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.