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Jewish World Review July 1 6, 1999 /3 Av, 5759

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell
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Politically incorrect heroism --
YOU WOULD THINK that a man who saved three people's lives, at considerable risk to his own, would be recognized as a hero.

But his story would be politically incorrect, so it has received virtually no media attention and his name remains unknown.

It all started when a gunman took three hostages at a San Mateo, California, shooting range. He had left a note announcing his intention to kill hostages and then himself, so this was worse than even the usual hostage situation. At this point an anonymous employee of the shooting range took one of the guns on the premises and shot the gunman, freeing the hostages.

This happened on July 6th, but have you seen the story anywhere? People get more media attention than this for recycling aluminum cans. It is politically incorrect to let it be known that guns in the hands of law-abiding private citizens can save lives as well as cost lives. Yet this has happened any number of times. There have even been cases of a policeman under fire being rescued by a private citizen with a gun. One year, more criminals were reported killed by private citizens than by the police. But it wasn't reported very widely.

People who have been wringing their hands asking, "What can we do to stop shootings at schools?" have apparently not been told that a couple of these shooting were in fact brought to a halt by an armed adult on the scene.

Fox News Network has the slogan, "We report. You Decide." That clearly is not the watchword at most major media outlets. They decide what you ought to believe and then tell you only what they want you to know, so that you will believe it.

The media present gun-control issues solely from the perspective of a battle of the good guys who want to get rid of dangerous weapons versus the National Rifle Association that wants to keep guns around. Most mainstream journalists have an almost total lack of interest in either the facts or the fates of a quarter of a billion Americans who do not belong to either the anti-gun lobby or the NRA.

Every story about a child killed by a gun is front page news. Stories about lives saved by guns are lucky to appear in the second section of the newspaper and can just about forget it as far as appearing on CBS, ABC, NBC or CNN.

Like everything else, guns have pluses and minuses. Accidental deaths have to be weighed in the balance against the lives saved both by armed interventions and by the deterrence created when an intended victim turns out to have a gun. Just the knowledge that many citizens in a particular community are authorized to carry concealed weapons takes a lot of the fun out of being a burglar or a mugger.

It is a matter of plain fact-- no matter how much these facts are ignored in the media-- that violent crimes have declined immediately and dramatically in virtually every case where local gun-control laws were modified to allow law- abiding citizens to readily obtain permits to carry concealed weapons. The statistics are available in a book titled "More Guns, Less Crime," written by John Lott, who teaches at the University of Chicago Law School.

This book is the most massive and careful study of the subject ever written-- but it remains as unknown in the media as the hero who saved three lives in San Mateo. Both the book and the California hero are politically incorrect, so the mainstream media treat both as if they were non-existent. The issue is not one of fairness. The issue is one of life and death. If you are not going to be serious about life and death, when are you going to be serious? It matters whether more lives will be lost with one policy than with another. It matters far more than the anti-gun lobby or the NRA matter.

If the media will report, we the citizens and voters can decide. But the media remain wedded to one side of this issue-- the gun-control side-- and wedded still more so to presenting news as one interest group versus another, rather than informing the public about the facts, regardless of which side it helps or hurts.

Blind opposition to guns in anybody's hands reached a new level of irresponsibility in San Francisco recently, when the school board declared that policemen who come on school grounds should not be armed. Fortunately, outcries from both the public and city officials forced this silly policy to be repealed. What will it take to bring some sense of responsibility to the media?


07/12/99: Cutting edge California retreats to old, failed ideas
07/07/99: A quagmire and a vision
07/02/99: The Fourth of July
06/29/99: "Urban sprawl" and liberal gall
06/18/99: A famous victory
06/14/99: A victory in Chicago
06/10/99: Mass shootings and mass hysteria
06/08/99: The other side of affirmative action
06/03/99: Childish labor laws
06/01/99: Demonizing for dollars
05/27/99: The real public service
05/24/99: Income, taxes and demagoguery
05/18/99: Random thoughts
05/14/99: Aborted knowledge
05/10/99: The new "fairness"
05/04/99: Holding parents responsible
05/03/99: Exit strategies
04/28/99: Tragedy and farce
04/26/99: Guilt and cop-outs
04/21/99: Choosing a college
04/16/99: When success fails
04/13/99: A photo-op foreign policy
04/09/99: Russia and the Serbs
04/06/99: Random thoughts
03/31/99: Irresponsible "experts"
03/29/99: Another Doleful prospect?
03/23/99: Random thoughts
03/22/99: Loving enemies
03/19/99: Naming names
03/15/99: Undermining the military
03/10/99: Joe DiMaggio -- icon of an era
03/02/99: Facts versus dogma on guns
03/01/99: Losing the cultural wars
02/22/99: "Saving" social security
02/18/99: Too many Ph.Ds?
02/8/99: A national disaster
02/8/99: Economic fallacies in the media: Part II
02/5/99: Why economists visit dentists so often
02/2/99: Warning: Good news
01/29/99: What is at stake?
01/26/99:Moral bankruptcy in the schools
01/22/99: Who is going to convict Santa Claus?
01/19/99: Seeing through the spin
01/13/99: A trial is a trial is a trial
01/11/99:Trials and tribulations
01/08/99: Rays of hope
01/04/99: Random thoughts
12/31/98: The President versus the presidency
12/29/98: The time is now!
12/23/98: World-class hypocrisy
12/21/98: The spreading corruption
12/17/98: Politically "contrite"
12/16/98: Polls and partisanship
12/14/98: The "non-profit" halo
12/11/98: Corruption and confusion
12/03/98: The health care "crisis"
11/30/98: Knowing what you are talking about
11/23/98: The impeachment legacy
11/23/98: Random thoughts
11/19/98: Tales out of bureaucracies
11/16/98: Scholarships based on scholarship
11/12/98: Forward march
11/09/98: Moral outrage
11/05/98: Will the Republicans ever learn?
11/02/98: A voter's duty
10/30/98: The poverty pimp's poem
10/29/98: Random thoughts on the election
10/27/98: "Partisan" and "unfair"
10/23/98: Ed-u-kai-tchun
10/21/98: McGwire, Maris and the Babe
10/16/98: Lightweight Boxer
10/14/98: A strange word
10/09/98: Impeachment standards
10/08/98: Alternatives to seriousness
10/07/98: Heredity, environment and talk
10/02/98: A much-needed guide
10/01/98: Starr's real crime
9/24/98: Costs and power
9/18/98: Are we sheep?
9/16/98: Judicial review
9/15/98: Hillary Rodham Crook?
9/14/98: Taking stock
9/11/98: Moment of truth
9/04/98: Random thoughts
8/31/98: The twilight of special prosecutors?
8/26/98: "Doing a good job"
8/24/98: America on trial?
8/19/98: Played for fools
8/17/98: A childish letter
8/11/98: Hiding behind a woman
8/07/98: A flying walrus in Washington?
8/03/98: "Affordability" strikes again
7/31/98: Random thoughts
7/27/98: Faith and mountains
7/24/98: Clinton in Wonderland
7/20/98: Where is black 'leadership' leading?
7/16/98: Do 'minorities' really have it that bad?
7/14/98: Race dialogue: same old stuff
7/10/98: Honest history
7/09/98: Dumb is dangerous
7/02/98: Gun-safety starts with
parental responsibility
6/30/98: When more is less
6/29/98: Are educators above the law?
6/26/98: Random Thoughts
6/24/98: An angry letter
6/22/98: Sixties sentimentalism
6/19/98:Dumbing down anti-trust
6/15/98: A changing of the guard?
6/11/98: Presidential privileges
6/8/98: Fast computers and slow antitrust
6/3/98: Can stalling backfire?
5/29/98: The insulation of the Left
5/25/98: Missing the point in the media
5/22/98: The lessons of Indonesia
5/20/98: Smart but silent
5/18/98: Israel, Clinton and character
5/14/98: Monica Lewinsky's choices
5/11/98: Random thoughts
5/7/98: Media obstruction of justice
5/4/98: Dangerous "safety"
5/1/98: Abolish Adolescence!
4/30/98: The naked truth
4/22/98: Playing fair and square
4/19/98: Bad teachers"
4/15/98: "Clinton in Africa "
4/13/98: "Bundling and unbundling "
4/9/98: "Rising or falling Starr "
4/6/98: "Was Clinton ‘vindicated'? "
3/26/98: "Diasters -- natural and political"
3/24/98: "A pattern of behavior"
3/22/98: Innocent explanations
3/19/98: Kathleen Willey and Anita Hill
3/17/98: Search and destroy
3/12/98: Media Circus versus Justice
3/6/98: Vindication
3/3/98: Cheap Shot Time
2/26/98: The Wrong Filter
2/24/98: Trial by Media
2/20/98: Dancing Around the Realities
2/19/98: A "Do Something" War?
2/12/98: Julian Simon, combatant in a 200-year war
2/6/98: A rush to rhetoric

©1999, Creators Syndicate