- 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 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
- 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 1 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."