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What you don't know can hurt you!

by Robert A. Waters

In 1998, after my book, The Best Defense: True Stories of Intended Victims Who Defended Themselves with a Firearm, was published, I was contacted by a well-known reporter from CBS News. She stated that she'd read the book and asked me to put her in touch with a female victim who had used a gun in self-defense. (I quickly learned that reporters only want to interview women defenders, not men.) She was making a documentary about guns, she said, and wanted to make sure it was balanced.

Then she hesitated. I could tell that something was weighing on her mind. Finally, she blurted, "Do people really use guns for self-protection?" I was stunned. Even after having read the twenty documented cases of self-defense described in my book, this woman was skeptical. During the next few days, we had several conversations, and each time she expressed surprise that guns were actually used to protect lives.

Her cynicism was later echoed in conversations with reporters from each major network and from several major newspapers.

In the two-and-a-half years since the publication of my book, I've learned that those who work in the mainstream media are ignorant about the positive use of guns. It is this ignorance that fuels their anti-gun sentiment and keeps the stream of pro-gun control television shows and newspaper articles flowing.

Why don't they know anything about guns?

Surveys have shown that most reporters who work for the major media outlets live in upper-class homes, far above those of us in fly-over country. Many took their education at Ivy League universities where they protested the Vietnam conflict, smoked dope, loved freely, and ingested every ultra-liberal cause their professors threw at them.

Once they graduated, they faced the prospect of going to work. What better way to earn a fat paycheck and change the world than to become a reporter for ABC, or CBS, or NBC, or CNN, or to write for the New York Times, the Washington Post, or some other major newspaper?

Having become gainfully employed, these men and women from Yale and Harvard and Brown and Princeton brought their own biases with them. Many do not know anyone who owns guns. Their only exposure to firearms comes when they report on the carnage left by a deranged shooter gone postal, or a gang member who blasts his rivals into the turf, or the occasional accidental shooting of a child.

A few months ago, a columnist for the Detroit News wrote that she didn't know anyone who had ever used a gun for self-defense. Not only did she not know anyone personally, she wrote, she'd never even heard of such a case. The implication, of course, was that if no one uses guns for self-protection, then there is no need for the evil things. After her article appeared, pro-gun advocates swamped the columnist with hundreds of newspaper clippings and personal stories of self-defense. (Even though she did not change her mind about gun control, she had enough integrity to publish several of those accounts and to recant some of her false statements.)

But this illustrates the mind-set we're up against.

Most of these reporters have never lived on a farm or a ranch where guns are a necessity. They've never slept a single night in the projects where drug dealers roam unmolested, where rape and murder are common-place, and where guns are a vital means of self-protection. They've never had a former spouse stalk them and attack them with murderous fury. They've never had to work sixteen hours a day at a blue-collar job just to have some punk rob them and take the money they've set aside to make the next house payment.

They've never been personally subjected to the reality of violence.

Instead, many reporters still long for the sixties, when communism was good and capitalism was evil. And that's the rub--to them, all issues are black and white, including the gun issue. Since it is self-evident that guns are bad, they think, we must do away with the tools of destruction. Then Utopia will materialize and we'll all be safe and happy.

It is in this context that we have to find a way to instill in their minds the fact that guns are used for positive purposes more often than they're used to slaughter innocent babies.

We have to show them that the concealed carry laws passed by thirty-two states are among the most successful statutes ever passed, with a success rate in the 99.999 percentile. (Ask yourself what other law can make that claim.)

We have to figure out a way to teach them the history that their professors refused to teach, the history of how this country became free because of minutemen and patriots who used their own firearms to defeat the British. We have to explain to them what seems so obvious to us: how Hitler and Stalin and Castro and Pol Pot and other twentieth-century tyrants confiscated all privately-owned guns before enslaving the masses.

And, perhaps most importantly, we have to show them the faces of the thousands of innocent victims who are alive today because they had guns available when they were attacked. We must get them to listen to those poignant voices filled with the exhilaration and wonder of being alive. We must break through ignorance and prejudice to get these voices heard--if published consistently by the mainstream media, they would quickly change the debate.

The reporter from CBS completed her hour-long documentary about gun control. She did a re-enactment with one of the victims I recommended. And she attempted to be fair. But given her own biases, the film inevitably ended up as a puff piece for gun control.

Which brings us back to the title of this article. If the public never hears about real-life accounts of armed self-defense, they can't know about them. And if they don't know, they can't make informed decisions about guns. And they will continue to fall for the lies told by gun control advocates.

In Proverbs, the poet writes, "For a lack of vision, the people perish." Vision is obtained through knowledge.

It is up to those of us who know the truth to persuade influential members of the media to report the facts.

We have our work cut out for us.

Also from Robert Waters

Printer Version

The limitation of tyrants is the endurance of those they oppose. Frederick Douglass

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