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News Clash

Did ‘Gestapo’ Raid Over Unpublished NEWS Article Lead To Elderly Woman’s Death?

Above a certain age, the body is less able to cope with certain stressors. A police raid of a newspaper owner’s home over a story that had never been published is a serious source of stress.

In the general sense, none of us is guaranteed to be here tomorrow, and the older we get the more deeply that truism is felt. How much more so when someone is nearing their hundredth birthday?

But even if we’re not guaranteed tomorrow, there is always the possibility that we can manage a few more trips around the sun, even at an advanced age like ninety-eight. Unless some kind of an unexpected shock puts a sudden strain on you.

Like the police raiding your home and office, for instance.

There are two parts to this story — the fact that police raided the home of a nonagenarian is one side of it.

The special First Amendment protections that should apply to the owner of a newspaper in this context is the other side of it.

The Raid

Joan Meyer, the 98-year-old co-owner of a small Kansas newspaper, collapsed and died at her home on Saturday, a day after police raided her home and the Marion County Record’s office, the newspaper said. Meyer had been “stressed beyond her limits and overwhelmed by hours of shock and grief,” the Record said, calling the raids illegal.

Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody on Saturday defended the raid and said that once all the information is available, “the judicial system that is being questioned will be vindicated.” Police have not shared an update since Meyer’s death was announced.

Police took Meyer’s computer and a router used by an Alexa smart speaker during the raid at her home, according to the paper. Officers at the Record’s office seized personal cellphones, computers, the newspaper’s file server and other equipment. Cody also allegedly forcibly grabbed reporter Deb Gruver’s cellphone, injuring a finger that had previously been dislocated. — CBS

The Predicate For The Raid

This raid — and the seizure of electronics — acted on the authority of a warrant signed by a judge. Which is significant because in most instances, due to the federal Privacy Protection Act, information required from a newsroom is subject to a subpoena, not a search warrant.

In an unprecedented raid Friday, local law enforcement seized computers, cellphones and reporting materials from the Marion County Record office, the newspaper’s reporters, and the publisher’s home.

Eric Meyer, owner and publisher of the newspaper, said police were motivated by a confidential source who leaked sensitive documents to the newspaper, and the message was clear: “Mind your own business or we’re going to step on you.”

The city’s entire five-officer police force and two sheriff’s deputies took “everything we have,” Meyer said, and it wasn’t clear how the newspaper staff would take the weekly publication to press Tuesday night.

The raid followed news stories about a restaurant owner who kicked reporters out of a meeting last week with U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner, and revelations about the restaurant owner’s lack of a driver’s license and conviction for drunken driving. —Kansas Reflector

Her Reaction To The Raid

Joan Meyer, whose name is pronounced “Joanne,” didn’t mince words when contacted by The Wichita Eagle for a story. “These are Hitler tactics, and something has to be done.” Half a day later, she died. Joan Meyer couldn’t sleep Friday night. Eric Meyer said his mother, whose father once was town marshal, said, “Where are all the good people who are supposed to stop this from happening?” “She spent most of the day talking about things like that,” Eric Meyer said. He said he tried to tell her something good would come from the raid, such as other police departments learning they can’t conduct themselves in the same way without facing consequences. “She said, rather prophetically, ‘Yeah, but I won’t be alive by the time that happens.’ ” — Witchita Eagle

The Irony Of The Raid

The entire incident came in search or files related to certain personal information that had been ‘illegally acquired’ by the newspaper, and could cost a local business its liquor licence.

The Pentagon Papers precedent should make it clear that a newspaper is not restricted to using sources that were lawfully passed along to them… only that they themselves are not a party to any criminal acts in making them available in the first place.

More relevant to the raid is the fact that they were not acting on the information they had been given.

A confidential source contacted the newspaper, Meyer said, and provided evidence that Newell had been convicted of drunken driving and continued to use her vehicle without a driver’s license. The criminal record could jeopardize her efforts to obtain a liquor license for her catering business.

A reporter with the Marion Record used a state website to verify the information provided by the source. But Meyer suspected the source was relaying information from Newell’s husband, who had filed for divorce. Meyer decided not to publish a story about the information, and he alerted police to the situation.

“We thought we were being set up,” Meyer said.

Police notified Newell, who then complained at a city council meeting that the newspaper had illegally obtained and disseminated sensitive documents, which isn’t true. Her public comments prompted the newspaper to set the record straight in a story published Thursday. —Kansas Reflector

This story is bad enough when viewed on its own — but when seen a part of a larger trend when law enforcement blows past the guard rails designed protect individual citizens from having their rights trampled by powerful political forces with scores to settle or secrets to keep, it paints a rather bleak picture about the current state of our Republic.

Joan’s question after the raid is the one we should all be asking of ourselves about this story in particular, and the rapid moral decay of the nation more generally: “Where are all the good people who are supposed to stop this from happening?”

The activist left is counting on ordinary people to sit on their hands and wait for some undefined ‘other’ people to step up and be the change America needs. Meanwhile, they’re hard at work ‘fundamentally changing’ the country into whatever subset of Marxist dystopia they dream of turning us into.

Can you imagine what might happen if we were all to suddenly find our voices? It just might look like this:

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In our putrid, worldly culture that has turned away from God, this book is a must-read for every Christian.

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Wes Walker

Wes Walker is the author of "Blueprint For a Government that Doesn't Suck". He has been lighting up since its inception in July of 2012. Follow on twitter: @Republicanuck