I asked WCCO's Esme Murphy via Twitter yesterday why she's still referring to Larson as "a suspect" when police appear to have no evidence, no witnesses, and no gun used in Decker's killing outside a bar two weeks ago.
"Because the BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) calls him a 'suspect,'" she said.
"My life is gone; basically stolen from me," Larson told Murphy. "I am always going to be looked at as the person that committed this crime."
In an article last week, the Star Tribune repeated Larson's insistence, then filled several inches of its paper with a story about why he might have done it.
According to a 2009 affidavit filed by a 35-year-old former girlfriend, Larson had temper issues. She told authorities he could become "instantly very angry, aggressive and agitated" -- often breaking her belongings "in a fit of rage."
"With each incident, the violence level goes up," the woman stated in court documents in Stearns County. "It's starting to escalate and snowball, and I am fearful. ... He deals with unfavorable situations with violence, anger and aggression. And knowing that Ryan has a gun in the house with ammo only makes me more scared."
It's an odd situation that news organizations usually avoid by not naming "suspects" until police charge them with a crime; it ensures that there's some evidence against the person and that police aren't just using the media to "smoke out" a person (See Dunlap, Brad). But the police in Cold Spring named Larson right from the start, and the news organizations waived their policies and now have been unable -- or unwilling -- to consider how to put the genie back in the bottle.
On Dan Barreiro's radio show yesterday on KFAN Sports Radio, attorney Ron Rosenbaum said the fact police didn't have enough evidence to keep Larson locked up indicates that they may not have any evidence. He said it's clear that there was no shotgun residue on Larson after the shooting and while police are looking for a .20 gauge shotgun used in the killing, Larson says he doesn't own a .20 gauge shotgun.
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Meanwhile, there are other questions in the case: Reports of narcotics raids in Minneapolis somehow connected to the case, and questions about where Officer Decker's partner was when the officer was shot.
But officials aren't answering those questions because it's an "active" investigation. That's a policy Rosenbaum applauded, although it may well be one implemented too late.
Archive: Naming suspects in the media.
Nice Ride, the people that provide bikes for rent all around the Twin Cities, has taken down online usage statistics after some bike riders with talent figured out how to use the database to reveal personal identification about people.
"Let's say I take a bike out every morning near my house and ride it to work. My ex-wife knows I do this. She uses this information to figure out my subscriber ID because I am the only one who daily takes that bike from there and rides to the location near my work. Using my ID she looks at my other activity. She sees that I am riding places in the middle of the day. She sees that I am riding places when I told her I was out of town. She sees that I am riding around when I told her I was too sick to take the kids. She sees that I am riding to a place where I spent Saturday night and ride away the next morning. I just do not want her knowing that shit and I did not pay Nice Ride to tell her."
City Pages says the Nice Ride officials are trying to figure out how to be transparent about how the bikes are used and protect the privacy of people who use them.
In Connecticut, the world's largest mural is being assembled with the contributions of kids in all 50 states. It's designed to honor the American worker while, at the same time, teaching kids how the country was built.
St. Paul has released this video of Saturday's opening of Union Station.
As always, we apologize in advance for the time you're about to waste on the Crapomatic Gift Generator.
Bonus I: Would you wear a helmet made of cardboard when riding your bike made of cardboard? (NPR)
Bonus II: 'tis the season to reveal to everyone how much you hate your job. (May not be suitable for the easily offended)
Bonus III: One of the best airshows in rural America is the early fall crop dusting. Here's what it looks like from the air.
Bonus IV: Kevin Love tries to walk back his damning interview about the Timberwolves.
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison is among a group of congressmen who are suing to halt the use of the filibuster in the Senate. Ellison argues that the filibuster, under Senate rules, improperly blocks legislation that the House has voted on. Today's Question: Should the filibuster be changed, and how?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) - First hour: As Minnesota does its work to implement the Affordable Care Act, we'll look at one facet of health care reform: whether the state also needs a Basic Health Plan to cover people who are currently enrolled in MinnesotaCare but who might not be able to afford private insurance when health insurance exchanges go into effect in 2014.
Second hour: How can sports stadiums fit into a downtown neighborhood?
Third hour: Star Tribune restaurant critic and food writer Rick Nelson.
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): "Left Behind: Dropping Out." (Part of the CPB initiative, "American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen.")
Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) - Options for intervention in Mali. Plus, the NCAA's conference shuffle.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - One of the places where cross-ethnic connections are being made in greater Minnesota is in the schools. Northfield's TORCH program has greatly improved the graduation rate for Latino students and is a model program. What began as a conversation of concerned parents and teachers now provides mentors and tutoring for students starting in sixth grade. Volunteers help many first-generation, low-income students navigate the college application process. And the program continues track students through high schools and during their college years. MPR's Elizabeth Baier will report.
NPR reports on the staying power of Legos. That's why they call it all things considered.(7 Comments)
Why don't notable women get the same attention when they die that notable men get?
Mother Jones is asking that question today after releasing a survey of major papers -- the Twin Cities papers were not included in the study -- showing a remarkable lack of attention to notable women in obits.
The newspaper execs say pretty much what you'd expect them to say in a cringeworthy way: there aren't enough notable women.
Obituaries editors say that the percentage of women on their notable deaths lists will increase over time because women in more recent generations have had more opportunities to make an impact. "We're already seeing that happen," says the Times' McDonald. John Temple, a managing editor at the Washington Post, agrees that there will be "more women on the lists in the future."
McDonald says he's already seeing more women on the lists, but a graphical look at the last five years of New York Times notable death lists shows the number of women sometimes increasing, sometimes decreasing, while the number of men has skyrocketed, widening the gender gap.
I sent McDonald a version of the graph below, and he said that he was referring to day-to-day obituaries. "I haven't done a count."(0 Comments)
It's been awhile since anyone has waded into the "is Garrison Keillor going to retire?" discussion. Keillor invited it some years ago when he indicated he'd retire in 2013. Then a year ago he said "maybe not."
Keillor was on PBS with Charlie Rose this week.
"I think retirement is a beautiful thing and I think about it a lot," he told Rose. "But then I think how lucky I am to have this show and it's two hours every Saturday. Nobody tells me what I have to do and I work with these wonderful people. and I have all of these listeners and when I walk down the street and people recognize me, they smile, and that's really all you need in a world."
"In New York if a woman gets on a (subway) car with you and looks at you and smiles, they're not supposed to do that... I sat on a subway once... I got on a Broadway express and I was sitttng across from a woman reading a book of mine... and she was African American and she sat and read this book and she never smiled, but she kept turning the page... and I rode with her ... and it was too much tension. I got off."
"Someone from the Midwest who is used to traveling in a steel box... and the art of standing away from three other people... without making eye contact... it gives you a different..."
Well... enough of that. And on they went talking about subways and grandmothers and family, and the lack of Republicans in Saint Paul.
And that's how Garrison Keillor avoids answering the question.
He did say he might move to New York, which makes sense since his show often originates there these days.
Here's the entire interview.
The best thing about the Northern Lights -- OK, maybe the second-best thing about the Northern Lights -- is they don't make music.
If you can get past the music in this new Space.com video, you can truly appreciate the "first-best" thing.
National Geographic photographer Mike Theiss went to the Arctic Circle to find his images.0 Comments)
It was 40 years ago today that Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt became the last men to walk on the moon. Even then, space flight and moon walks were starting to get to be ho-hum affairs, but people still recognized the name Gene Cernan.
He was one of only 12 humans to walk on the moon. He's the only human who approached a moon landing twice (his first, Apollo 10, was a test of the lunar lander, but it did not land).
He's almost 79 now and pretty soon, there won't be any humans alive who've walked on the moon, and not quite as soon -- we hope -- there won't be any humans on terra firma who recall when one did. That's a fact which leads us to wonder whether a future generation will return to being awed when one does?
Whatever happened to Cernan? Funny you should ask.
Last summer over at Oshkosh, a kid from North Carolina got a free flight on a B-17 because he sold eggs to raise the money to travel to the big air show there.
Check out who greeted the kid when he got off the plane. Gene Cernan. "Dream big and go make it happen," he told the young man, almost as if he had something specific in mind.(2 Comments)
It was pretty clear by yesterday's video that Pope Benedict XVI doesn't quite have the technical details of Twitter completely clear yet.
He sent seven tweets yesterday and none since, but it was a good first step for a man his age and the Church is reportedly pretty excited about the possibility of using a new -- in the biblical years -- medium to reach a new audience.
But his cardinals and archbishops might want to wait a bit before showing the pontif the "@CONNECT" tab on Twitter, where you can see -- if not communicate with -- the people who are talking back to you.
There are the usual controversial tweets, as one might expect, but @pontifex has also become a humorous phenomenon on Twitter.
.@pontifex You know what meaning the final of Lost? You are my last hope P~L~E~A~S~E!!!— @Twiter_es (@piezas) December 13, 2012
Some of the faithful aren't happy with the reality of Twitter, however:
"It appears we had an equipment failure of some sort." -- Oil company spokesman
With the oil business comes the occasional violation of the environment. North Dakota has found that yesterday (if it didn't already know) when an active oil well east of New Town blew out and spewed oil near Lake Sakakawea.
KXNet in in Minot provided this video on its Facebook page.
The comments of the station's audience on the Facebook page indicated that people consider it an acceptable alternative to walking.6 Comments)