NBC Takes Aim at Right to Defend Yourself
As more and more states recognize the basic right to defend yourself NBC’s Today, not surprisingly, took a dim view. On this morning’s Today, Ron Mott in a segment headlined by the graphic: "License To Kill, Self-Defense Gone Too Far," Mott slanted his story with alarmist rhetoric and unbalanced talking heads.
Matt Lauer introduced the story: "Now a debate. How far can you go in the name of self-defense? In a growing number of states people have much more leeway to use deadly force. Supporters say that's a good thing but critics argue it's a case of shoot first and ask questions later. We have more on this now from NBC's Ron Mott."
Mott then began the segment portraying the right-to-self-defense laws as a path to anarchy: "Has the 'Wild, Wild West,' gone South?" Mott went on to air three talking heads opposed to the laws including two supposed "victims" of the self-defense to just one talking head from the NRA. Mott could’ve interviewed any number of ordinary men and women that have protected themselves and/or property against criminals but didn’t, thereby humanizing the anti-self-defense law side. Mott then continued to scaremonger: "Many opponents fear the laws could actually encourage some people to settle minor disputes with deadly force, allowing claims of self-defense to over power what some critics say could be criminal intent."
The following is the full transcript of the segment:
Matt Lauer: "Now a debate. How far can you go in the name of self-defense? In a growing number of states people have much more leeway to use deadly force. Supporters say that's a good thing but critics argue it's a case of shoot first and ask questions later. We have more on this now from NBC's Ron Mott."
[Graphic: License To Kill, Self-Defense Gone Too Far?
Ron Mott: "Has the wild, wild west gone south? Rather than run away this Florida prostitute shot and killed a 72-year-old customer with his gun when he got up to answer the phone. Self-defense, no charges. In West Palm Beach."
[Woman: "I never dreamed it was gonna be my son."]
Mott: "This woman's son was killed by a cab driver."
[Woman: "'If you don't get out of my cab I'm gonna kill you.'"]
Mott: "The cabbie says he killed Jimmy Morningstar in self-defense but he still faces murder charges. That's because the shooting happened before the passage of a new state law saying force can be met with force whether at home or in public."
[Chris Cox, National Rifle Association: "You can either run or if you think the best way to survive the attack is to defend yourself you have that option."]
Mott: "14 states, nearly half in the traditional South, followed Florida's lead last October expanding self-defense laws, most offering immunity from prosecution. Many opponents fear the laws could actually encourage some people to settle minor disputes with deadly force, allowing claims of self-defense to over power what some critics say could be criminal intent. Like this case in Kentucky where a man was beaten to death with a lamp. He'd been invited in thinking he was collecting a drug debt."
[Cara Newberg, victim's sister: "Is basically saying anybody can come in your home and if you feel like killing them, if you have a grudge against them or anything you can do this and get a way with it."]
Mott: "The prosecutor settled for a plea bargain to a lesser charge, fearing a jury acquittal."
[Bob McCulloch, proscutor: "You have an absolute right to defend yourself and your property and others from aggression using whatever force is necessary up to and including deadly force but there has to be a review of those circumstances to make sure that, that is appropriate."]
Mott: "Self-defense under review and in the line of fire. For Today, Ron Mott, NBC News, Fayetteville, Georgia."