Your front page article on Nov. 4 quotes the report as simply stating “The (target) setup (for the Grand Valley State University Public Safety Department) had been approved by the NORGC ...”
The quote puzzled me because the statement is untrue. No member of the NORGC was present at our outdoor range on Sept. 29 to supervise, oversee or approve any part of the Grand Valley State University Public Safety Department’s training.
The quote in question is contained in the report, on page 2 of Sgt. Nate Doornbos’ interview with Detective Jason Kik (paragraph 1, line 4). His statement is false. It is true that two of our members, volunteer range safety officers, were present at our outdoor range at different times that morning. One stopped at the range shack (adjacent to the rifle range) to check a calendar, and left. The other was doing maintenance at the adjoining pistol range, an area physically separated from the rifle range by an earth berm several feet high. By Oct. 3, when Sgt. Doornbos was interviewed, he was undoubtedly worried about what happened on Sept. 29 during training he was conducting. His statement, as quoted, to Detective Kik was a transparent attempt to implicate the NORGC in the troubles his training caused.
I do not fault the Tribune for referencing the statement in the report. I fault the Tribune for merely repeating the statement in the report, and failing to identify it as a quotation from Sgt. Doornbos. This approach transforms Sgt. Doornbos’ statement into the conclusion of an official investigation, cloaking it was the suggestion of indisputable truth. This is particularly egregious, as repeating Sgt. Doornbos’ statement in this way supports his apparent attempt to foist responsibility for the breakdown in safe training procedures on our club without the Tribune checking the statement for its factual accuracy. This is an error requiring correction.
Whatever mistakes or breakdowns in the Grand Valley State University Public Safety Department training that caused injury and property damage to our neighbors, neither the outdoor range, nor our members had any part in it. The Grand Valley State University Public Safety Department should be spending less energy circling the wagons, and more on owning the multiple problems their action created, and working to resolve all the difficulties they created.
— Mark H. Welch, president/North Ottawa Rod and Gun Club
(Editor's note: The public safety department at Grand Valley State University is called the GVSU Police Department)