Reading Joe’s recent post got me thinking. Every time there’s a shooting, we see reports on the type of firearm used, its features, where it may have been obtained, and what gun laws might “prevent this sort of thing” in the future. Given that criminals by definition don’t obey gun laws, and that this sort of thing isn’t going to be prevented by more Prohibitions, what sort of reporting might actually benefit the consumers of news reports? Newsies: I’m asking you to think outside the usual story templates.
News pieces on the firearm models and types used in a particular crime are unhelpful, mostly because they’re useless unless you’re pushing an anti-gun agenda (one exception might be the LA bank robbery, in which police responded to a rifle fight with nothing but pistols and shotguns. There the types of weapons involved were actually relevant to the response tactics) and also because the reporting is typically done by people who know next to nothing about firearms (believe me, Newsies, it shows. It really, really shows). I submit that the public could benefit more from reports on exactly what happened from minute to minute, once all the hysteria has died down and the evidence has been evaluated. Interview police and citizen defense trainers on what responses would be most appropriate, how the police view the role of the armed citizen, and so on. Then we may be better able to respond to an incident more appropriately, or to stay out of it entirely when needed.
For certain, I think its a bad idea to grab a gun and run head-on toward the sound of gunfire. Stealth, People. Also consider the fact that it may be impossible to know friend from foe when there are armed citizens in the same area as armed criminals. Start a discussion on when to stay out of the way, or, if presented an easy shot on a hostile target, when to take it, where to get the training and equipment, what would the police chief or sheriff’s department would want you to do? You might let us know where to sign up for a local gun club, range development plan or self-defense course, and so on. “Public Interest” in other words, could be served by some far more diverse reporting.