By Seth Richardson
I don’t know if it’s possible to stuff a single one-hour TV program with more bogus experiments, falsehoods, evasions, obfuscations, alarmism and ideological rhetoric disguised as “news” than Diane Sawyer and David Muir did on ABC’s “20/20” on Friday, April 10th, but I don’t really want to find out. It was undiluted anti-gun disinformation and propaganda of the first water.
In “If I Only Had a Gun”, Sawyer and Muir presented their clearly biased opinion on the effectiveness of personal defense firearms in a manner calculated and scripted to demonstrate only the worst-case scenarios in ways that set the participants up for failure in such an obvious sham that it would have been laughable if it wasn’t such a serious matter.
Sawyer tried to demonstrate the uselessness of carrying a concealed handgun by concocting, among all manner of other alarmist and deliberately deceptive examples, a demonstration using novices who had little to no firearms training or experience in situations designed to create failure. In a series of fake classroom invasions, the subjects were given a gun firing paint pellets and were told it was for use later. While the instructor was demonstrating safety equipment to a group of “students” who were actually police officers, a “bad guy” came in to the room and began shooting. The purported intent was to show how difficult it is to respond to such a stressful situation.
I can’t argue with the fact that a novice with a gun attempting to take on a professional armed assailant (the bad guy was a police officer) will likely have little luck, but Sawyer wasn’t satisfied with concocting an example guaranteed to produce a “loss” for the law-abiding citizen gun owner, she had the gall to put a “ringer” in the classroom as an accomplice who began shooting students too. Then Sawyer had the temerity to suggest that “tunnel vision”, which does occur, is justification for disarming citizens because, well, Joe Average Citizen is just not skilled enough to take on two armed professional assailants who both knew where the armed civilian was sitting in the room ahead of time, or so it appeared from the video. Sawyer railed on about the possibility of shooting an innocent bystander running between the armed citizen and the bad guy without acknowledging that in such a chaotic situation, that bystander was going to get shot anyway if nothing was done.
While most of the test subjects were shot multiple times (by a trained SWAT cop) they managed some hits too. But the most egregious failure in Sawyer’s rhetoric was her complete failure to mention the fact that while the bad guy and the armed test subject exchanged fire, other people were not being shot and were escaping from the room. Sawyer’s preferred alternative is evidently to just sit there and let yourself be shot, because you might miss and hurt someone if you try to save anyone’s life by returning fire.
This is a significant bit of journalistic malfeasance on Sawyer’s part. The assumption of the whole first half of the show was about the odds of the individual with the gun surviving the incident. But what Sawyer refused to acknowledge, evidently deliberately and to her journalistic discredit, is that many people carry guns not only to protect themselves, but to protect others, even at risk of death to themselves.
Consider Jeanne Assam, our own Colorado Springs heroine, who selflessly ran towards the sound of gunfire and attacked and disabled a mass-murderer before he could kill hundreds of people at the New Life Church as the quintessential example of a responsible armed citizen. Assam didn’t think of herself, she thought of the men, women and children behind her who did not have guns as she stepped out with unparalleled courage from behind a concrete pillar and faced a man armed with a semi-automatic rifle and handgun. And she prevailed. She prevailed because she was courageous, and because the attacker was a coward, who, as soon as he was fired upon tried to take cover, and as soon as he was wounded by Assam, killed himself in a penultimate act of cowardice. That’s significant. Real mass-murderers aren’t expecting resistance and they mostly don’t know how to react when faced with a determined defender shooting back at them.
Do you think Sawyer bothered to mention this incident? Of course not, because that would require journalistic ethics and dedication to objective reporting, something neither Sawyer nor Muir, nor the show’s director George Paul or producer Muriel Parson have. They’re ideological hacks unworthy of the title of “journalist.”
Sawyer’s bit of pseudo-journalism pitted a well-trained SWAT cop against a neophyte in a worst-case scenario where the cop knew what was coming and who to shoot at, under circumstances where all that was being fired were paint pellets. This doesn’t begin to be a valid experiment to determine the actual effectiveness of an armed citizen responding to a classroom invasion because everybody knew up front it was a fake. To discover what actually happens, you have to look at actual armed encounters, and when you do, you find that armed citizens are quite effective at stopping killers and preventing mass murders. But Sawyer won’t even look for that data.
For Sawyer to imply that the presence of an armed citizen in such a scenario is useless, and in fact may do more harm than good is reprehensible and some of the worst, most biased “journalism” I’ve ever had the displeasure to experience. And taking a swipe at credible researchers from John Lott to the U.S. Department of Justice, Sawyer arrogantly said, “We could not find one reliable study” about the successful defensive use of firearms by armed citizens. This is a particularly odious bit of pettifoggery by Sawyer, since even the federal government concedes that firearms are used at least 80,000 times a year to thwart crime, most of the time without ever being discharged.
Not satisfied with this bit of political theater, David Muir takes us to Pahokee, Florida to exploit a ten-year-old black child who lives in a crime-ridden town in a nauseating appeal to pity. Pahokee, a town of about 6000, it seems is stuffed with gang-bangers and drug dealers who fire guns off in the air on the weekends just for fun and shoot everybody in sight the rest of the time. And none of the residents will report shootings to police or cooperate in putting criminals away, whether out of fear or because they’re all criminals is uncertain.
“Mr. President,” says Damon Weaver, “what can you do for Pahokee?”
I’ll tell you what he should do, Damon. He should send the FBI, the BATFE, the U.S. Marine Corps and the NRA to Pahokee, where the FBI will assist the local police to arrest criminals using guns, the BATFE will issue surplus military arms from the Civilian Marksmanship Program to the law-abiding citizens of Pahokee, the U.S. Marine Corps will assist in training law-abiding citizens in small-unit tactics and patrol techniques and the NRA will teach the citizens how to shoot.
Then the citizens of Pahokee who are not criminals, drug dealers and gang-bangers can form militia units and retake their community from the bad guys. They can take a page from the Black Panthers, who in 1967 marched on the California state capitol to protest police attempts to disarm blacks in Berkley and patrolled their neighborhoods openly armed with shotguns. But rather than confronting the police, the law-abiding citizens of Pahokee should work with the police to track down, arrest and bring the criminals to justice, or shoot them dead if they are fired upon.
That’s what the President should do for Pahokee. Or more properly, that’s what the citizens of Pahokee must do for themselves, even if the President turns a blind eye towards them and tries to disarm them instead, which is what he most certainly will do.
© 2009 Altnews