Sunday, August 16, 2009

Way to Go GUS!...

This is a note of CONGRATULATIONS to 72 y/o Charles (Gus) Augusto, the Harlem store-owner who was forced to shoot four armed intruders with a shotgun the other day, as they beat one of his employees, J B Hall, killing two of them and wounding the other two.
Mr. Augusto has expressed regret that he “couldn’t talk them out of it” (the robbery), yet that didn’t stop some in the media from siding with the thugs and against the store-owner.
NY Daily News writers, Barry Paddock, Alison Gendar and Corky Siemaszko wrote, “Born in Yonkers, Augusto said he is the father of two other children and has been married for 48 years. A registered Republican, he said he learned how to handle a gun while serving in the Coast Guard...While Augusto’s store is far from swanky, a police source said, “He did a large cash business.” He earns enough to have an $880,000 mansion in a secluded Westchester neighborhood.”
Apparently any success at all makes one a “greedy, capitalist pig” to some journalists.
That entire line was designed to slime the real victim in this case (Gus Augusto) by political affiliation (“a registered Republican”) and base class envy (“He earns enough to have an $880,000 mansion in Westchester”), as IF Mr. Augusto didn’t have a right to be an independent thinker (a/ka/ “registered Republican” in a town that’s over 80% registered Democrats) or a right to some measure of success (ie. that $880,000 “mansion” in Westchester”).
Worse yet, it’s not merely biased “journalism” but it’s misleading, inaccurate and factually challenged “journalism” as well.
Turns out that the average house price in Westchester County is $635,000, similar to home prices on Staten Island and Queens NY. So, though slightly above the median home price, Mr. Augusto’s home seems FAR from a “mansion” by any stretch of the imagination.
As IF the Daily News “writers” didn’t know this! Right, like they didn’t know that the $880,000 price tag they trumpeted about Mr. Augusto’s Westchester home would buy an 850 square foot Co-OP in their own town of very swanky Manhattan!
Why does the media continue to do this?
Here they smear a hard-working 72 y/o businessman, a man who like his workers, people like J B Hall, served their community every day, far greater than any or all of the four thugs who attacked them ever did.

You done good Gus!


Earlier today (Thursday, August 27, 2009) I received an email from Corky Siemaszko of the NY Daily News both defending the News position and explaining that the facts were what were they were and that they did not intentionally slant the story one way or another.

Corky’s email read:

Hey, just was directed to your blog:
Kudos to you for embracing the web to get your point out. Agree or disagree, it's good to debate the big issues of the day.

But I have to tell you it was a leap to suggest that mentioning in the Augusto story that this guy was a registered Republican was some kind of smear. It's just a fact.

If he was a registered Democrat, we would have slapped that into the paper.

Also, we had a reporter eyeball his house. And while you are correct that shacks in Westchester are worth a fortune these days, this guy has a sweet spread in a very nice neighborhood.

Anyway, best of luck to you in your writing and stay safe on the job.

Corky Siemaszko
New York Daily News

I was both touched and humbled by Corky’s reaching out to explain the writer’s viewpoint and I responded:

Hi Corky,

I want to be fair, as well and I will make an addendum to my post based on your email.

First, I DO very much appreciate your taking the time to respond to me. I also believe agree or disagree it's always good o have more communication that less, in fact I think more thought is stimulated by exchanges between those who disagree than anything else.

I was admittedly unpleasantly surprised when I read the article in question, in that after it chronicled the families of the thugs who were shot extolling what "great guys they all were and how they planned to attend College in the Fall", Mr. Augusto was described, a least in NYC parlance, in a most unflattering way - "registred Republican (in a City that's over 2/3s registered Democrat), I am a registred Democrat myself, albeit one that is "to the Right of the great Zell Miller.") and living in a "Westchester mansion!"

Let's be honest about this, that reportage certainly appears designed to perculate class envy and a sense of alienation toward Mr. Augusto - a "registered Republican," doing "a large cash business and living in a mansion in a secluded Westchester neighborhood," alienates Mr. Augusto and serves to make him appear less sympathetic than he (the real victim in all this) should to most of those who'd read that piece.

My question is why?

Is it the idea that violent self defense is "as wrong and arbitrary as thuggish violence?"

If so, I must state that I feel that that is an absolutely indefensible position.

Colin Ferguson's LIRR rampage should show that when guns are strictly prohibited only the thugs have guns. Had another rider had a gun that day, it's more than likely that Colin Ferguson would've been cut down early on and many INNOCENT lives (Ferguon's would not count as an "innocent life" since he CHOSE to be the aggressor in that scenario) almost certainly would've been saved.

Same here, IF Mr. Augusto hadn't had that shotgun, OR if that gun didn't work, it was more likely than not that all of the people in that store that day may have been killed.

I know you all were merely doing your jobs reporting on this story, and you probably see me as overly sensitive about this, but the tone and tenor of that article made a very clear statement AGAINST the rightful actions of Mr. Augusto, who certainly saved the life of J B Hall and perhaps others...and that de facto becomes a statement IN FAVOR of the view that the thugs who were shot, were "driven to criminality by an unjust society" short espousing an old Left-wing lie that "we ae all responsible for driving the 'dispossessed' to lives of crime and violence."
One of the worst things about violent crime is its dysgenic function...that is, invariably, the victims of violent crime tend to be far more productive than the perpetrators. That's true whether it's a case like this, the LIRR rampage or the murder of Ted Ammon by a each case, more productive people are eliminated by less capable and less productive people and that diminishes us all and weakens society - Ted Ammon was far more productive than Danny Pelosi and Ammon's wife, just as Mr Augusto and J B Hall were both more producive than any of their attackers.

If the reverse were occurring, waves of more productive people slaughtering primarily non-productive victims, the criminality and immorality would be equal, but there would be NO/ZERO dysgenic impact on society oingg forward.

But, of course, we don't have that and have never had that. Instead we have what we've always had, the non-productive and most limited among us harming us all by eliminaing members far more productive and capable than themselves.

I just think the article was decidedly unsympathetic and unfair to the realvictims of this crime (Mr. Augusto and J B Hall) and, as a result, somewhat sympathetci toward the thugs in question.

Again, I VERY MUCH appreciate your contacting me and adding your insights. I will add an addendum to this post.

My very best regards,


I don’t believe disagreement is at all bad. In fact, I think far more thought is provoked by clashes of disagreement than with harmonious agreement. I greatly appreciate Corky taking the time to reach out and defend the New York Daily News’ position and set the record straight from their end.


namaste said...

excellent post, jmk. the ny daily news has become such garbage. i'm still amazed with what the writers of that rag are allowed to get away with.

way to go gus!

JMK said...

The guy who was getting pistol-whipped by one of the thugs (J B Hall) had no sympatthy for the rats who were beating and may well have killed Hall, Augusto and another employee inside the store.

What botered me was the blatant class envy-based bias, noting that Mr. Augusto was "a regisstered Republican" (who cares???...and what doew THAT have to do with the story???'s unethical editorializing), then, after delving into comments from the families of the thugs (all claiming what great guys they were and how they were planning to attend College in the Fall), they quote an "unnammed police source" in claiming "though Mr. Augusto's store is far from swanky he allegedly did a large cash business that allowed him to have an $880,000 mansion in a secluded Westchester neighborhood."

More unethical editorializing, made even worse by the fact that it was virtually entirely false.

ALL of Westchester County is "secluded" compared to Manhattan.

The median home price in Westchesster County today is $635,000....let's say, for the sake of argument that the three stooges who wrote this piece weren't quoting 2005 prices (when Westchester homes averaged closer to $750,000, and that indeed Mr. Augusto's home would fetch $880,000 today. OK, with a median home going $635,000, his is hardly much above the median Westchester home price. Besides, a man who worked thi business with his father andha been Married for 48 years, it's more likely than not, that Mr. Augusto bought thi home several decades ago, when home prices up there where probably closer to $40K or $50K.....BUT what does any of THAT have to do with this incident...and how does Mr. Augusto's being a "registered Republican" living in Westchester make him a "bad guy"???

It doesn't!

But it's a cute way for a bunch of cynical Manhattan dipshits to smear a guy who's creating jobs and doing business in a depressed area as a "greedy, capitalist pig."

You're right about the Daily News Maria, Long Island's Newsday is just as bad.

Still they have to called on this....I've written their editor, not that I doubt that he/she is on the very same page....I just want them to know that most of us are NOT.

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