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Media Ignore Fact That Gun Owners Stopped School Shooter
Two of the three Virginia law students who overpowered a gunman in a fatal school shooting were armed and used their weapons to disarm the shooter. Yet of the 280 stories written about the shooting, a mere four mentioned the fact that the heroic students were armed and used their guns to halt the rampage.
That's according to Dr. John Lott, a resident scholar at American Enterprise Institute and the author of the widely acclaimed book "More Guns, Less Crime."
Writing in Friday's edition of the New York Post, Lott reported on last week's shooting at Appalachian School of Law. Nigerian student Peter Odighizuwa is accused of killing the dean, L. Anthony Sutin, 42 – a former acting assistant U.S. attorney general and campaign worker for Bill Clinton – professor Thomas Blackwell, 41, and student Angela Denise Dales, 33.
Noting that the rampage was widely covered in the world's media, Lott wrote: "As usual, there were calls for more gun control.
"Yet in this age of 'gun-free school zones,' the vast majority of the news reports ignored the fact that the attack was stopped by two students who had guns in their cars. The quick response by two of the students, Mikael Gross, 34, and Tracy Bridges, 25, undoubtedly saved multiple lives," Lott reported.
According to Lott: Having just returned from lunch, Gross was outside the law school building when Odighizuwa began shooting. Bridges was inside, waiting for class to start.
When the sound of shooting erupted, panic ensued. "People were running everywhere. They were jumping behind cars, running out in front of traffic, trying to get away," Gross said.
Instead of joining in the chaos, Gross and Bridges ran to their cars and got their guns. Joined by an unarmed Ted Besen, an ex-Marine and police officer, the three men approached the shooter from different sides.
"I aimed my gun at him, and Peter tossed his gun down," Bridges recalled. "Ted approached Peter, and Peter hit Ted in the jaw. Ted pushed him back, and we all jumped on."
Wrote Lott: "What is so remarkable is that out of 280 separate news stories (from a computerized Nexis-Lexis search) in the week after the event, just four stories mentioned that the students who stopped the attack had guns.
"Only two local newspapers (the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Charlotte Observer) mentioned that the students actually pointed their guns at the attacker."
Lott cited the liberal, anti-gun Washington Post, which reported that the heroes had simply "helped subdue" the killer. The leftist, anti-gun New York Times, not surprisingly, noted only that the attacker was "tackled by fellow students."
"Most in the media who discussed how the attack was stopped said: 'students overpowered a gunman,' 'students ended the rampage by tackling him,' 'the gunman was tackled by four male students before being arrested,' or 'Students ended the rampage by confronting and then tackling the gunman, who dropped his weapon.'"
Such selective reporting is not unusual, Lott noted. "In the other public school shootings where citizens with guns have stopped attacks, rarely do more than one percent of the news stories mention that citizens with guns stopped the attacks."
Wall of Silence
Lott cited research showing there are 2 million defensive gun uses each year. "After all, if these events were really happening, wouldn't we hear about them on the news? But when was the last time you saw a story on the national evening news (or even the local news) about a citizen using his gun to stop a crime?"
Such "misreporting actually endangers people's lives," Lott concluded. "By selectively reporting the news and turning a defensive gun use story into one where students merely 'overpowered a gunman' the media gives misleading impressions of what works when people are confronted by violence.
"Research consistently shows that having a gun is the safest way to respond to any type of criminal attack, especially these multiple victim shootings."
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