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ABC's Sawyer Asks Sheriff if He's 'Concerned' People Have 'Guns Right by the Side'

ABC's Diane Sawyer acted more concerned than the reporter on the scene on Monday's Good Morning America over a small town in South Carolina arming itself against a serial killer. She asked the local sheriff: "The community has apparently been arming up and we're reading that ammunition is selling out at some of the stores. How concerned are you that people are standing at their doorways with guns right by the side?"

ABC News correspondent Jeffrey Kofman filed a report from Gaffney, South Carolina six minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour on the five murders apparently perpetrated by the same suspect over the course of a week during late June/early July. After stating the community was "reeling over events of the last week, and it's not overstating to say that people here are terrified," Kofman highlighted how people in the Southern small town "left lights on and doors locked. This small South Carolina town is living in fear- and it is arming itself."

The correspondent unemotionally interviewed a local small business owner, who bluntly admitted that he was armed:

ROBERT IRVIN, JEWELRY STORE OWNER: We've got guns pretty much everywhere. I've got a gun in the truck, and I'm carrying a gun right now.

KOFMAN (off-camera): You've got one on you?

IRVIN: I've got one on me right now. I've got a .25 automatic with me right now. I'm going to be ready. You have no idea. You've got to be ahead of this man.


Minutes later, Sawyer played a taped interview she did with the local sheriff. Near the end of the interview, she asked her "gun right by the side" question:

SAWYER: As we reported, the community has apparently been arming up and we're reading that ammunition is selling out at some of the stores. How concerned are you that people are standing at their doorways with guns right by the side?

BLANTON: The people that I've spoke to, they're concerned. Some are fearful, surely, and they have a right to be concerned, but- the ones that I spoke to said they're not going to let this man- and- and I send this message that we don't- we're not going to let this man put us in a bottle, in a prison, and- and dictate our lives on what he does next. We're just trying to keep all innocent people safe, and like I say each day, this task force is getting a little bit closer, we think.

SAWYER: Well, we hope you are closer still every minute, and that we have better news soon. Thank you so much, Sheriff Bill Blanton.

Sawyer must not be familiar with the independence and self-reliance found in many people in small-town America.

- Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.