There was a mass murder at a Pittsburgh Synagogue. If you read the posts on social media after that attack then you would think that guns are pure evil. Those writers seem not to know that guns save lives every day. Unfortunately, they are not alone. I’ll go further and say the average voter is only vaguely aware that ordinary citizens use their firearms to save lives every single day. Most people don’t know that firearms are life-saving tools because the US news media hides that story from us. This media distortion has serious consequences. What voters don’t know can move elections. Ignorance can cost lives.
I don’t think the media’s treatment of self-defense and mass murder is merely a subtle editorial choice as assignment editors select articles based on excitement and novelty. It’s definitely newsworthy when a gun owner stops a sexual assault. It is important to the public debate that we know a legally armed citizen successfully defended police officers who were under attack. It is compelling news when a dad stops mass murder in a fast food restaurant, not just once, but here, and here again at a park. We could go on with millions of examples.
I’d have a lot less to write about if the media would set aside its agenda and tell the whole truth. Unfortunately, many of us only know what we read in the papers.
If you search deeply enough, you’ll find that victims who defend themselves with a firearm usually save their life. In addition, they make crime more difficult and less rewarding. An armed defender makes me safer even if I don’t carry a gun. Armed defense also reduces the incidence of rape after a sexual assault. Doesn’t that seem newsworthy to you?
Saving a Family
People who use a firearm for defense might protect themselves, but the might also protect their family. That saves lives for generations to come. I celebrate their defense as I would mourn their loss if they were injured.
Stop Mass Murder
Sometimes, people who defend themselves save many lives as they stop what could be a mass murder. These events are more frequent than we would know by looking at the television, the newspaper, or from most online media. When a mass murderer is successful it is on the front page for days. The self-defense story that stopped mass murder might never make it to the last page of Section B. That editorial decision means we never hear about the mass murder that didn’t happen.
The debate over guns in the US is skewed by media distortion and by public ignorance. The public thinks TV crime dramas are real. They don’t know the real life drama where law-abiding citizens defend themselves with a firearm millions of times a year. The public never learns that firearms are effective tools in civilian hands. Citizens use guns more often than they use fire extinguishers.
The average citizen doesn’t know that US citizens with their concealed carry licenses are among the most law-abiding and non-violent group of people on the planet. That means that guns in the hands of honest citizens are extraordinarily safe. Even with that safety record, we continue with firearms safety education. The Eddie Eagle gunsafe program reached its 31 millionth child this year. Unfortunately, there were 64 fatal firearms accidents with children under 13 years of age, so there is more work to do. The number of firearms accidents continues to fall over time.
If you didn’t know that guns save lives then it makes perfect sense to restrict gun ownership. Firearms and firearm ownership only looks like a virtue after you learn that people save their lives by using their gun as a defensive tool.
The gun debate generates a lot of heated opinions. I wish the argument was over different interpretations of the benefits and costs of guns in society. We can’t have that debate until we have a common set of facts. That means we have to get unfiltered news.
I say guns save lives. Now do your own research and find out what the news media won’t tell you.