Also of interest are recent features from Reno Gazette Journal and Salt Lake City Weekly.
Karl Buechner (Earth Crisis/Freya):
On Sunday night, Fox News broadcasted a story on violent incidents involving Straight Edge youth in Utah and Nevada. I was one of the guests in the discussion. In Salt Lake City two Straight Edgers were sent to prison for the murder of a teen they killed in a fight. In Reno, the police arrested Straight Edgers for beating kids with bats, and they have classified Straight Edge as a gang. The screen was split four ways: with Geraldo, the father of the murdered teen, a police officer from Reno and me. In my interview I said Straight Edge has existed for 25 years, there are tens of thousands of believers who are law abiding, productive people who live clean lives and that the movement is worldwide. I went on to say that it was disappointing to me that the media only seems to come around with the cameras in the rare event that something negative happens, meaning that these violent incidents are basically a footnote to the overall Straight Edge story. As to this particular sad story, I maintained that beating someone up over an issue of disrespect is throwing your entire life away - it's a tragic end on both sides. After four years of high school you will never see these people again.
From the onset the idea was pushed that the fights happened because the Straight Edge kids attacked drinkers or smokers and I am very doubtful that it was the reason. Straight Edge is now classified as a gang in the states of Utah and Nevada as a result of these incidents. The police officer agreed with me that 90% of all Straight Edge people are peaceful and law abiding.
In my past experience, when journalists have taken the time to explore this subject in depth, the resulting coverage has been very even handed. When a film crew from CNN did a story on my former band Earth Crisis and the Straight Edge scene, they were with us for three days and that documentary came out crystal clear. The same for my interviews on MTV's anti-alcohol special "Smashed", ABC News and 48 Hours. It is important to point out in fairness to the Geraldo program that the topic was only covered for 5-6 minutes. I think it deserves a closer look.
Straight Edge is defined as a lifetime commitment to abstain from alcohol, tobacco, drugs and promiscuity. It has changed thousands of lives for the better, steering young people clear of many of society's problems."