“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”
Another shooting in another school and more calls to restrict guns in the wake of this tragedy. For many this is a reasonable response, and on the surface, without careful consideration, it seems logical. The deaths of innocent people strikes an emotional chord and for people with little experience with guns it is easy to make guns the problem. However, when a person examines the broader picture these arguments begin to fall apart.
It should be pointed out that the people on both sides of this issue desire safety. Those who want to restrict guns believe that those restrictions will in fact limit the number of violent crimes with guns. Those who want current or less onerous gun restrictions believe that good guys with guns contribute to safe environments by either deterring bad guys with guns or by having the ability to stop bad guys from doing more extensive harm. The goal is the same, safety. The method is very different.
Stories where a gunman shoots and kills 10 people brings ratings and attention so these stories are covered endlessly by all the media outlets; yet, other stories are ignored. Stories where a law abiding citizen uses a gun to protect themselves or others are frequently ignored by the media for multiple reasons. First, these stories often result in no one dying or maybe one person dying. Second, if these stories are covered they are short lived because, as sad as it is, people die all the time from violence and if it isn't a mass killing there is nothing to make it stand out. Third, these stories don't fit well into the gun restriction narrative and the vast majority of the media leans towards gun restriction...usually very heavily.
The less reported stories where guns were used to stop violent crimes and often they stop what could have otherwise turned into mass killings, don't get press (here, here, here, and many, many more). A few years ago here in the Denver area a shooter entered a school intent on killing many and was stopped by an officer with a gun after killing one. This story made headlines because the shooting took place in a school, but these kinds of stories are not uncommon, a simple google search will show this. It is difficult to say how many people's lives are saved by guns in part because often a gun is brandished but never fired and in part because once a shooter is stopped, it is hard to tell how many more he (it is almost always a he) would have been able to shoot.
In a world where sound bites rule the day considering the broader picture takes effort and thought. Even when someone claims truth that is later found false, the sound bite still wins. I will leave it to others to make arguments for more gun restrictions or less (at least for now), but in the mean time I hope we will all have some healthy skepticism. Too much of the time the media is one sided in their reporting.
John Byrne is a pastor who has been spouting off his opinions his entire life (just ask his mom). This little blog is his venue for continuing in this tradition.