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Straight Edge Vs Geraldo


06/08/05
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(Victory Records) On Sunday, June 5th, former Earth Crisis singer and current singer for Freya Karl Buechner went live on At Large with Geraldo Rivera to provide the perspective of a lifelong Straight Edger in a discussion over the recent classification of Straight Edge as a gang in Reno, NV. On board for this segment was the father of a youth murdered in Salt Lake City in 1998 (for which two Straight Edge men were convicted) and a police officer from Reno and Geraldo Rivera. In a brief segment, Buechner defended Straight Edge as a positive choice, maintaining that the mainstream media only visits the topic when something negative happens, failing to cover the issues with an even hand. While his remarks were well-received on the television segment, it was less than ten minutes long, with four guests to hear from. Such a short segment on an inflammatory topic raises more questions than it answers. Here is a statement from Karl Buechner regarding the Straight Edge movement and the events in Nevada and Utah.

A Statement from Karl Buechner:

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.

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