea that we need to arm everyone in case some mad man goes on the rampage is nutty.

    You are the only person I see advocating it. So if it is a nutty idea it is yours and you own it.

  11. legion says:

    Gun free zones do not keep the guns out of psychopaths hands.

    It is true that gun-free zones do not prevent psychotic shooting sprees. Neither do they cause them; IMHO, their effectiveness (or lack therof) is not terribly related to the issue of CCA permits. Hell, if you’re properly carrying a concealed weapon, nobody should know if you’re violating a gun-free zone until you’re actively involved (on one side or the other) of such a shooting spree…

    3. All that is needed to reduce mass shooting events is for the psychotic shooter to face the possibility that when he enters a room someone might be throwing bullets at him instead of textbooks. The chance that psycopaths might get bullets thrown back at them massively reduces the odds of them attempting a mass shooting attack.

    OK, a problem here… you explicitly describe your subject as a ‘psychotic shooter’ and then expect him to follow logical train of thought that he might get killed by one of his potential victims. I’m not discarding the point of your argument, but this is rotten support for it because ‘psychotic shooters’ are, by definition, not that good at such thinking. Either their insanity overrides their self-preservation (in which case the risk of their own death from a heat-packing victim is no deterrent to them) or they’re just trying to kill as many people as they can before the get taken out by the cops (and once they’ve resigned themselves to suicide-by-cop, again, deterrence is no longer an issue).

    While more concealed weapons might limit the number of victims, they will not decrease the number of incidents, since death is not a deterrent to this type of nut. The psychotic shooter will always get off the first shots…

  12. Steve Verdon says:

    3. All that is needed to reduce mass shooting events is for the psychotic shooter to face the possibility that when he enters a room someone might be throwing bullets at him instead of textbooks. The chance that psycopaths might get bullets thrown back at them massively reduces the odds of them attempting a mass shooting attack.

    Uhhhmmm, well, not neccessarily. The above seems to rest on the assumption of rational thought processes. Rational thought processes are not usually the hallmark of psychopaths who go on mass murder sprees.

  13. carpeicthus says:

    A station pulling a radio host is their version of firing him, not censorship. An good for them — that level of craven idiocy should get someone fired from their post. Of course, we’d have very few talk radio hosts left.

  14. Thunder Pig says:

    Those students and teachers were waiting to be executed. No amount of spin can avoid that truth.
    Imagine the lives that would have been saved had someone had their weapon with them that day.

    I can guarantee the slaughter would have been stopped had it happened on the college campus I am on right now, or twenty years ago when I was the same age as many of the defenseless students.

    Shutting down speech you don’t agree with is typical of the Stalinist Left.

  15. floyd says:

    Stephen Shannon sounds a bit “bombastic”,or is that spelled “politicking”?