Wednesday, August 14, 2013

‘Killer Truckers’ on TV: So how bad was it?

Last night a few of our Land Line magazine and radio crew watched “Killer Truckers” – an Investigation Discovery Channel special on serial killer truckers. From the promotional material, we expected it to be a gruesome hour.  

As Land Line writer Greg Grisolano asked in his blog earlier this week: Would “Killer Truckers” take the low road? Because seriously, have you ever seen an article or show on serial killer truckers do anything but paint the long-haul truckers as a segment full of dangerous deviants? A dark festering nest of sickos, here today, gone tomorrow to hunt and kill again?

Terry Scruton, our senior correspondent on “Land Line Now” satellite radio, thought the ominous music awful and the narration, bloody reenactments and graphic descriptions of horrible crimes committed by truckers cheesy.

One of their major sources was Ginger Strand, who wrote that “Killers on The Road” book a couple of years ago. We don’t know what her background is, but they treated her like an expert on all things trucking, which she clearly wasn’t. At one point she said “If you’re a predator, trucking is kind of ideal …”

Our managing editor Jami Jones was tuned in, too. She believes that if the producers had been able to – minus a couple of operative interviews with truckers – it would have been a start-to- finish smear campaign on the trucking industry. Any story or show that talks trash on the entire truck driving community bugs Jami, and like Terry she found some of it rearing its ugly head in this show.  

We all agreed a really low moment in the show was in the first few minutes, when the show started off asking “are predators drawn to trucking or does trucking create predators?” Nice, huh?

The show was produced by a film company called Creative Differences. Our Land Line crew attended a social media convention last fall in Kansas City, hosted by Allen and Donna Smith, OOIDA members from Citrus Springs, Fla. Several people from Creative Differences were there talking to truckers about their film project.

So what we really wanted to know is whether the interviews they scored last fall at the social media conference for truckers in Kansas City would be fairly represented.

We were skeptical how those interviews might be presented and maybe twisted and totally jerked out of context. We all concur, though, that several real trucking people successfully injected some sensible commentary into the grisly script – even though those comments at times seemed tacked on.

Desiree Wood, a trucker and blogger, pointed out it is an industry full of hard-working good people.

This message was repeated in the show’s interview with Hope Rivenburg, widow of Jason Rivenburg. Jason was murdered in his truck four years ago and robbed of $7. Hope has since picked up the gauntlet for truckers who need a safe place to park to rest and her efforts are well known among truck drivers. Her message was short, but poignant, as always.

Kudos to Allen Smith, blogger, host of the KC social convention, and host of “Ask the Trucker” Internet radio show. He got the opportunity to speak his piece, too, pointing out how important truckers are to the nation and how many fine individuals make up the trucking work force. We were glad to see that Allen’s perspective made it to the air.