KCRA Journalists Giddy After Child Kidnapper's Call

Phillip Garrido, the 58-year-old sex offender in California accused of kidnapping Jaycee Dugard as an 11-year-old in 1991 and being the father of her two children over the years she was held in captivity, called Sacramento TV reporter Walt Gray yesterday.

During the call, Garrido urged Gray to pick up a document from the FBI that will explain his actions. "Wait until you hear the story of what took place at this house," he said. "If you take this a step at a time you're going to fall over backwards and in the end, you're going to find the most powerful heart-warming story."

KCRA ran the full audio of the call, but they made a mistake and kept the recording going for some conversation between Gray and others in the newsroom.

After the call with Garrido ends, the following conversation takes place:

Woman's voice: Save it. You gotta save it.

Man: You know what you're doing?

Walt Gray: Yep.

Man: Alright. Don't mess up.

Gray: This is the biggest moment of your life.

Woman: And yours.

Hearing that audio is like catching Harry Potter and Hermione Granger discussing spellcasting among muggles.

Groups That Pursued Tiller Share Blame for His Murder

With the murder Sunday of George Tiller, a Wichita, Kansas, doctor who performed abortions, some anti-abortion groups that targeted Tiller's clinic, home and church for protest have moved swiftly to distance themselves from the killing. Jenn Giroux, the executive director of Women Influencing the Nation, posted this message on the group's web site:

Women Influencing the Nation condemns all form of murder. The murder of George Tiller is in direct contradiction with the beliefs and morals embraced by those of us who believe that every life is precious in the eyes of God and no individual has the right to take the life of another. We encourage everyone to pray for the repose of Dr. Tiller's soul.

Scott Roeder, the suspect in Tiller's murder, visited the group's web site ChargeTiller.Com, which led a petition drive calling for criminal charges against Tiller for two years. Roeder posted the following message on the site Sept. 3, 2007, according to the Wichita Eagle:

It seems as though what is happening in Kansas could be compared to the 'lawlessness' which is spoken of in the Bible," it said. "Tiller is the concentration camp 'Mengele' of our day and needs to be stopped before he and those who protect him bring judgment upon our nation.

Giroux's site described the doctor as "Tiller the Killer" and "the most notorious late term abortionist in the nation." The site's home page made the false claim that he was performing illegal abortions and had bribed Kansas government officials to get away with it:

Tiller has literally committed thousands of illegal late term abortions. Who is continuing to investigate that? Final note: Don't be surprised to see Tiller get off. Keep in mind that Tiller poured millions of dollars into getting this Attorney General's office elected to protect him. Do we really think that they will now agressively prosecute?

These quotes come from cached copies of the Charge Tiller web site, which was taken offline after Tiller was shot to death at his church. Giroux's a registered nurse and mother of nine who traveled from her Ohio home to Kansas to speak at legislative hearings urging his prosecution.

Tiller's abortion services were legal in Kansas, as demonstrated by his March acquittal on 19 misdemeanor charges related to abortions. The doctor was one of the only providers of late-term abortions in the U.S. because of anti-abortion activists who harass doctors at work, home and elsewhere. His clinic had been attacked by a bomb and he was shot twice in 1993, so activists like Giroux had to know that he could be the target of violence again.

Anti-abortion groups that go after individual doctors with rhetoric as strong as Giroux's share responsibility for his death. When you tell people that a doctor is committing murder and has bribed government officials to escape prosecution, you're encouraging people like Tiller's murderer to view violence as a justifiable act. Anti-abortion activists know this. Since 1993, there have been 14 attempted murders of abortion providers, 13 bombings of medical care locations, and now two doctors killed.

No matter how you feel about abortion, you should recognize that protests against doctors at their hospitals and homes are a form of political violence intended to stop Americans from engaging in a legal activity. If Giroux is genuinely remorseful about Tiller's murder, her group should repudiate the practice of going after individual abortion doctors the way they pursued Tiller.

Identity Thief Sends Purchase to My Address

I'm dealing with an identity theft situation today that I can't figure out. Last night, somebody ordered $259 poker jewelry from an online store using my business address, business phone, and email address along with their name. They paid for it with a VISA card.

I've checked my credit card providers and the charge wasn't placed on my cards. It appears the identity thief has established a credit card using my business address, phone and email.

I can't figure out what the thief hoped to accomplish with this order. I've found discussions on the Internet about carding scams, where people use someone else's address when ordering something with a stolen credit card, then intercept the package the day it arrives by waiting outside for the delivery person.

That couldn't happen here. My business address is at a UPS Store. There's no way a UPS driver would give a package to someone hanging out in front of the store.

The name used to make this order has used my email address before. In October 2007, he requested two car insurance quotes, and in April 2008 he applied for assistance from a debt-relief company.

I called the online store to notify them that the order was fraudulent, and I'm checking with credit reporting agencies to see whether bogus accounts have been set up in my name. I also am changing my business address. If anyone has advice for what else I can do, or what the thief was trying to do, your help is appreciated.

Shooting Victim Ben Teague Reviewed Alleged Killer's Book

George Zinkhan, a University of Georgia marketing professor, is suspected of shooting to death his wife Marie Bruce and two others, Ben Teague and Tom Tanner, at a gathering of the Town and Gown Players theater group in Athens, Georgia, Saturday.

On Teague's web site, he wrote about receiving Zinkhan's Consumers, a textbook he wrote on marketing:

Consumers
by Eric Arnould, Linda Price and George Zinkhan

So George and I were talking about beer and he mentioned Pilsner Urquell. I told him my Pilsner Urquell story:

You have to understand about Atlanta. They have fine landscapes and splendid institutions. Stone Mountain is the biggest extrusive granite monolith in North America, and you can see it from everywhere around. But ask a native what you should see while you're in town, and you'll get one of two answers: the "attractions" at Stone Mountain Park, by which they mean the rides, or "Oh, you must shop at Phipps Plaza." Those are not the only ways in which Atlanta is peculiar, but they'll do for right now.

I was there for some event that was either over or not started yet, and because (as Paul Newman says) a fellow has to be somewhere, I stopped in for a bite to eat at Lenox Square. The Patak Brothers at that time ran a tiny delicatessen where they sold their own incomparable sausages, so I asked what they had for supper. The last slice of country pate and some French bread from that morning, they told me. I got that, a dab of mustard, and a bottle of Pilsner Urquell, and sat in the loud, grimy food court and enjoyed a finer meal than I've ever had in a seventy-dollar restaurant. It's imprinted, permanently I hope, in my memory.

George became excited about the story. He holds an endowed chair in marketing at the university's College of Business, and he knew exactly what I was talking about: remembered consumption. He went to his car, extracted a copy of his book, and inscribed it to me. A generous act, I thought.

Now this is not a review of George's book, just a note about the story and the gift, plus a mention of some fascinating stuff that comes in a late chapter about the "meaning" of consumption. The authors have collected a vast amount of information about what products, and the act of consuming them, mean to people. They show how people interpret everything from wedding cake to blue jeans: in terms of the satisfaction they derive, the messages they send and receive, the ways products go together to form ways of living. Goods can acquire "sacred" meaning—with deference to the endower of George's chair, I suspect Coca-Cola has some sacred qualities to Southerners -- as well as secular meaning through their utility but also through the notions we attach to them. There's a chart on which I can precisely locate my memory of the pate and Pilsner meal: high on the Pleasure axis and moderately far out on the Sleepiness axis, hence in the Contentment region. The meaning of the product then has implications for how you think about marketing the product as well as marketing the act of consuming it.

It's a perspective I would not have gained if George and I hadn't gotten into that conversation. It is good to have this to think about.

The book is a textbook, in fact a heavy textbook, and perhaps won't appeal to a wide nonstudent audience, but it presents some useful insights in an easy-to-absorb way. I don't think I have assigned it any sacred meaning, but in secular terms the gift means a lot.

Dear Media: Child Sex Abuse is Not a 'Sexual Affair'

A St. Petersburg, Fl., city councilman resigned today amid reports that the police are investigating him for allegedly molesting three of his children. The media outlet that broke the story, Tampa Bay's FOX TV affiliate, described it in this manner:

City Councilman John Bryan abruptly resigned his post Friday amid accusations he had a sexual relationships with three of his adopted children.

The media has a bad habit of using the terms "sexual relationship" or "affair" in cases like this, as if the only thing wrong about the situation was the age of one party. Here's another egregious example from a FOX station in Arizona:

An ongoing sexual affair with a 9-year-old girl has landed a school bus driver in jail tonight. He now faces charges of child molestation.

The bus driver's a 63-year-old man. Child molestation is not an affair or a relationship. It's a crime. The media should stop couching such atrocities in language that implies the victims consented to sex

Conservative: A Journalist Who Got Mugged

What Toronto journalist Jessica Hume, 25, thought about muggers last week:

... I would have seen the attackers as possible victims of our society. I'd have assumed they were alienated youths, disconnected from their neighbours, teachers, peers -- people who don't feel represented by their politicians. I would even have felt sorry for them to some degree.

What she thinks of them now after getting mugged:

I don't feel any sympathy now, not for the people who come equipped with weapons, waiting in the dark for unsuspecting passersby making their way home. That is a choice they made. No one forced them to make that choice.