- The Washington Times - Friday, September 29, 2006

Nobles: Park County, Colo., Sheriff Fred Wegener, for making the tough but correct call in Wednesday’s school-shooting tragedy.

In the movies, the kind of standoffs that occurred at Platte Canyon High School end bloodily but usually happily. In real life, that’s rarely the case. When Duane Morrison entered the high school on Wednesday with two handguns, he demanded female hostages. He held six in a second-floor classroom with the intention of sexually assaulting them. Although he would eventually release four hostages, it appears he succeeded somewhat in his twisted fantasy, as all Sheriff Wegener would tell reporters afterward is: “It was pretty horrific.”

It also meant that the sheriff didn’t have the luxury of waiting Morrison out as protocol in these types of hostage crises advise. To save the girls, he ordered the SWAT team in, knowing the deadly consequences. The shootout was short but tragic. Morrison managed to kill 16-year-old Emily Keyes before turning the gun on himself.

“My decision was to either wait, with the possibility of having two dead hostages, or act and try to save what I feared he would do to them,” the sheriff said later. In the eventual fallout from that decision, there likely will be plenty of second-guessing. That’s to be expected. But it remains the correct call.

For his courageous leadership, Sheriff Wegener is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: Two conservative-bashing bloggers, who turned their differences with a political opponent into the worst sort of smear.

Regular readers of The Washington Times are likely familiar with conservative journalist Michelle Malkin, whose column runs in the Commentary section. For her efforts there and on her own Web site, Mrs. Malkin has earned a few nutty enemies. Attacks on her race (she’s Asian American) and her appearance are frequent. But what the liberal blogs Wonkette.com and Isthatlegal.com did to her this week is simply outrageous.

The writer of Isthatlegal.com, law professor Eric Muller of the University of North Carolina, criticized Mrs. Malkin’s recent column in which she bemoans the culture’s sexualization of young girls. In his “analysis,” Mr. Muller links to a picture he claims is a college-age Michelle posing suggestively for the camera in a bikini. His point is that Mrs. Malkin is a hypocrite.

Enter Wonkette.com, which posts an entry with the headline “Michelle, You Ignorant Slut” along with the picture. (By the way, all of this is supposed to be hilarious.) The problem, as anyone who doesn’t harbor some deranged hatred for conservatives can see, is that the picture is an obvious forgery. In what passes for accountability at Wonkette.com, guest editor Ken Layne shamelessly wrote, “We report, you decide.”

Just as long as everybody got a good laugh, right, guys?

For their self-absorbed smear, Messrs. Layne and Muller are the Knaves of the week.

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