Written January 5, 2013     

writers on the loose - write your own columns
Write your own column!

© 2017 Bob Lonsberry


74 Responses

Note: Comments of readers are their own and do not reflect the feelings of Bob Lonsberry or lonsberry.com.

# 1. 1/5/13 10:45 PM by John - SLC
Bob- You have nothing to apologize for.

Evil and violent death are ugly topics, and some people wish they did not exist or they did not have to hear about them.

Your praised and honored the good guys, and vilified the villain, as was fitting and proper.

As a much better writer said nearly 150 years ago when honoring other heroes:

"...The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—..."

May God bless the heroes and their families and the villain rot in hell.

# 2. 1/6/13 12:03 AM by larry
I thought your column was perfect and forwarded to a couple of my friends who live in Webster but are in Florida for the winter. Please don't let a few negative people ruin it for the rest of us.

# 3. 1/6/13 12:36 AM by frank
I am not offended by someone who speaks truthfully.

# 4. 1/6/13 3:57 AM
The strong "backlash" by a certain part of the community did not begin until the latter of the comments were received. It seemed to snowball at a certain point, almost adhering to an agenda of sorts, leading to what I believe was a "fabricated" or at the very least a "carefully crafted" controversy.

I know there are certain things that you want to say, Bob, but can't, or more correctly, won't.

I prefer not to come right out and say them either, but I must say something.

Those "offended" are part of a very close knit part of a larger overall community. They serve us all well, but at times, like any other community, are stratified and factionalized.

We owe an enormous debt to our dedicated first responders, and our community shows that. Volunteers may seem at times to carry a larger part of burden of that concept, and there are always those who think they are owed more. And there are agendas.

All first responders carry the responsibility of a unique franchise. But they do not "own" us. And neither do we "own" them.

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

And, sadly, politics.

Bob Lonsberry did an excellent, responsible, and very professional job of reporting a lot of good facts to us. But he could only report what people close to the events wanted him to know. HIS PRESENTATION WAS THE BEST AMONG ALL SOURCES OF NEWS IN THE COMMUNITY, BAR NONE.

And the most interesting part of all of this is that he really doesn't get paid to do it. True, he is building his brand. But the returns are so miniscule as to be almost intangible.

He is a volunteer.

We are all adults here.

But what is apparent is that some of us can't handle the truth.

Whether you are a volunteer or are a paid participant, we are all sorry for your losses in this tragic event.

But if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, get out of the way, make yourself part of the solution and not the problem.

And please, please, please, keep the petty politics to yourself.

In this country, we are at very high risk of losing many of our valuable, proven and precious constitutional rights.

Let's not allow "freedom of speech" to be one of them.

Especially not by some petty, conniving, blowhard clique somewhere.

# 5. 1/6/13 5:55 AM by little john - Mount Morris, NY
thumbsup.gif I enjoyed reading your column, and praise your professionalism and humanity despite an apparent unintentional offense perceived by someone feeling vulnerable.
Absence of malice is a very subjective mote in the eye of the extra sensitive beholder...

Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences.
No one can eliminate prejudices - just recognize them.
Edward R. Murrow

# 6. 1/6/13 7:01 AM by WWFD
Is this your next book?

# 7. 1/6/13 7:19 AM by Poplar Beach
It goes with the the territory.

Bob, many of your listeners and readers do not think of you as a reporter, a news person, you are the entertainer/commentator, the guy with the family, the guy who does the Christmas eve show, the guy with the goofy laugh who makes us laugh, so for some of them, this story was insensitive, to soon, too detailed.

But for Bob the reporter, I can't imagine any reporter telling the true story, with sensitivity and honor for the dead, better than you did. Unfortunately, you know how most people feel about reporters (news people) these days.

For me, I am glad you did the report, I believe the story needed to be told, but I can understand why some close family members and friends may feel differently and I am certain you can too.

# 8. 1/6/13 8:42 AM by Chris - Mumford
thumbsup.gif Bob,

I thanked you for writing this account in the comments of the original column and I stand by that "thank you".

You make no secret of your fondness for our military, law enforcement, fire service and EMS folks. This has never been ambiguous to your listeners/readers or to the men and women you champion.

# 9. 1/6/13 8:55 AM by Mike - Hilton NY
thumbsup.gif I agree with John, you have nothing to apologize for. Keep up the good work Bob.

# 10. 1/6/13 9:02 AM
thumbsup.gif Excellent, as was your original column, which I read and listened to you read with even more love and admiration for these men.

# 11. 1/6/13 9:31 AM by A loved one - Webster NY
thumbsdown.gif If you for one minute didn't think the article was in bad taste in some way you would not have asked to have it taken off the site. No matter how anyone else felt about it. Now you want to apologize after the damage is done.WOW

# 12. 1/6/13 12:05 PM by Rick G. - Spencerport, NY
Unless there were inaccuracies of which I am unaware, I didn't (and still don't see) a single thing to edit or apologize for in the original column.

# 13. 1/6/13 12:14 PM
As for the comment about your "next book", it seems like a fair, honest question on the surface. But when the commentor alludes to an affiliation or even a representation of what may be on the minds of "WWFD", it seems to be awfully cynical.

"WWFD", what is the scuttlebutt now? About Bob making a bundle on one of his books?

Gimme a break. Bob don't make squat on any of his books.

But if there is to be a book, I would trust Bob's take on the events before anyone else's.

Here is something you might have a little less trouble understanding. Today I will raise a beer in a toast to the "WWFD".

And, as I raise that toast, I will hope that today yours was just an honest question...

# 14. 1/6/13 1:29 PM by C. jONES
I wasn't offended but to make it about the death penalty seemed like you had a political vested interest in this. And the fact that the police took an hour seemed to go right over your head. Were they told to stay away. Was this staged as part of some satanic ritual since the date = 13 which is a illunimati number. So many here I believe must be satanists who think you can fool people. You don't fool me and many others. You say there is no illunimati. there is and these sandy (satan) bushmaster incidents will continue. tHE bIBLE SPeaks of satan and his angels. 9/11 was the beginning of our overthrow.

# 15. 1/6/13 1:55 PM
I read it and shared it. I thought it was respectful and honored those who were there. I also appreciated having the whole story. I know you defend the local newspapers, but honestly, if it's not hot off the wire, they don't do a story justice.

# 16. 1/6/13 2:01 PM by Hale " Lou" Sinate
#14 - dyslexia, bath salts, or maybe both? maybe beer too? out for the day?

# 17. 1/6/13 2:07 PM by Karen - Webster
"I also, Friday night, asked my employers to take the column down from their websites in its entirety."

And yet you read the column in its entirety on air not once but twice. What was with that?

# 18. 1/6/13 2:39 PM by Eddie - Lester
I enjoyed reading your column. The details were great. No lame stream media could have reported like that without inserting their own anti gun bias.

Will you be doing a column on the Newtown shootings?

I would like to know about the teachers who heard the popping sounds. Were they unsure of the location of the gunman or did they know?

What was the child who survived the shooting thinking while she lay in the kill zone?

What about the officers who entered the building in an attempt stopped the horror?

Did the gunman get interrupted?

How did a parent feel having to leave her child's body in the classroom until the investigation was finished?

You are a great reporter, Bob and a stickler for detail. This would be a great follow up column.

# 19. 1/6/13 2:45 PM by George - Rochester, NY
To #4: I am a Volunteer Firefighter, and have been an active member of the Volunteer Fire Service since 1977. My only “agenda” is and shall continue to be to serve my community. I do this without an expectation of monetary award, or for that matter even a thank you. Waking up to my pager going off in the wee hours of the morning in the dead of winter is a difficult part of being a First Responder. Leaving the family in the middle of dinner or during a festive or important occasion is a difficult part of being a First Responder. Seeing the pain and suffering that is caused by an illness, injury, loss of property and worse of all the loss of life is a difficult part of being a First Responder. Having someone refer to First Responders as a “conniving blowhard clique” is just plain hurtful. Are First Responders a “close knit” community? Absolutely, and it is a community that I am proud to be a part of. #4, you wrote that “…some of us can’t handle the truth.” I do not see the debate being centered around truth, but on presentation of the facts. Mr. Lonsberry is a seasoned and well written Journalist. I don’t know if “offended” is what I felt when I read Bob’s column. However, as a First Responder who was personally involved during the event, a nerve was struck and it hurt to read the details of how the bullets from the sick coward’s weapon impacted our Heroes. Put yourself in our shoes #4. Better yet, put yourself in the shoes of the families who were left behind and those who have a long road of recovery yet to travel. To Bob, thank you for the follow-up column, and I appreciate seeing that you expressed a concern for the feelings of the loved ones of the victims. Please understand that as #4 pointed out, we are a “close knit” community. In essence, we are all family. Hopefully you will continue to support the efforts and activities which have been underway to benefit the families and our Heroes recovery. May 2013 be a year where we will not have another event as tragic as this.

Editor's Note: amen

# 20. 1/6/13 2:47 PM by Frank - Ovid, NY
When will the medical examiner's report be released?

# 21. 1/6/13 2:48 PM
I am usually one of your harshest critics, but I don't get this flap at all.

Who's been offended, the families of the victims? Law enforcement?

I would feel bad if the former; couldn't care less if it was the latter.

Editor's Note: that's just how i feel

# 22. 1/6/13 4:41 PM by BSP
I was not offended by your column, I was offended by the senseless murder of 3 innocent people and the maiming of 2 or 3 more.

# 23. 1/6/13 5:35 PM by Brian - Rochester
Don't apologize for your comments on these horrific events that occurred on Christmas Eve. You honored these great men and you told the truth, which we don't hear enough of. The burden is on the reader. He can stop reading anytime he wants to if he feels offended.

# 24. 1/6/13 7:01 PM by Gappy - Quincy, IL
I'm not faulting you because you may have purposely intended to play the emotional timbre down but if anything, your column was too dry and dispassionate. "Just the facts Ma'am". Almost like reading a police report. Still horrifying.

# 25. 1/6/13 7:46 PM - Webster
thumbsup.gif I was not offended. Yes it was so sad to read but glad I wa able to get the true account of what happened. Not sure why someone would read it if they didn't want to know. No different watching tv and hearing/seeing the news. I'm sure they turn the channel when it comes on. Also, you mentioned about mark the Webster police officer who shot at the suspect. Risking his own life going after him with no back up. We have to believe that is what saved more lives and injuries. Why isn't anyone talking about that hero?!?

# 26. 1/6/13 8:47 PM by Andy - Florida

Move you and your clan to Utah. Your religion and writings will be better understood by the people out there.

# 27. 1/6/13 10:51 PM by Rob - MSC, UT
Your columns last week were some of the best writing and reporting I've ever read. I loved all three. Was it insensitive? Probably to someone. If the family of those slain didn't know details you reported, details someone else had held back to spare feelings, they will lash out at the first peron to reveal those details. In this case, it may have been you.

I wouldn't want to know too many details if a loved one had been murdered. Not until I was ready to hear it, anyway. I would intentionally avoid reading stories or watching the news until I had been able to process the reality he or she was gone. Then I would be thankful someone had the details and written it so well.

It was an excellent column.

# 28. 1/6/13 11:44 PM by MrsPhartootski
You wrote an excellent account of the events in the original column, Mr. Lonsberry. It involved legwork, time, and compiling the interviews. It was well within context as I remember. Something the P.S. or Syracuse TV stations certainly didn’t do. The truth didn’t fit in with the political correctness agenda that codifies and portrays murdering criminals as “misunderstood victims”. The multi-murderer was released after 17 years from murdering his Grandmother with a hammer. You did nothing to need to apologize about. The responders did nothing to deserve being murdered by a mentally ill murdering convict. The murder of innocent victims is graphic and evil. Sympathizers of the multi-murderer are the ones who are insensitive.

# 29. 1/6/13 11:51 PM




# 30. 1/6/13 11:56 PM



# 31. 1/7/13 1:59 AM by Volt-aire - Coudersport, Pa.
thumbsup.gif I liked the accurate and professional column of objective reporting. The problem with telling the truth without the subjective filters is, that some people can't handle the truth.(that is a line from "A FEW GOOD MEN")...I know it may be taken by some to be insensitive, but imagine "living" this tragedy every day for a year or more. Forty years later, people still can't handle the truth about Vietnam in all it's graphic reality. The phrase "IT DON'T MEAN NUTHIN" is the title of an excellent poem written by Gary Jacobson © 2003 about how emotions get pushed way down deep in order for men to go on, and carry on, heroically, bravely, despite the emotional abyss that looms when a tragedy like this occurs... I find the phrase a paradox of What IT Is;;; that really means everything... Life. and to be thankful for every day we hold it dear...

# 32. 1/7/13 3:50 AM by B Smith - Syracuse New York
Have no objection to a detailed and even gory story of what happened, but I suspect the backlash has something to do with your agenda in trying to prove that real gun control won't work and the only solution is the death penalty. Most police organizations in this country as well as average citizens can see that real gun control works in many parts of the free world and stronger measures are needed in the US.

# 33. 1/7/13 4:39 AM by DD
thumbsdown.gif Do you really need to turn this incident into an "us vs. them, give me your support" column? Let today's column speak for itself. Remove today's poll. It's divisive and small of you.

In the future, let the reporters report the news. Leave the detective work and exposes to the pros.

# 34. 1/7/13 6:41 AM by rjd
I am a regular listener and reader of your columns. I was not offended by nor do I think there was any malice intended in your article. However I think what the problem may be is that you are not working for a newspaper so I'm sure there are some folks that dont want you to write a news article about them or their family or community or what ever. Now maybe they just dont like you or your politics or what ever but these days any one can write just about anything they want and put it on the internet and what your wrote was in honor of those that were killed and injured. Folks should always try to look at people's intentions before they get their knickers in a twist.

# 35. 1/7/13 6:45 AM
It was a good article Bob who else in town would write that certainly not the fish wrap D&C.

# 36. 1/7/13 7:02 AM by Chris - Honeoye Falls
I am in law enforcement. That was your best column ever. Thank You

# 37. 1/7/13 7:09 AM by blueboy - Rochester, NY
Bob, The truth is not offensive.

# 38. 1/7/13 7:24 AM by Woody
thumbsup.gif You owe no apologies for telling it as it is.

# 39. 1/7/13 7:50 AM by Abner D
I don't always agree with your positions, but there is no doubt you are a consummate reporter.

Two things bother me about today's column.

You state it's unethical for a spokesperson to ask a reporter to change a story.

I'm guessing, if the Webster Police Department investigator had contacted you directly, it may have gone beyond unethical, possibly bordering on unlawful, but that's just a guess.

A Webster Police Department investigator requested, by way of a proxy, that you remove details in your column that were unknown to a person personally affected by the attack.

This tells me the Webster Police Department withheld information, not just from a person personally affected by the attack, but from the public. I'm guessing they did so in collusion with our local Vichy Press.

Finally, if you didn't have so many mouths to feed, so many people depending on you for food, clothing, and shelter, would you have knuckled under to the investigator's demands?

Editor's Note: i didn't knuckle under. the request came from someone who is of no professional relevance to me whatsoever. my money was not threatened -- i don't make any money from this column, anyway. further, the webster investigator, as i look at it, did nothing out of line at all. that person's request, to another police officer, was not unethical or inappropriate. it was reasonable and was prompted by a laudible motive. actually, had the investigator asked directly, it would have been neither unethical or anything else. public information people are, other than through the information they give, supposed to have no impact or influence on what ends up in the news report at all. the problem there arises with the possibility that the public information person witholds information from you as a punishment or gives you extra as a reward, thereby adulterating the objectivity of the report. but i felt comfortable making the change because, this spokesperson having been completely useless to me for a number of years, i knew i wasn't being unduly or inappropriately influenced.

# 40. 1/7/13 8:01 AM by Cal - Rochester, NY

All I got to say, is to thank God for the First Responders and their brave actions, in overcoming this horrific evil and saving more lives! And to thank God for Bob`s, tell it like it is, columns. I`m sure looking forward to his meaningful future telling it like it is columns. To honor these First Responders and to start the healing process, we should attempt to do good deeds for our own areas of influence, with love towards our fellow human beings. To start out, enjoy life with a night out, at the NEW TEXAS ROADHOUSE in Henrietta! We have been there 3 times already! Some of the best eating experiences of my life! Tell Tera that I sent you. We invented a new drink, peach and sprite, out of this world!

# 41. 1/7/13 8:06 AM by Matt - Rochester, NY
Well if you offended someone, you offended someone. Intentions were good I would imagine, but I guess one could say you are taking a horrible incident and attempting to wow your readership with what you write. And now again today you continue with it....let it go. If someone was offended, respect how they feel and move on. But your ego won't allow that to happen...clearly.

# 42. 1/7/13 8:08 AM by jeanne
I can imagine that it hit a chord with families and responders however this chronicle of events is important- not just for the community but to remember. Just like the post here about WWII, just like testimony of those supporting a medal of honor, the words, though horrific (and how could any information be less than horrific) need to be documented. And Bob is a reporter. It's a news channel on the radio.

# 43. 1/7/13 8:16 AM by Durwood - Canandaigua
There, there, Bobby don't cry. Mommy's going to put your nice column right here on the fridge next to your photo of Beth Adams.

# 44. 1/7/13 8:19 AM by Tobey - Chili
So now you are a reporter????

I thought that you were a professional microphone operator.


Your column on this horrific event was an example of great reportive writing. It's content may have been unsettling for some, but the unfortunate truth is that in a free society, none of us; not the readers, the victims, the victims families or the victims co-workers own the news. Once people involved in a story have the right to control the content of the reportage, it is no longer news and strays into the realm of fiction or even propaganda.

Your column may have been too objective for some. It may have been too accurate for others. It may have been horrifying to most. But in a society that values the right a free press, acceptance of censorship is a dangerous and destructive thing. No matter who requires the censoring.

I passed your column on to a few friends on the local volunteer fire department up here. My friends were stunned and moved by it. Your column was quickly passed through the ranks and I am sure they will be equally stunned by this unfortunate turn of events.

Your column was an example of investigative journalism at it's best. I am sorry that you felt that you had to take the steps you took and hope that this issue will not stop you from doing what you do best; reporting the news.

# 46. 1/7/13 8:34 AM by Mark
thumbsup.gif Sounds like misplaced anger.

# 47. 1/7/13 8:34 AM by Abner D
Re: Your poll

Only two groups of people were offended by Friday's column - girly girls and liberals.

Yes, I realize there may be those among you who accuse me of redundancy here, but as a beacon of light in a medieval forest, it's a risk I'm willing to take.

# 48. 1/7/13 8:43 AM by prick - webster

I read in the paper today that donations are still pouring in for the victims families and for the WWFD. A rep also stated that the amount of the donations is being kept a secret.

While I totally support donating to the families and WWFD (and I have), I believe the public should know how much has been donated and where, specifically, the funds are going.

Also, I feel that the folks who lost their homes may get short-changed in this. While some donations to the Webster Community Chest will find their way to these people, I feel that some of the donations to the WWFD should go to help them.

# 49. 1/7/13 9:34 AM by BGF - %$#@chester, NY
Bob, I read Friday's column knowing I would not want to, but nonetheless pressed on. Perhaps by knowing the details I could put myself into the situation and thereby evaluate it better.

Along with thousands of others, I went to Mike and Tom's calling hours, and watched the funerals on TV. Having family members that were affected deeply by this, yet only indirectly having been affected myself, I did not (through my own shortcomings) FULLY grasp the reality of what had happened. I do not go on calls, I could not put myself in their position. Reading your column began that process of identifying and realizing much better.

Immediately after, I went and listened to the fire and police radio traffic relating to the situation. I have never been a person that tries to understand a thing with only a surface explanation, which is what we got from most news outlets. What I came away with was that there were many, many heroes that day - from operators and dispatchers, to those on the scene. My confidence and appreciation of their commitment to the rest of us, deepened.

How sad that some seem content to remain unaware.

# 50. 1/7/13 9:38 AM by Tom Bastian - Fairport, NY
thumbsup.gif No need to apologize for what you wrote. It was informative and compelling. It gave the reader an insight into what these heroes went through in a way we never would have known. It honored the deceased,the survivors and those around them who influenced the outcome. Keep doing what you do. Sometimes the truth will be painful for the survivors and the families of the deceased but your article was very respectful.

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