Tahlequah Daily Press

February 6, 2013

Self-defense media coverup is a big myth


TAHLEQUAH — The rhetoric being tossed about between the factions in the so-called “gun control” debate is getting too heated, and folks on both sides of the divide need to cool it down.

Those who oppose any kind of control on guns, or any new impositions on registration or background checks, can cite a number of statistics to bolster their claim that the stripping of freedoms will do nothing to save lives. Those demanding various levels of restriction have other data in their arsenal. In both cases, many of the “facts” range from mildly deceptive to downright fabrication.

One patently false claim some folks like to make is that the “liberal media” has consistently refused to print stories about heroic Americans who have defended their families against aggressors with guns. Sometimes the would-be assailants are killed; other times, they are merely winged, tried for their crimes, and whisked off to prison. The common thread is a nationwide media campaign, across all platforms and at every level, to suppress news about law-abiding citizens who have successfully used firearms for self-defense.

Especially for community newspapers and smaller TV and radio stations, this assertion is absurd. Such stories would make front-page news under bold headlines, topping the hour for each news broadcast for the next few cycles. This unfolding story would sell reams of newsprint, and prompt hundreds of listeners to tune in. It would make no sense, in terms of revenue, to suppress a homegrown story like this one – especially in this part of the country. Reporters would be clamoring to interview the brave defender and his family, asking them how they “felt” during the entire episode.

There have been a few cases like this in Cherokee County, and the Press has always reported them, just as vigilantly as we report shootings spurred by less valiant motives. That’s our job, and that’s what readers want to see.

So when people claim the “liberal media” is engaging in a cover-up of heroes’ tales, perhaps they’re really saying the cops are withholding information from the Fourth Estate. That would be the only way most media outlets we know of would fail to have the information in the next broadcast, or next day’s edition – along with plenty of eyewitness commentary, reader and viewer polls, and one-on-one interviews, as well as videos and online updates.

The truth is, there hasn’t been much of that type of news to report as advocates would like to think. And as rational human beings, we can only hope the trend continues, because we’d rather decent people not have to be put in a position to shoot anyone, for whatever reason. That type of thing stays with you forever, even when the target is a “bad guy.” Just ask any combat soldier.