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Does Carrying A Pistol Make You Safer? NPR’s Morning Edition asked this morning. [Click here for the written version.] Right from the git-go, John Burnett’s report (the first of two) reveals his bias. He describes the people attending a Texas Gun Works training class as “mostly white guys.” The casual aside reflects the usual anti-gun media maven’s perspective: people who carry guns are paranoid racist rednecks. Just in case you think I’m being paranoid, here’s a quote Burnett chose to typify the average [white] Americans’ motivations for concealed carry . . .

“I pay attention to different people, weird people, maybe stereotype people,” says Sam Blackburn, a diesel mechanic from Georgetown, Texas, who attended the firearms fest in an NRA cap. He carries a 9 mm Smith & Wesson.

What is he looking for, specifically?

“Gangbanger-looking guys, maybe guys that look like they’re up to no good or somebody that may think they’re a Muslim extremist or something like that,” Blackburn says.

And speaking of paranoid . . .

Executive Director Robyn Sandoval says carrying a handgun has become an extension of motherhood, a way to protect her children.

“Family situational awareness is a big deal,” she says. “When we go to a restaurant, my 9-year-old [is thinking] who looks suspicious? What are people doing? What’s an anomaly. Let’s point out people in their cars. We make a game of it, of who can find somebody in their car just sitting there.”

This is a major anti-gun rights hit piece. Texas-based reporter John Burnett carefully selected the material he needed to let The People of the Gun hoist themselves by their own petard. The warm-up — people who carry guns are nuts — is bad enough. The pitch – shooting someone f*cks you up forever – is worse.

“Carrying a gun contains the implicit threat that you’re going to kill someone,” reporter Burnett pronounces, by way of introduction to three Detroit-area defensive gun uses. Not stop the threat (most defensive gun uses end without a shot fired). Kill someone.

Example one: Darrell Standberry, a man who shot and killed a carjacker.

Standberry went to counseling. He became fearful of gas stations. And he carried the burden of killing a 19-year-old.

“You know why? Because my son was 19 at the same time. It really bothered me that I had to take a 19-year-old’s life. His life was just beginning. But he was into the wrong things. To this day, I still ask God for forgiveness,” he says.

Example two: Alaina Gonville, open carrier and robbery victim.

“I got shot with an AK-47, and it basically blew my arm off. It was dangling. I carried it into the hospital. After four surgeries and a lot of prayer it’s healed about 70 percent,” she says.

Did she think that having a handgun that night saved her life or endangered her more?

“That’s a good question. I replayed the situation in my head over and over. I can’t say, but I’m glad I had it,” she says.

Example three: Tatiana Rodriguez, the woman who shot at shoplifters fleeing a Home Depot

In Michigan, it’s illegal for a citizen to use deadly force to stop a property crime. Rodriguez got 18 months of probation for reckless discharge of a weapon and had her gun license revoked. She thinks the punishment would have been harsher, but the cops caught the shoplifters after she shot out their tires.

Her story got lots of news coverage. It turned into a case study of when not to use your pistol.

“It was not my intention to do anything wrong. I was just trying to help somebody who really needed it. And it backfired on me. So what do you learn? It’s like you have to think a lot before you help somebody,” she says.

So Burnett somehow managed to find three examples of defensive gun uses that left gun owners traumatized. And not ONE example of someone who saved themselves and/or their family from violence without any regrets. That friends is the worst sort of cherry-picking.

Burnett’s mask only fully slips once: “Not only are most handgun carriers in America totally unprepared for a gunfight, but gun-control activists hasten to point out that more guns lead to more suicides and accidental shootings.” A link to the virulently anti-gun rights Violence Policy Center? Who could’ve seen that one coming?

To his credit, Burnett quotes this author in a way that puts the pro-gun rights side in its proper perspective:

In search of handgun permit holders, I drove out to the Texas Firearms Festival, an outdoor gun extravaganza held near Austin where firearms fanciers get to shoot everything they see.

“If you’re in Paris and you see people coming with AKs into your rock concert, that sucks. But it sucks worse if you’re unarmed,” says festival producer Robert Farago. “I’m not saying that being armed is gonna save your life, but at least you have an effective tool to mount some kind of defense.”

It’s the only part of the piece that makes perfect sense. Except the fact that NPR allowed Burnett to appeal to their anti-gun audience with anti-gun agitprop. I can hardly wait for part two.

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  1. It is refreshing when they run a segment that is not entirely about diversity/racism and or the arts:-)

    • They couldn’t do a story about a church picnic without adding the racism or equality angle.

      I listen to NPR when I want to start my day pissed off.

    • Same as the old saw about the New York Times headline about Ragnarok: “World ends in fire and ice: women, minorities hardest hit.”

  2. I listen(ed?) to NPR (local station plays a LOT of classical music)…occasionally I hear some drivel like the above and it leaves me seething a bit…

    I’m just glad Robert got an *intact and in context* comment into the broadcast.

  3. Maybe I mid heard it when it aired this morning but I disagree in part with what you say. You seem to be spinning this as much your way as you claim he is.
    His statement about mainly white men was not racist but fact. My class was all white men and women. Fact.
    His conveyance of folks perspective was more of how they ate more aware of their surrundings..not paranoid.
    He also stated right at the start that he was expecting it to be a bunch of guns players and he found out they were just the opposite.
    He remarked about the fact that the class taught that pulling your gun is a life changing event and the reasons why such ad arrest and firearm confiscation. These are also facts. His tone was one of surprise at how the gun rights activists are not a bunch of wannabes sheriffs but rather most are thoughtful responsible citizens from mechanics to mothers.
    I and I bet you also are much more aware of who is around you. That is not racist. That is being smart.

    • I’m sure its a bit of both – like most anti-gunners who actually go and “see it for themselves”, he *was* pleasantly surprised at the lack of angry rednecks.

      However, old prejudices die hard, and much of his verbiage still tracks with the narrative of “ignorant old white guys” even though the reality he witnessed was just the opposite.

      I call this article a net win. Even if people still decide to shoehorn us into ignorant stereotypes, this helps erode some of that ignorance. For the group that define their reality by the standard of “Well because NPR said so”, they now have it direct from their prophet that many gun owners are well trained and civil.

    • “His statement about mainly white men was not racist but fact. My class was all white men and women. Fact.”

      Ah, but that’s not exactly the way that works. If I went to a watermelon stand and publicly remarked about how all the patrons were black, would I be reporting facts, or would I be making a racist statement? The fact that I mentioned it at all would be all the indication in the world most would require that I was making a racist statement.

      The race of the attendees was mentioned not because it was actually relevant and crucial to the topic, but because that picture contributes to the message NPR likes to deliver. Can the same story be told without the side note of the overwhelming majority of the races involved? Heck, let’s do the same story about electrician classes in that same geographical area. Let’s do the same story about accounting classes. Are we still looking at a bunch of white guys? Is race important to mention in that story, or is it purposeful stereotyping?

      • True, but these are the people who see reasons to ban guns in their toast in the morning.

        I think the piece is fairly balanced, though it’s fair to say it’s definitely slanted against gun owners.

        At least he points out we’re the safest we’ve been in a while instead of the “age of violence” crap. 🙂

      • All in all, it was about 100000000000% (I could be off by a factor of 10 or so) less anti-gun than a typical (non-gun related) episode of the Diane Rehm show. For NPR, that was a major win.

    • I agree with OP: I heard it this morning and thought it was about fair as NPR can be on guns. That’s not to say it was a glowing picture of the responsible 2A crowd, but it was fair and reasonably accurate. I missed the segment on the 3 folks that have experienced gunfire, so that sounds a little more skewed; however, if you asked me to name 3 folks that have been in DGUs of responsible and legal means, even with the NRA’s Armed Citizen articles as a reference, it would be challenging to name them and track them down for an article.

      I listen to NPR on the morning commute since I’m not ready for the hard rock station. It’s a recap of the news, and often highlights 2A issues in a terrible light, to the point that I switch stations. Today was not that case.

      • Sign up to podcast of Dennis Prager for 5$ a month and you have 3 hours per day of great thoughtful conservative content to listen to in both directions of your commute.

  4. Ugh. Glad RF’s comments weren’t completely butchered. I would rather have an option to fight on even ground rather than be helpless.

      • Did they? Good news, if true.

        ETA: found this on wikipedia:

        “…in 2012 10.9% of the revenues for Public Radio came from federal sources.”

        So mostly privately-funded now. Still a left wing propaganda machine. Ugh.

        • Also found this: “and the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). In 2009, member stations derived 6% of their revenue from federal, state and local government funding, 10% of their revenue from CPB grants, and 14% of their revenue from universities.”

          I suspect there’s a lot of hide-the-sausage going on with exactly where NPR funding is actually coming from, with a lot of it coming from education, state, federal and local agencies, and money from other federally-funded non-profits that then pay to support NPR.

          The non-profit and grant systems in this country are huge graft machines.

  5. Correlation does not equal causation……..while firearms are used in approx. 50% of U.S. suicides…….statistics often fail to point out that the victims had been listening to N.P.R. 100% of the time.

    • Guns are irrelevant to suicide. It’s just an easy method.

      In Japan, civilian guns are non-existent and even swords are regulated to one degree or another, yet they have a suicide rate that is nearly twice that of the US.

  6. Texas Gun Works training class as “mostly white guys.”******** Considering that blacks, with 12% of the population commit over 50% of all murders ( with a firearm being their method of choice), It’s highly doubtful there would be a high percentage of blacks attending !!!!

  7. What is a “handgun permit”? I have a permit to carry a concealed pistol but I guess the writer is referring to The Bill of Rights? That’s the only “gun permit” I can think of, at least in my somewhat free state.

    • Here in NY state, (not the city either) I was unable to legally handle a handgun or pistol, or the ammunition for same, without a permit.

    • “petard |piˈtärd|
      noun historical
      a small bomb made of a metal or wooden box filled with powder, used to blast down a door or to make a hole in a wall.
      • a kind of firework that explodes with a sharp report.
      hoist with (or by) one’s own petard have one’s plans to cause trouble for others backfire on one.[from Shakespeare’s Hamlet ( iii. iv. 207); hoist is in the sense ‘lifted and removed,’ past participle of dialect hoise (see hoist) .]
      ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: from French pétard, from péter ‘break wind.’” my dictionary

  8. Happily I have NEVER listened to NPR. That I am aware of. What sort of “ratings” to they get? Oh wait-it doesn’t matter if you’re “public”. Like PBS-run hit pieces on the NRA and gun rights and beg for my $…

  9. While you have to remember the natural inclination of the NPR is to hit the left side of every target that occurs to them to aim at. You should listen to their list of sponsors at the end of a broadcast, you will find most of them are far to the left if you google them. When you consider their natural point of aim is off to the left and the money pulls them further to the left, It is a wonder when they hit the target at all! At one point my former Congressman suggested that right leaning sources try funding them enough to pull them back to the center, but that was clearly never going to happen. He is still an interesting guy to listen to and his books on history are worth reading.

  10. That dude can spew all the verbal bullmanure he wants…I’m still staying armed. And though I’m no hero, I hope if, God forbid, the time came where I had to use my firearms for defense, that I’d be up to the challenge and come through okay. Firearms give me no advantage, they merely level the playing field a bit. Unfortunately, those who initiate the violence are the ones who always have the upper hand, but I guess that little leftist anti-2A weasel is just fine with that. Sickening how those types always love the criminals more.

  11. Yes, killing another person in righteous self-defense is traumatic for decent people who cherish the inherent value and sanctity of human life. What John Buzzkill Burnett failed to mention, however, is something that is FAR more traumatic: decent people grievously injured or killed at the hands of a violent attacker.

    Which is a more traumatic and awful outcome:
    (a) Two violent scumbags bludgeon a father until they think he is dead, rape one of his daughters and wife, and then set set both of his daughters and wife on fire and burn them to death. On the plus side, the father and (deceased) mother are able to avoid the aftermath of having killed the attackers. Of course the father has to live the rest of his life alone with the horror that was the last day of his daughters’ and wife’s lives.
    — OR —
    (b) A mother or father fatally shoots two violent scumbags who invaded their home planning to bludgeon the father to death, rape a daughter and wife, and then kill the entire family. The mother or father would have to deal with the aftermath of having killed the attackers. Of course the mother or father gets to enjoy the rest of her/his life with her/his family.

  12. Did these virtue-signalling dweebs ever answer the question?

    ie, does carrying a pistol make you safer?

    I’d say ‘yes.’ The FBI UCR stats show that when you’re a victim of a crime against your person, the trend is that when the victim responds with more force, the incidence of injury or death goes down.

    Of course, NPR being staffed by a bunch of preening liberal arts and humanities majors, will never look at numbers, because (as the Barbie doll said) “Math is haaaard.”

  13. John Burnett is a terrible journalist. Bigoted, biased, and egotistical. This world needs about 1.8th of the “journalists” it has. Too many journalists, not enough in-depth world coverage. That means they’re all lazy trolls, scouring the internet for “news” to regurgitate, collecting a paycheck. I’ve added them to my list of undesirables right next to lawyers….

  14. All fun and games, 500 word essays, inch columns, coin for opinion…until its real. Then what? The standard empathic phrase allotted for murder an anti gun evangelist can muster is “I’m sorry for your loss”. My ability to lawfully protect myself does not rest on opinions, facts or anything except the moral right to defend. Anything less condones murder.

    • And this:

      “Not only are most handgun carriers in America totally unprepared for a gunfight,”

      Clearly misses this point:

      All persons who are not handgun carriers in America today are totally unprepared for a gunfight.

  15. NPR is a giant echo chamber inhabited by left-wing drones masquarading as pretentious urbanites and academics. The only time I listen to NPR is to listen to classical music in my Subaru. It doesn’t have satellite radio.

  16. “Carrying a gun contains the implicit threat that you’re going to kill someone” in exactly the same way that carrying liability insurance for you car contains the implicit threat that you are looking to run someone down in the road.

    So this guy is both dumb and evil. A two-fer!

  17. As NPR stories go, this is one of the more even-handed efforts. During the run-up to the Brady check law and the Clinton “assault weapons” ban of the 1980s and 1990s they couldn’t have been more biased if Linda Wertheimer and Cokie Roberts did their reports carrying pompoms and wearing cheerleader outfits (maybe they did — it’s radio, and maybe we should be thankful for that.. I also have to wonder about Burnett. How anyone can be from Texas and never been around guns? Oh. Austin.

    Anyway, good job, Robert. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop when All Things Considered runs the second part of the story.

  18. OK, I just found something interesting today. A recent Gallup poll on crime in the US. It shows that concern about crime is up in the US, to levels not seen in 15 years:

    Now, down in the numbers part of the report, what should we see other than who is the most concerned about crime?

    Non-whites. High school dropouts are more worried about crime than college educated people are. Poorer people are more concerned than richer people.

    In other words, the NPR listening population is a cohort that is least likely (according to Gallup) to be concerned with crime. They live in their own little bubble. The rest of us, however, inhabit this place called “the real world.”

    • “Now, down in the numbers part of the report, what should we see other than who is the most concerned about crime? Non-whites”

      Yep, that’s the driver of that statistic I came across a while back that noted non-white opinion on guns has turned our way a whopping 50% over the last 20 years, a true sea-change.

      And the general anxiety on crime is driving lots of new folks to firearms.

      We *are* winning on this…

  19. This didn’t seem like that big of a hit piece, although I only heard the first segment that was linked up above. They highlighted some of the biggest parts of carrying in public and the class inspired/stressed the responsibility, they highlight the feeling of increased need for awareness, and even the initial “cool-factor”, but then sinking in of physical discomfort and responsibility. The reporter and the promos where obviously biased some in the their presentation, but the story, despite the bias, seemed pretty alright.

    I didn’t hear, “gun people are nuts,” I heard “I was expecting to be trained how to kill, but instead I was trained on responsibility.” I don’t think there is anything wrong with the follow up of “shooting someone will f*** you up,” it probably should, but it’s a hell of a lot better than being dead, and it isn’t insurmountable. If you’re not ready to kill, don’t carry. That is the reality of the responsibility that you undertake. I there wasn’t anything surprising in this. Anti-gun folks need to understand that those of us who carry take it as a serious responsibility.

    Here in WA, we don’t have any classes we are required to take. We just have a background check, finger printing, and an affidavit to sign saying we know the laws by which we’re bound. Antis seldom understand any of the laws regarding firearms as they apply to carry, recreation, and hunting. There needs to be more public education about it, and I think it would demystify guns a lot.

    I listen to NPR all the time, I like it. I wish they would be better about the bias, but I think that when interviewed by NPR, the gun community has a real opportunity to changes some minds and let people see that this isn’t the demon it’s been made out to be through their other sources. If anyone gets a chance to be interviewed, represent us well.

  20. This whole nonsense about “killing will F you up forever” is a lot of horse shit. Humans are biologically apex predators. We are hard wired to be killing machines. If killing fuvked us up so much we wouldn’t do it so much. The world is filled with violence and killing, and the capability to do so exists within every human brain, wether you want to admit it or not. There are infact some politically buried studies done on swaths of soldiers, police, and civilians, across the world and several conflicts, that showed humans actually enjoy killing, when you get down into the primitive regions of the brain. All the more reason to stay armed, and stay alert, because when we walked out of the jungle, the jungle stayed with us in our minds.

  21. I’m a fiscal conservative / libertarian (at least on the federal level), and I really enjoy listening to NPR; I feel they do a good job of showing just how complex many issues are, which is something not many other news sources do. They’re not without bias, but I’ve never seen them completely discount any side’s opinion.

    As for this story, I have to disagree with you: I think it was refreshingly different in that it focused on the seriousness of carrying guns without demonizing the people who choose to carry. Even if you maintain that there’s some bias here, it’s at least not a polarizing bias that paints gun owners as paranoid, blundering idiots. It even included a quote from a former detective who admits the police can’t prevent violence.

    Also, you either misquoted them, or they updated the article without adding a second timestamp. Burnett said: “It goes with the explicit understanding that the owner may kill someone they feel threatened by.” Regardless of how that inconsistency happened, I feel the current story is at least close to fair. To be honest, that’s something I still weigh when considering whether or not to carry. It’s also how the article concludes: seeing how three gun owners feel about experiences where they had to use their gun. I think that’s some very sobering storytelling for gun-owners and hoplophobes alike: violence could happen to you just like them, but also that defending yourself can have deep emotional consequences.

    • NPR is just another pipeline of Leftist lies. Dennis Prager regular dis-assembles their lies and he could make it his full-time job due to all the crap they propagate.

      Here is just a sample highlighting the bigotry of Robert Siegel probably one of the NPR azzwipes you fawn over.

      • Hey doesky2, no reason to be mean about it. If you can’t be friendly to a fellow gun-lover, who can you be friendly with?

        I’ll give your video a listen, but there’s more to NPR than one person. I’m guessing from your comment that you think that liberalism is where most/all bad things come from? If so, I’m not surprised you disagree… I’m more of the mindset that both sides create their own problems. And I really do find NPR more though-provoking and open-ended than other news sources (rather than telling you what to think). They generally don’t do “hit pieces”.

      • Hey there, I did give that video a listen. First of all, he’s taking one sound byte without any context, which is the best way to mischaracterize things. They usually cover multiple opinions in a story, and sometimes even spend a week portraying different viewpoints (one per day). Secondly, he has the advantage of framing/directing how you hear the clip, which is leverage you have when it’s not a two-way conversation/interview. Thirdly, are you also taking one sound byte by one talk show host and rounding up to “NPR is a leftist think tank?” Because I thought that same thing for years until I started listening myself.

        But a lot of our disagreement just might come from the fact that I don’t side with the tea party. I don’t doubt many conservatives and tea-partiers are racists, but liberals can be racist too (only in a more polite way, to put it nicely). I also am starting to think that, even if we totally disagree with something, the best thing to do is talk to them and try to at least sympathize with those emotions/viewpoints we disagree with. The lack of that may be why we have so many starkly contrasting viewpoints and not much middle ground. (Personally, I prefer a small federal government and for this middle ground to happen at the state and city/town level, but that’s just me rambling.)

  22. I listen to a lot of NPR. I’m a staunch libertarian, and very pro 2A. They are very liberal, everyone knows it. They almost always give the left the last word in a story. I felt the above broadcast was pretty fair by comparison.

  23. I tune in for “Car Talk” and a couple other fun shows that have no view on anything other than fun. I did hear some so called “expert on the subject” guest on one of their agenda pieces that had just about everything wrong and was proliferating more wrong info. Sad.

  24. The only thing I ever listened to on NPR was Click & Clack. I general, if I hear talking on the radio I punch buttons until I don’t. If no music, radio goes off.

  25. once a population sinks far enough into the quicksand of ignorance and indoctrination, to fall for the sham that empiricism is a valid methodology in the social sciences, they will always be willing serfs to those in a position to commission “studies.”

    If someone attacks you, a handgun can be used to protect yourself. That is why police carries them. And even the military, as offensive roles for handguns are precious few. One hundred million “studies”, regardless of their “conclusion”, and regardless of fancy sounding degrees, awards and prices given to the clowns hawking them, that will never, ever change.

    “Studies show” is the exact, 100%, full stop, equivalent of the old school “God says”, simply modified for a Godless era of empty scientism.

  26. “I pay attention to different people, weird people, maybe stereotype people,” says Sam Blackburn, a diesel mechanic from Georgetown, Texas, who attended the firearms fest in an NRA cap. He carries a 9 mm Smith & Wesson.

    What is he looking for, specifically?

    “Gangbanger-looking guys, maybe guys that look like they’re up to no good or somebody that may think they’re a Muslim extremist or something like that,” Blackburn says.

    He is simply following Bloomberg’s Stop and Frisk policy guidelines.

  27. NPR does lean anti-gun, but I did think that it at least the semblance of balanced reporting was there. To an anti-gun person, yeah, it might hit some notes. But to a lot of people in THE MIDDLE, I think it gave some material to chew on.

    I work in an organization of largely anti-gun folks, but the NPR piece came up this morning during lunch and most people who heard the story actually came with it understanding people’s need to own a gun or even wanting to own a gun themselves.

    It’s pretty hard to refute the stories presented – yes, Mr. Standberry might regret having to shoot someone in self-defense, but that shows that he’s a normal person. A normal person that is now ALIVE because he protected himself from a criminal, a person who is now ALIVE to share his story with others and his own son.

    As for the reluctance of People of the Gun to speak to the reporter in this story? Props to TTAG for at least giving this guy a soundbite he couldn’t refuse. The Paris attacks happened in a gun-free “paradise” – no anti-gunner can deny that.

    C O M P L E T E L Y
    Don’t just stop the gov’t funding, TAKE all their money. Jump their stupid game to the last move so they can experience it for themselves before selling it to anyone else.

    If that sh_t can float it’s own boat, there’s a reason for that.

  29. I cancelled my membership and stopped donating to all PBS channels and stations. I’m now donating that money to the NRA and other pro 2nd Amendment organizations – MONTHLY. The PBS “Frontline” series did a hit piece on the NRA -claiming the NRA has too much power. BS – the NRA represents only 5% of all gun owners in America. If the NRA and GOA ever get the other 95% of gun owners mobilized for elections: say goodbye to the Democrats and to deceitful PBS.

  30. Yeah, I don’t expect quality treatment of firearm news, period. I’ve said it here before, but the AJC amended their reporting on my DGU from “homeowner shot an intruder who had broken in” to “the victim had entered the wrong house mistakenly believing it to be his own.” The dude bashed in our window with a stool. You don’t do that if you think it’s your own home. That being said, Freakonomics (which I think now is carried on NPR stations) actually has a pretty good treatment of mass shootings and general gun violence, putting the danger of guns in a reasonable perspective. Levitt is still personally against guns, but he’s pretty rational and fair with his analysis of the statistics.

  31. I listened to both. I’ll agree that the first piece was very biased, but I thought the second half was done fairly.

    Shooting at another person is traumatizing, it should be, but the first two people interviewed were great examples for self defense carry.

  32. “Not only are most handgun carriers in America totally unprepared for a gunfight,….”

    I’ll stop you there. Even the least prepared handgun carrier is more prepared for a gunfight than anyone not carrying.


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