It is a sight to behold when a journalist is so enthralled by anti-self-defense fantasy that they would contradict themselves and publicly display ignorance of the facts, especially in a newspaper nicknaming itself The Facts.
Michael Morris, assistant managing editor of the online version of the Brazosport Facts, is not happy with the Harrold school district's decision to allow trained staff carry concealed handguns on campus. Morris's editorial quickly leaps into hyperbole:
The argument is that if teachers were armed at the time these shootings started, the carnage could have been reduced or eliminated entirely. Or, some say, the idea of handguns on campus would serve as a deterrent to a would-be gunman even thinking about assaulting a school or its students.
These are fine theories put forth by those who believe every American, everywhere, at any time should be able to whip out an assault weapon, no questions asked.1
In his book The Bias Against Guns, John Lott examined the relationship between gun availability and multiple murders. He concluded:
After the Supreme Court decided that a resident of Washington D.C. has a Constitutional right to own a firearm for self-defense in the home, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California stated: "I believe the people of this great country will be less safe because of it." 1
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is one of the country's leading gun control organizations. Brady's President Paul Helmke had this to say after the Supreme Court decision: "Our fight to enact sensible gun laws will be undiminished by the Supreme Court's decision in the Heller case." 2
But what exactly qualifies as "sensible," according to Helmke? And is there any way to determine whether reduced restrictions on gun ownership makes us less safe?
For many years, the Brady Campaign has released an annual "report card," grading each state on its level of "sensible" gun laws. States with higher grades (e.g. "A") were obviously more "sensible," according to Brady; states rated "F" were apparently considered "non-sensible." 3
Past research revealed that Violence Policy Center is nothing more than a mouthpiece for wealthy elites promoting their gun ban agenda.1 Now, it appears that desperation breeds hyperbole in an attempt to win back fading support.
An article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press begins reasonably enough, discussing how applications for concealed carry permits in Tennessee have "skyrocketed over the last five years..." The article also describes general requirements for licensure and locations which restrict licensed carry according to Tennessee law.2
Sergeant Mark Haskins of the Chattanooga Police Department, who teaches a handgun training course, believes "most people are seeking to protect their property or themselves in case they come in contact with a criminal," and said "he can't remember many examples of arresting someone for a gun crime who held a carry permit.3
The Associated Press cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered pro-gun or the propaganda arm of the "gun lobby." For example, in 2006 the AP implied that the NRA was responsible for the increase in violent crime begun in 2004.1
In a recent article, the AP once again to insinuated that machinations by the "gun lobby" to sunset the Clinton gun ban may have resulted in an increased criminal use of "assault weapons"; particularly in their "discussion" of a criminal homicide which occurred last fall:
The Sept. 15 killing was remarkable in that it took place in the most innocent of settings - the fifth birthday of twin boys. But it was unremarkable in that one of the guns brandished was an AK-47-type rifle - a powerful, rapid-fire weapon that has long been used in Third World conflicts but is increasingly being used in American street fights.2
Associate Press based this article on firearm trace data:
Figures from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, obtained by The Associated Press through public records requests, show a marked increase in the number of AK-type weapons traced and entered into the agency's computer database because they had been seized or connected to a crime.3
The New Year was perhaps an hour old when a road rage incident resulted in unpleasant consequences. The Associated Press reported:
In an apparent case of road rage, a motorist shot a driver to death who threatened him with a baseball bat.1
In this incident, the attacker, Tomas Garza, first drove his automobile "aggressively", trying to hit Brian Correa's car. When both drivers stopped at a traffic light, Garza got out of his car and hit Correa's car "several times" with a baseball bat. When Correa told Garza to stop, Garza instead "began toward" Correa, at which point Correa used his handgun to defend himself, killing Garza. The police reported that Correa was licensed to carry concealed.2
San Antonio police spokesman Sergeant Gabe Trevino stated: "It was apparent to us that he was defending himself." There were "several witnesses" to corroborate Correa's story, leading the police to conclude that the shooting was justified.3
Past articles document the media’s bias against Castle Doctrine, insinuating that this enhanced self-defense law impedes investigators and handcuffs prosecutors,1 or that the right of self-defense originated with Castle Doctrine.2
Laura Whitley of ABC Houston affiliate KTRK covering a recent self-defense story where Rodney Shamlin was shot by homeowner Gary Southworth, wrote:
Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani used a recent fiasco involving one of opponent Mitt Romney’s judicial appointees to make political hay in the press:
“He had an increase in murder and violent crime while he was governor,” Giuliani said. “So it’s not so much the isolated situation which he and the judge will have to explain — he’s kind of thrown her under the bus, so it’s hard to know how this is all going to come out. But the reality is, he did not have a record of reducing violent crime.”
In response, Romney spokesman Matt Rhoades said in a statement: “It’s troubling that Mayor Giuliani would politicize this tragedy, but the fact is under Governor Romney violent crime in Massachusetts decreased…”1
Here is another example of the poorly-researched mix of fact and opinion prevalent in today’s reporting.
A recent news article covering a defensive shooting in Florida highlights media bias against Castle Doctrine law: the right of the law-abiding citizen to use appropriate force to repel an attack without first seeking to retreat.
An interesting story on Fox News tells of a Boston man who was robbed while visiting Phoenix.
First, we must remember that Boston, being part of the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, does not allow people to carry concealed firearms for personal protection. Therefore, this man was not armed, unlike concealed carry licensees from the 40 shall-issue states.1 So this is partly a story about self-defense denied, and the consequences thereof. One can also note that the leaders of the State of Massachusetts, who believe that regular, law-abiding folk should not carry concealed firearms, will not endure any personal inconvenience or liability for this unfortunate incident.
This story seems nothing more that another person's exercising his right to defend life and property, something that most people in Texas heartily support. But the lead paragraph from a Houston Chronicle article raises a warning flag:State Rep. Borris Miles, who voted earlier this year against a bill broadening Texans’ rights to defend themselves with deadly force, shot and wounded a man he said was trying to steal copper from a palatial house he is building in the Third Ward.1
The article notes that this is a success story for concealed carry, but also emits more warning signals about proper self-defense protocols:
A CBS article claims that a new gun control proposal in Congress will “require safe gun use”. Rufus Williams, Chicago Public Schools President, stated: “We’ve lost 31 children, 31 CPS students have died or have been murdered this school year and it's not OK.”1 This theme kicks off HB 2666, sponsored by Congressman Bobby Rush, who represents Illinois’ CongressionalDistrict 1, which includes Chicago.2
What CBS doesn’t mention is that Illinois already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. Brady Campaign considers Illinois to be among the best states in the country for gun control laws, giving the state an A- grade in their 2005 report card. A Firearm Owners Identification card (FOID) is required for all gun sales, and the state prohibits all concealed carry.3
Rush bases his justification for this new federal law in part on a recent tragedy where a criminal boarded a Chicago Transit Authority bus and began shooting students at a local high school. The shooter obtained the gun illegally from another person who knew the shooter’s murderous intentions. As noted above, concealed carry and private, unregistered transfers of firearms are already illegal in Illinois. Willfully being an accessory to murder is already a felony.4
A funny thing happened during the search for gun control.
Entering the keywords “gun control” at the search engine Dogpile returned the warning: “You've entered a Web search term that is likely to contain adult content.” From there, you have two choices: click on the link which allows you to “View Unfiltered Dogpile Web results with Adult Content” or select the link with “No Adult Content”.1
An examination of “adult content” results does bring up a message at the top of the page: “View adult results provided by DestinationXXX.com.”2 The search also returned 76 links on May 28, 2007, none of which, besides this reference to Destination XXX, were adult content. An inquiry to Dogpile resulted in this response:
A curious editorial appeared on the Chicago Tribune website, written by their “senior correspondent”. In keeping with a classic anti-gun-rights gambit, the author claims to be speaking for everybody besides Texas when declaring that a new debate has begun about gun control due to the Virginia Tech shooting, while attempting to stigmatize and ostracize Texans:
HOUSTON -- Much of the rest of the nation might have begun debating whether new gun-control measures are in order in the wake of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history at Virginia Tech last month. But here in Texas, a place where guns seem a part of the state’s very DNA, folks have got some other ideas.1
To bolster their hypothetical link between concealed carry and workplace violence, Brady Campaign references a paper published by researchers from the University of North Carolina:
As a result of the NRA’s shall-issue laws, companies that have not taken affirmative steps to keep guns out of the workplace and off company property have faced an increased risk of workplace violence. Indeed, a study published in May 2005 in the American Journal of Public Health concluded:
“[W]orkplaces where guns were specifically permitted were 5 to 7 times more likely to be the site of a worker homicide relative to those where all weapons were prohibited.”1
In Fall 2005, Brady Campaign published a report called Forced Entry: The National Rifle Association’s Campaign To Force Business To Accept Guns At Work. It includes the term “CCW” 17 times by the end of page 1 and contains an appendix entitled “CCW License Holders: “Law-Abiding Citizens?”1 This makes it reasonable to infer that this report is just as much an attempt to condemn right-to-carry as it is an argument against permitting qualified employees to bear arms to or at work.
Citing Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, Brady implies that workplace violence is at epidemic levels. It notes:
LOS ANGELES, January 17, 2007 - Two men arrested in connection with a stray shot that killed a 9-year-old girl in Angelino Heights were released without being charged after authorities determined the bullet that killed the girl was fired in self-defense, it was reported Wednesday.1
This case started out reasonably, though tragically. On December 22, 2006 the Los Angeles Police Department announced the arrest of “two key suspects [Cesar Zamora and Steven Castanon] connected with the shooting” of a 9-year-old girl, and their bail was set at $500,000 each. At the time, the girl was hospitalized in critical condition.2
The proposed Castle Doctrine law being considered in the Texas legislature is getting the typical Brady Campaign treatment. An examination of their tactics is a good study for any state considering the law.
Does Brady Care More About Criminals Than Law-Abiding Victims?
Brady came out against Castle Doctrine because of its impact on criminals:
“The law only changes things for the bad guy,” Mr. Ragbourn said. “The good guys already had the law on their side.”1
When I served as Mayor during the 1990’s, the Administration and Congress helped local communities fight crime by providing funds to hire more police, and making it harder for criminals to get guns. As a result, crime decreased. Over the past few years, however, the approach seems to have been switched. Now cities are often seeing less police but more guns on their streets. These new crime statistics indicate that we’re doing things backwards. – Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence1
Brady Campaign’s new spokesman seems full of high-sounding verbiage these days, but the Clinton administration’s crime policies–contrary to Helmke’s claims–fell short on crime fighting:
When righting yourself after a downturn in life, it is best to first take an honest inventory to understand how your own actions influenced the outcome. It may seem emotionally easier to blame outside influences, but professional victims do not expend any effort to improve their lot in life, expecting somebody else to straighten things out instead. This runs counter to liberty, where personal freedom is reflected by an equal amount of personal responsibility. So we need to see exactly where we stand before we plan our recovery from the 2006 elections.
When the Clouds Cleared…
In the House, 23 A-rated, NRA-endorsed representatives–17 of them incumbents–lost to F-rated challengers. (Assumes initial rating of “?” is really an “F”.) In the Senate, 5 endorsed candidates lost, four of them incumbents, for a 72% winning percentage.
(Columbia) - In Richland County alone, there have been ten murders in the past eleven days. So far the only connection is that a gun was used at each crime scene.
But some are asking if there could be another link? [sic] Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, says he believes there’s a correlation between the murders and South Carolina’s gun laws.
“Anytime we make it easier to get guns, you’re going to see an increase in gun violence,” Helmke said.
Helmke said South Carolina’s laws are some of the most relaxed in the nation because there’s no state background check and no registry that tracks the sale and ownership of all guns.1
“Those two campaigns have now come together to bring the strength of both communities, the disarmament community, and the women’s rights communities together in order to stop armed violence against women, recognizing that the disarmament conversation, too often does not involve women, and that the women’s rights movement has too often not realized the importance of taking away the weapons.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Murders in the United States jumped 4.8 percent last year, and overall violent crime was up 2.5 percent for the year, marking the largest annual increase in crime in the United States since 1991, according to figures released Monday by the FBI.
Robberies nationally increased 4.5 percent, and aggravated assaults increased 1.9 percent, while the number of rapes last year fell 1.9 percent, the report said.
“If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in, I would have done it.” – Senator Dianne Feinstein, CBS-TV’s 60 Minutes, February 5, 1995
“It will be forgotten, on the one hand, that jealousy is the usual concomitant of violent love, and that the noble enthusiasm of liberty is apt to be infected with a spirit of narrow and illiberal distrust. On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten that the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers, Number 1.
In a recent article, More Guns, More Problems, the author considers getting a concealed carry permit in her new home state, and consults some “anti-gunners” to help her decide.
This idea is just wrong, said Joshua Horwitz, the executive director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Horwitz was quick to point out that Naveed Afzal Haq, the man who shot up a Jewish community center in Seattle last month, had a concealed carry permit.
“I think the idea that these people [legal concealed carriers] don’t do any damage is wrong,” said Horwitz. “More guns equal less crime is just false.”
In 2002, the Coalition to Stop Handgun Violence (CSHV) published a report on the alleged merits of gun owner licensing, beginning with an unproven premise:
For years, polls have shown strong, stable public support for the idea of licensing access to handguns. The public intuitively understands both the concept of licensing and why it is appropriate to license people who want access to handguns.
The victim, an 11-year-old boy whose name was not released because of his age, was struck in the left wrist by a .22 caliber bullet riding the Old No. 2 Logging Co. Log Flume at the park, police said.
[Police spokesman] Winton said it appeared that someone fired the shotgun from outside the theme park and the bullet hit the child as it was falling. Winton said the bullet came from a gun that was fired at an angle.
I am beginning a new, perhaps very temporary, column as a much-needed stress-reliever from my usually ponderous research papers. Lately, I began noticing that the Associated Press is posting many articles with broken or incomplete sentences and poor grammar. After noticing Time Magazine’s April cover entitled “Drop-Out Nation,” regarding the 30% national high school dropout rate, I wondered what happened to all those undereducated victims of our socialist education system. Did they all get hired by AP? So I decided to begin posting their bloopers a la Eats Shoots & Leaves. (Please feel free to join in with your own explanation of what AP meant to say.)
Whenever I breathe even a word about guns in this space or other media outlets, I can expect a rapid-fire barrage of irate e-mails from gun advocates. I’m surprised they can afford so much free time away from keeping their firearms collections well polished.