“An elderly woman up in Brevard County learned that the hard way when her husband accidentally shot her while the two were conducting a “robbery drill,” prepping in case someone broke into their home,” NBC Miami reports. “Patricia Morris, 72, took a round to the chest during the Sunday morning exercise, courtesy of 76-year-old husband Arnold’s .380-caliber pistol. Arnold called 911 to report the shooting.” I could easiy label this tale of two elderly paranoid people screwing around with a gun in TTAG’s “Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day.” But my default position on any story involving guns is “bullshit.” This story doesn’t seem as straightforward as it seems—if you know what I meme.
First, most people don’t practice a home defense plan. I know you do and they should. And good for you and shame on them. But most people stash a gun somewhere and . . . that’s it. Second, those who do practice a home defense plan tend to be pretty careful about that whole loaded gun thing. Third, the vast majority of gun owners know not to point their gun at someone and pull the trigger.
“OK honey, you pretend to be the burglar . . .” Of course, it could be true. But you’d kinda hope (in vain) that floridatoday.com (quoted by NBC Miami_ would have a qualm or two about simply regurgitating the police spokesperson’s statement.
“They were very unfamiliar with handguns. It was a pure accident,” Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Linda Moros told floridatoday.com. “They are a very lucky family.”
Like so many news orgs chronicling gun crime, neither floridatoday.com or NBC Miami dug deeper into this story because of . . . money. Thanks to the Internet (you’re welcome) there’s not enough ad revenue for mainstream media to subsidize “real journalism.” They can’t pay reporters to traipse around town trying to find out if one old geezer tried to murder another and cover it up as an accident. Or if someone who sold an old geezer a gun should have taught his or her customer how not to shoot someone.
Read the report. Call the cops. Get the statement. Write it up. Next?
John “Death by Stats” Lott wrote an entire book about the mainstream media’s bias against guns. Lott tried to paint the press’ anti-gun bias as a vast left-wing conspiracy. In fact, it’s a lack of cash combined with simple laziness. When you’re doing paint-by-numbers firearms-related journalism, the fastest way to git ‘er done: choose from a limited number of media memes, insert facts and call it good. Or bad. And here they are . . .
Guns are inherently dangerous (accidents). Guns are too easily available (gang crime). Society needs guns (police shooting criminals). Guns should be limited (innocent people shot by guns, police shot by guns, police explaining why they haven’t stopped innocent people or policemen getting shot by guns). Guns are necessary (homeowners defending themselves). Some of our readers love guns (hunting news and views).
The Morris story fits squarely into the “guns are inherently dangerous” meme. All the other gun crime stories you encounter will fall into one of these categories—despite the fact that real life is nowhere near as tidy. For example, most “guns are necessary” home invasion are drug deals gone bad or someone trying to rip-off a drug dealer.
The only “real” question in this case: why the NBC editors decided Mrs. Morris’ injury was funny. The headline and photo reference to Naked Gun [as above] is extremely insensitive, and lame besides. The fact that the graphic and headline got through NBC Miami’s editorial filter reveals a profound inability to understand firearms significance to both sides of the gun debate.
[Note: since this post was published, NBC Miami has changed both the picture and the headline. They did not, however, take the time to get the couple’s names right.]
At the risk of Bill O-Reilly-like self-promotion, TTAG’s cynicism is different. We’re open-minded cynics. We take nothing at face value. We never stop hungering for the truth about guns, and the people who use them. We believe the unexamined gun crime story is not worth blogging. Meanwhile, don’t believe everything you read (even here). And thanks for keeping us honest.