Dear Editor: What happened to waiting periods for guns?
An open letter to America’s news media
By Alan Korwin
Dear Media Colleagues,
Guns can’t seem to keep themselves out of the limelight. Urban shootings, outside the ghettos where most shootings take place, are now becoming national news. What changed?
Why aren’t we talking about waiting periods anymore? The media and the gun-control movement have abandoned waiting periods, but they used to be the holy grail. Why is that?
It turned out waiting periods didn’t matter. They didn’t work, had no impact on crime, they were a distraction. They were just an attack that could be made on guns, the flavor of the day, a reflection of what the public out here perceives as media hatred for guns. Like a reported shooting… from two thousand miles away.
Waiting periods were what gun controllers told media to ask for, not what media independently figured out might work. Media were told, “Waits will slow crime,” and even though rational people knew this was silly, you (plural) called for them — and then were bewildered at the resistance you got. Everyone lamented the predictable lack of results, until thankfully, you abandoned that red herring.
Now I find you urging support to ban gear, like magazine size, ammunition types and even brands, like AR-15 and Glock. This is just as bogus as the olden waiting-period demands, and you are just as mystified at the adamantine resistance again. This is why it is time for gun-control counseling.
People seeking gun control, media included, understand the subject so poorly they are getting in the way of making any real progress. Gun control is notcrime control. It doesn’t have the desired effect. That’s why gun owners and others resist it so fervently. If it would work they would support it — everyone wants to stop senseless murder, we’re not irrational.
There is actually lunatic talk of banning the Glock sidearm for the public, along with all semi-automatic firearms. The Glock is so good that 65% of law enforcement uses it — it’s reliable, effective, safe, simple, fast. Guns save lives. Guns stop criminals. Guns protect us. This is why we give them to police. This is why the public wants and needs them. This is what gun controllers don’t get, and why counseling is called for if we are going to get anywhere.
You would consider taking Glock and other autoloaders away from the public because criminals understand the value and use these too. That makes as much sense as taking them away from the police themselves. Of course the public balks at that, and you interfere with getting to any real solution for stopping armed maniacs. You fail to see how your equipment-based arguments are doomed to failure. The gun-control debate needs an intervention. For example:
Why only discuss guns after a mass murder? Wouldn’t covering all the newsworthy aspects of guns help us understand the issues better? What about all the good that guns do? You may not even clearly know what that is. What about the shooting sports — a billion dollars bigger than golf? What about censorship on the subject of guns in education? It is a vacuum. Why don’t you cover that?
That vacuum is a measure of your bias. Your bias is a measure of why we have this problem. The media, both so-called “news” media and the cultural media like movies, TV, video games and magazines, are powerful driving forces behind the mass-murder behaviors we have never before seen. This is understandably hard for you to face.
When guns were more available during our baby-boomer youth — without age limit, without paperwork, without background checks, without the FBI, by mail order from the pages of comic books — these kinds of atrocities were unheard of, unfathomable, unthinkable. What changed? Our culture, and the media led the way.
Can you at least savor the irony? A crowded theater witnesses a blood-drenched massacre — while eagerly waiting to watch hours of blood-drenched massacres.
Before these atrocities were standard fare, people died off camera, without blood. A crook who shot a cop was shunned by his peers, never held up as someone to be idolized like today, where entire films glorify the villains. Kids today are virtually trained assassins, inured to immoral levels of violence. You did that.
As a 25-year member of the Society of Professional Journalists, peers have told me their editors suppressed or downplayed stories of armed self defense so they wouldn’t encourage copycats. Then broadcasters treat us to endless days of glorified mass murderers, and encourage copycats. You do that.
You’re discouraging copycat heroes while perpetually portraying copycat villains, then you scratch your collective heads. Consciously or not, you the media connect those dots. You take your unspoken bias and hoplophobic fear of guns, mix in an immoral and unethical ingredient of grief and horror, and in a beautifully orchestrated promotion push the misguided gun-control agenda — supplanting the crime-control agenda we desperately seek.
Here’s why an intervention is needed: Consider that 80 people left home, never to return, prematurely dead in their cars on the same day 12 were murdered in the awful Batman-movie massacre (please don’t besmirch a fine American city when referring to this literally theatrical violence; let the name help frame the blame).
Eighty grieving families, spread out everywhere, not just in one unlucky community. Blood and guts, horror, unspeakable tragedy, children ripped from us, police cars and flashy lights. Where were the cameras in their faces? Why not promote their grief with crocodile-tear remorse? Or does the thought of hounding those car-wreck victims for days horrify even you?
And what about the next day’s eighty? And the next? No, the monstrous bias of the media is on display here, dancing in the blood of victims and trumpeting society’s miscreants, with effects too offensive to rationalize. For shame, as a CNN anchor scolded me recently.
No, the broadcast pity party national mea culpa grief deluge the “news” media perpetrates on the public is as meaningful as the waiting periods you have jettisoned. You wouldn’t dare impose on other grieving families this way, it would be intolerable, reprehensible.
Without accepting it, you are a root cause of the problem. You appear to secretly hope the grief will finally be enough to convince the innocent to relinquish their rights and abandon the products you so misunderstand.
Please realize — people face the exact same thugs police face. But cops operate in groups, with backup, in body armor, with sniper teams and helicopters. Is that why we need less ammo and smallish bullets in inferior guns? It is we who are the first responders in criminal assaults on ourselves. The police we dial after assaults start are second responders, a point you fail to appreciate.
If the public is limited to little bullets, and only a few of them, the problem of crazy people committing murder will neither resolve nor improve. It’s waiting-period logic again. The public needs parity with police, not inferior tools. This is why counseling is appropriate — so we can discuss this intelligently.
Oh, you can go into denial, talk numbers, point to countries that are not the linchpin of freedom on the planet. Ask about Japan or Switzerland that do not have drug wars or ghettos — a word you will no longer even use — yet which is at the heart of what you like to call guns on the street.
Things that will help, like firearms education in our schools, erasing decades of enforced ignorance, confronting your own biases that perpetuate and encourage violent behavior, examining activities of your companion industries, and seeing the “cultural” problem — until we face these challenges, you’ll keep seeking changes the majority of the public will correctly resist. You’ll just be frustrated, get nowhere and not understand why.
Meet with me and a few select others for counseling that will truly get to the heart of the matter. Let’s get past the firing mechanisms, types of lead or brand name intrigues and into the real-world answers that can reduce or stop this sort of behavior and make our world more safe. Together we can fix this.