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Teen to be featured in ABC segment

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Old 10-13-2013, 02:02 PM   #1
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Teen to be featured in ABC segment

Not too many 14-year-old cheerleaders pose for their Homecoming pictures with their own AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in hand.

But Blair Oaks freshman Katie Francis is hardly an ordinary teenager.

On Wednesday, she spent her afternoon in the woods of her grandfather’s farm with David Muir, the American television journalist who serves as the weekend anchor for ABC’s “World News” and co-anchor of the newsmagazine show 20/20. He also fills in for Diane Sawyer when needed.

Francis is among the youngest, and most elite, shooters in the nation. She regularly competes in a sport called the “three-gun competition” which requires participants to speed through an outdoor course while engaging targets with a rifle, shotgun and handgun.

Although her family feels the activity is safe, and even healthy, her parents’ decision to teach all of their three daughters — the youngest is 5 — to handle guns is not without controversy.When the televised newsmagazine first contacted the Francis family three months ago, their inclination was to decline the interview.

“We thought they were going to crucify us,” said Julie Francis, Katie’s mother.Eventually the news crew successfully persuaded Francis, and her husband, Chad Francis, to participate in an interview portraying their home as a place where gun safety was emphasized and respected.

Chad Francis — a former marksmanship instructor at the Ike Skelton Training Center —introduced Katie to gun safety concepts when she was 5 years old, but it wasn’t until she was a pre-teen that her interest in competitive shooting grew.

His wife was initially uncomfortable with guns in the home, but has mellowed. Julie said guns sitting on cabinets used to worry her.

Now she said: “They are only as dangerous as the person operating them. I’ve adapted pretty well to their lifestyle.”Francis recognizes some people may feel his parenting is irresponsible, but he believes kids who are introduced to gun-safety training in a matter-of-fact manner soon satisfy their curiosity.

He noted his younger daughter Sagel’s attitude toward toward touching guns in the home is: “Nope! Don’t care!”

“It’s not a mystery anymore,” he said.

The ABC news team is working on the story to open up a “conversation about guns in America,” Muir said Wednesday.The crew arrived around 1 p.m. Tuesday and planned to leave Wednesday evening.

They spent the day in St. Thomas, pulling together a sort of “Day in the Life” piece on Katie’s upbringing. They followed her to school in the morning, chatted with her sisters, filmed her as she rode the family’s utility vehicle around the farm.

And, of course, they filmed her shooting.“Katie’s story is unique in that she has not only her family, but a community, rallying behind her,” Muir said, noting that neighbors often drop off bags of empty soda cans to be used as targets.

Muir was particularly struck by the image of a pretty young girl attending a dance — and yet having a gun at hand.

“It’s this juxtaposition of images that makes Katie a charming and interesting young woman,” he said.He said she’s found a way to start a new conversation about gun safety.

“If you are taught how to be safe, and how to excel, can it set an example for others about what it means to be truly safe around guns?” he queried.

Muir added: “It’s a controversial topic, no doubt. And not every parent will agree about how they’ve raised their children. But they are determined to keep their kids safe. They hope to prove, by demystifying guns, they will help keep this country safe.”

Muir said the ABC news team is traveling around the country collecting stories about the impact of guns on Americans’ lives. Julie Francis believes the stories likely will portray a variety of situations, some tragic.

The TV episode has not yet been scheduled, but Muir said it probably will run in the next two to eight weeks.

“We’re working on any number of projects at one time,” he said.

“It’s important to find consensus on this issue of gun safety in America,” he said.From Katie’s perspective, having the news crew follow her to school was “really cool.” She said people at first didn’t quite understand what was happening and were curious.“It was definitely fun ... a new experience for me,” she said.

She said “acting natural” wasn’t so easy. She wanted to dress up for school on Wednesday, but her mom persuaded her to wear her usual jeans.“It’s difficult because you want to act like yourself, but you also want to put your best foot forward,” she added.

She believes guns are not toys and that video games teach people to disrespect weapons. “They show that it’s OK to point them at people and shoot, and it’s not,” she said. “You need to have respect for guns in the real world.”

She knows not everyone supports her parents’ decisions.“I look at it this way. For every 300 positive comments I get, I hear about two negative comments. Most people support this,” she said.

Her goal, someday, is to compete in the Olympics. But she enjoys the running-and-shooting activity — which isn’t an Olympic sport — more than pure marksmanship.“I just want to have fun,” she said. “It is definitely fun.”

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Old 10-13-2013, 02:22 PM   #2
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what a surprise
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Old 10-13-2013, 02:26 PM   #3
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Great story!
Thanks MC

I just hope they don't bunch this story with stories of death and destruction to show this young girl and her parents
as the problem instead of the solution.
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Last edited by dozer man; 10-13-2013 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 10-13-2013, 02:28 PM   #4
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Cool. But I still would expect them to portray the parents as having questionable mental capacity.
If NBC were to run the story (IF) they would be portrayed as psycho right wing extremist/survivalists or something. Maybe the next Manson family.
But I would like to watch it.
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:20 PM   #5
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Great story. Glad to see a positive media review for once. Unfortunately, may not be shown, not enough sensationalism for ratings to go up. Totally agree with her parents teaching. Young lady has a great attitude.
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:39 PM   #6
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Ah, but alas, what the final edit brings forth for us to see.
These "journalist" editorialize with every snearing comment and question.
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Old 12-22-2013, 01:14 PM   #7
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The National Media Agenda is to not report firearm's in a favorable light, period! But I'll reserve judgement until its actually aired.
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Old 12-22-2013, 06:25 PM   #8
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Great story!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Old 12-22-2013, 07:06 PM   #9
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Every parent that has a gun in their home should teach their children about gun safety. I think it's great that these parents have done this. We should all learn from this. As their mother pointed out GUNS ARE ONLY AS DANGEROUS AS THE PERSON OPERATING THEM!!
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Old 12-22-2013, 09:11 PM   #10
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I find it ironic that there is no balancing perspective on, for example, the use of motor vehicles and as a relative concern for personal safety, kids who have died, or killed others from text messaging while driving...

Cumulatively the numbers are staggering !
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Old 12-23-2013, 12:53 AM   #11
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There was a video of this young lady doing a multi firearm circuit, she's very calm, cool and accurate.
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:08 AM   #12
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The same people who say abstinence education does not work, and you can't legislate morality try to tell us what we should teach our children.
Why is it they always put the abortion clinic, AKA, planned parent hood clinics across the street from the high schools?
I don't think I've ever seen a school shooter who had parents with a proper attitude towards teaching their kids about what's really important in life.
Personal responsibility!
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:21 AM   #13
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Thanks for the post. There was also a nice story this morning on the News of a Lt in the US Army that was a past Philly cheerleader. She was honored at the game.

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Old 01-25-2014, 04:38 AM   #14
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Pretty cool!!
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Old 01-25-2014, 06:55 AM   #15
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It will air next friday. I seen the preview last night and from the preview that I seen, they are demonizing the guns. Not one mention of her shooting in competition. Just small children finding guns planted by the reporters to film what they do with them. They even film a little boy picking up a pistol and looking down the barrel and pulling the trigger. Only to say that "it didn't shoot" all while her mother is watching it on the monitor.
This is not going to go like the Francis family is expecting. I can just about guarantee that they will portray them as people on the fringe of society.
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