Why Did the New York Times Report This Story?

I’m currently reading John Lott Jr.’s More Guns, WAY Too Many Statistics. Wait. That’s not it. I’m reading the sequel, I’m Right About Guns, The Media’s Wrong, So Why Don’t They Just Admit It? Hang on. I’m going up to the smallest room in the house to check the actual title . . . The Bias Against Guns; Why Almost Everything You’ve Heard About Gun Control is Wrong. Almost? Spoken like a true statistician. Anyway, Lott Jr. reckons the media is fucking with people’s minds [paraphrasing] by reporting only gun violence, rather than gun defense. (Go to LearnAboutGuns.com for that action.) Lott Jr. excoriates the Times for pointless pandering to purient interest in firearms fatalities. Here’s a relevant example from yesterday’s regional Times. Two Teenagers Killed by Party Intruders . . .

Two teenagers were killed at a birthday party in the Bronx early Sunday after a group of uninvited men who had gotten into a fight at the party returned with guns and opened fire, the police and witnesses said.

Marvin Wiggins, 15, who witnesses said was shot while coming to the aid of a partygoer’s mother, was killed, as was Quanisha Marie Wright, 16, according to family and friends . . .

Witnesses said that a group of older, seemingly drunken men entered the party, at a first-floor apartment at 1776 Weeks Avenue in Tremont, and behaved inappropriately with some of the younger female guests. That prompted an argument and a fight before the men left the apartment.

Thirty minutes later, about 2 a.m., as some from the party spilled into the building’s lobby, the men returned with guns and began firing, witnesses said.

The police said on Sunday that they had no suspects.

At the risk of seeming emotionally detached and socially inappropriate, the story works for me—in the sense that it’s the kind of life-and-death drama that fascinates humans on both the rational and instinctive level.

Should the Times “balance” the story with incidents where citizens used guns to stop a crime? I’m not so sure. Simple Darwin says: if the public wanted those sorts of stories, even the liberal gatekeepers at The Gray Lady would be providing it. It’s not like the paper’s going out of business or anything . . .

I’ll tell your Mr. Lott Jr.’s take when I’m finished with his book. Unfortunately, there be charts and stats ahead. Arrgghhh.

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