Yesterday, Columbus, Ohio TV station WBNS-10TV ran a report on their TV channel and website about the nearly 12 year-old mass shooting at the Alrosa Villa night club. We’re not going to link to the story – it’s easy enough to find if you really want to. The 10-minute video report shows grainy video footage of Nathan Gale rushing the stage with his gun drawn during a Damageplan concert on December 8th, 2004, executing Pantera and Damageplan guitarist Dimebag Darrell and three others before he was killed by officer James Niggemeyer. There’s also audio of 911 calls, video footage of the crime scene afterwards and some relatively graphic photos, including one of Gale’s body and photos of his blood-streaked gun. Those photos are also archived on the station’s site. In addition, there’s an interview with Alrosa Villa owner Rick Cautela, who shows the camera crew where he led Vinnie Paul and others while the massacre continued. It also interviews Niggemeyer, who said he still suffers from PTSD after killing the gunman with a single shot.
While the station uses the Orlando nightclub massacre from last year as a reason for delving into the 11 1/2 year-old tragedy, many are crying foul about it, claiming that it’s exploiting Dime’s death and picking at a scab that’s barely healed over the years. Among those affected by it were Pantera and Damageplan producer Sterling Winfield, who posted the following on his Facebook page, which he sent to the GM of the TV station:
“Life must be pretty boring there in Columbus. That is the best you can do for news right now?! Clickbait from an almost twelve-year-old murder?! You people are most definitely part of the problem in this country. Drudging up the past and upsetting the family and friends of these people all over again must be incredibly rewarding and spiritually enlightening for you or you wouldn’t have approved it. Aren’t you glad you went to college so that you could learn how to report ‘news’ just like all of your heroes over at the National Enquirer? But I guess that’s why you’re still stuck in Columbus. People that trust and support their news providers deserve more than this two-bit, hack journalism. All I know is that you get back what you put out in the universe. I truly wish that for you and yours there at WBNS.”
Eyehategod drummer Jimmy Bower asked Blabbermouth, who reported on the photos, to take their post about the story down. And many of the comments on the Facebook page of the station question why they chose to show pictures of a dead body and sensationalize the massacre. Some are from those that were there that night, who are upset about having terrible memories dredged up. Of course there’s a morbid curiosity about this, but the footage is truly hard to watch. Dime meant a lot to many people, and the shock of hearing about how he was died comes right back upon viewing the footage, and listing the name of funds for Dimebag and security guard Erin Halk doesn’t necessarily make everything better.