12/00 Anti-Gun Propaganda Ignores Self-Defense

“Washington Post-ABC News” Poll Anti-Gun Nut Propaganda; Completely Ignores Life-And-Death Issue Of Self-Defense
Larry Pratt

One of the things that angers me , and I suspect millions of other Americans, is how, over and over, in many articles about guns — particularly in the Liberal media — there is such little concern about the right of self-defense. In fact, this basic, life-and-death right is thought to be so irrelevant that it is often not mentioned at all. A case in point is an article earlier this year in the Washington Post.

The main headline on this piece reads: “Poll Finds Firearms Threats Common.” The smaller subhead reads: “45 Percent Say Their Households Have Weapons.” The lead paragraph of this story says: “Nearly one in four Americans say they have personally been threatened with a gun, including about one in 10 adults who report that someone had taken a shot at them, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News national survey.”

A spokesman for Virginians Against Handgun Violence, Michael Rau, is reported to be “startled by the number of people who claimed to have stared down the barrel of a gun.” He is quoted as saying that this survey makes it “clear” that “the American public is at great risk.”

But, of course, this survey doesn’t “clearly” show anything — except the rabidly anti-gun position of the Post which has editorialized repeatedly for the banning of all handguns. Indeed, this survey is grossly incomplete. It is nothing more than an editorial masquerading as a “news story” the purpose of which is to alarm readers and make them, too, anti-gun.

So, almost one in four Americans say they have personally been threatened with a gun. Well, so what?! Some folks should be threatened with a gun! And many are. Surveys have shown that as many as 2.5 to 3 million Americans annually defend themselves, family and/or property with a gun — most often by merely brandishing the weapon. And a recent Gallup Poll showed 18 million adults said they had used a gun in self-defense.

Therefore, until we know whether those Americans threatened with a gun were, or were not, criminals, the nearly one in four statistic is useless, just a number designed to scare people. But, the Post-ABC News survey says nothing about this key fact at all. Nothing. Zero. Zip. Zilch.

But, why? Why does this survey completely ignore this vital issue of self-defense? Why does it make no attempt at all to ask whether those who had guns pointed at them were law-abiding citizens defending themselves or criminals who should have been staring down the barrel of a gun?

Curious to know the answer to these questions, we contacted one of the Post reporters who wrote this story, Claudia Deane. She, along with another Post reporter, Rich Morin, decided the questions to be asked in this survey in consultation with other Post reporters and ABC News. Here’s what Deane told us:

    Q: “Why no question about how many people used guns to defend themselves?”

    A: “You know, someone else called me and said that. And in retrospect, yeah, that would have been a good idea. We should have put that on there. We were timing it to sort of, you know, be part of the stories about the [Million Mom] March. So, we were curious about peoples’ experiences with gun violence.”

Deane agrees it would be “appropriate” to poll on the self-defense issue. But, says what they did in their story was appropriate and the figures they got were “pretty stunning.”

    Q: “But, how relevant, how useful is your data really? When you find out that nearly 1 in 4 Americans say they have been personally threatened with a gun, what, exactly, does this mean? How many of these people were criminals and should have had a gun pointed at them? Did you ask about this?”

    A: “No. There’s a limitation to polling. Not a lot of people are going to admit to you — a stranger on the phone — that they are a criminal.”

Deane says our questions make a good point and make it well. She agrees there are “good and bad uses” of guns. She says she appreciates our “reasoned argument” — though she insists the “raw data” in their survey “did serve a purpose.”

Well, maybe, maybe not. Maybe Deane does appreciate what we say. Maybe, in the future, the Post will poll on the issue of self-defense. Maybe the Post will, some day, tell us about some of those “good uses” of guns. And, maybe, some day, pigs will sprout wings and fly. But, I’m not holding my breath until the Post does any of this because I don’t look good in purple.

Meanwhile, some of Deane’s answers are most instructive. Note, please, that she admits that her story was timed to coincide with the so-called Million Mom March, a mob of anti-gun nuts who were coming to Washington DC. And in this case, the Post-ABC News “raw data” did serve a purpose. It helped fan the flames of anti-gun hysteria — even though a Gallup Poll last May showed that only two percent of Americans said, when asked, that guns were the worst problem facing their communities. Two percent! No wonder the Million Mom March was such a flop, falling well short of the million number when they came to our Nation’s capital.