Kirk Siegler, a national desk correspondent for National Public Radio, is making his way around our part of the country this week.
Siegler has been spending time in Aztec, Durango and Albuquerque to do follow-up stories on recent school shootings. He is looking at the aftermath of the Dec. 7 shooting at Aztec High School. A gunman, William Edward Atchison, entered the high school that morning and killed two students before taking his own life.
The school shooting received little national media attention. But Atchison’s reported connection with alt-right groups put him in the spotlight.
Siegler is “investigating how the response to the shooting may help inform the national debate over guns at the moment,” according to NPR.
Good morning, I’m back in New Mexico, this time northern NM, to follow up on a rural school shooting late last year that received scant attention in the national press pic.twitter.com/cNgPAz8hV8— Kirk Siegler (@KirkSiegler) March 6, 2018
The NPR reporter interviewed AHS history teacher Fritz Polk about his experience during the shooting. Siegler tweeted that Polk “supports banning certain assault style weapons & bump stocks but he doesn’t think gun control is the answer to America’s gun violence epidemic.”
In his manifesto, the gunman targeted history teacher Fritz Polk’s classroom, and died right where he is standing today, as the community has tried to recover & focus again on ... school pic.twitter.com/wKBI7Cgjxz— Kirk Siegler (@KirkSiegler) March 7, 2018
Siegler tweeted about talking with the school’s students to learn their views about violence and gun safety. Two students told him they worry that “no policy changes will happen nationally after the recent spate” of school shootings.
Watch: Mendieta & Gifford were steps away from the gunman on December 7 in Aztec, NM pic.twitter.com/SPslreQIOw— Kirk Siegler (@KirkSiegler) March 7, 2018
Siegler, who is based in Los Angles (but, hey, he’s a University of Colorado alum), covers the “urban-rural divide,” which he explains as “the intersection between urban and rural life, culture, and politics.” He talks a lot about that particular “beat” in a profile Columbia Journalism Review published last year.
“You’re probably lately going to be hearing more from the rural areas than the urban areas. But I think (the urban-rural divide) is sort of a popular political term right now, and it’s something that resonates with a lot of people,” Siegler told CJR.
One of Siegler’s most recent stories about rural areas focused on a small ski resort in Idaho and the loss of ski clubs. He also has recently reported on ranchers in rural southern New Mexico and their battles with the federal government and public land, and about how one year after President Donald Trump took office, “some in the rural West still feel a disconnect with Washington.”
Siegler will drop by KSUT Public Radio station in Ignacio on Thursday morning, where he will go on air at 9 a.m. with music director Stasia Lanier to talk about his school shooting story and what he learned from spending time in Aztec the last couple of days. You can listen to the live interview at 89.3/90.1 FM in Durango and La Plata County; 88.1 FM in Farmington and northwest New Mexico and 106.3 in Montezuma County or online at ksut.org.