Published July 16th, 2003, in Ether Zone


By: Ted Lang

A new standard has been painstakingly and professionally assembled that shoots holes in the gun control myth using easily understood tables, charts, graphs and statistics. There is the usual preponderance of analytical statistical tools, such as regression analysis and the like. But they have been tastefully and gently sandwiched within easily understandable descriptive text in such a sparing and reader-friendly manner that they materially strengthen the logical arguments made, never becoming a distraction for the less focused reader.

Such is the pleasant surprise of the most recent work of economist Dr. John R. Lott, Jr., in his new book, The Bias Against Guns - Why Almost Everything You’ve Heard About Gun Control is Wrong [Regnery Publishing, Inc., Washington, DC]. Dr. Lott’s previous best-selling work, More Guns, Less Crime [© 1998 -University of Chicago Press], focused more on handgun regulations relative to right-to-carry legislation and was heavily laden with in-depth statistics and their analytical tools, graphs, tables and charts. His prior book might be somewhat intimidating for some readers, but this is not the case with Bias .

In addition to the outstanding value offered by Bias in terms of real facts, solid information, and chilling comparisons and analogies, the book is, in the judgment of this reader, a first as regards the real focus on the origins of gun control: the American press! It is refreshing to realize that a scholar of Lott’s stature has received exactly the same contempt and experienced the same arrogance from the print media, specifically the New York Times, as would be the case with lesser known individuals attempting to set things right. It’s a "been-there-done-that" kind of thing when Lott unemotionally describes how his challenges to the inaccuracies and anti-Second Amendment bias of the Times are ignored when falsehoods and mistakes are called to their attention.

This makes the timing of Dr. Lott’s current book even more germane, coming right on the heels of the Jayson Blair/Howell Raines fiasco at the Times . And yet again, more evidence of the New York Times’ shoddy journalism has come to light. Lott doesn’t just focus on the Times, but the entire American media’s twisting of the facts in order to get the most desirable aspect of their "Big Brother" agenda accepted by the reading and viewing public.

"Newsworthiness might explain the majority of negative media stories on guns, but it doesn’t explain all of them," writes Lott, explaining that bad news about guns sells copy while good news is no news. "For example," he continues, "as I discussed in detail in my previous book, More Guns, Less Crime, why did the torrential news coverage of public school shootings in the 1990s fail to acknowledge when attacks were halted by citizens with guns?"

He cites a particularly disturbing journalistic effort: "A similar example of selective reporting occurred during January 2002 in a shooting that left three dead at the Appalachian Law School in Virginia. The event made international headlines from Australia to Nigeria and produced more calls for gun control. Yet in this age in which media and government officials clamor in favor of ‘gun free school zones,’ one fact was missing from virtually all the news coverage: The attack was stopped by two students who had guns in their cars."

Lott then calmly exposes the media’s fraudulent lack of attention to detail: "In all, seventy-two stories described how the attacker was stopped, without mentioning that the student heroes had guns." Lott offers, "Isn’t it remarkable that out of 208 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 then details the typical liberal media misreporting on the law-abiding-citizen-with-a-gun stopping the crime: "Much more typical was the description given by the Washington Post : ‘three students pounced on the gunman and held him until help arrived.’ New York’s Newsday noted that only that the attacker was ‘restrained by students.’ Many stories mentioned the law enforcement or military background of these student heroes, but virtually all of the media who discussed how the attack was stopped said things such as: ‘students tackled the man while he was still armed,’ ‘students tackled the gunman,’ the attacker ‘dropped his gun after being confronted by students, who then tackled him to the ground,’ or ‘Students ended the rampage by confronting and then tackling the gunman, who dropped his weapon.’"

Lott goes on: "In all, seventy-two stories described how the attacker was stopped, without mentioning that the student heroes had guns. But almost the same number of stories [sixty-eight] provided precise details on the gun used in the attack: the New York Times described the gun of the attacker as ‘a .380 semiautomatic handgun,’ the Los Angeles Times as ‘a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol.’" How could the media be so specific as regards the detail of the weapon the criminal used, and so nebulous in reporting the most important aspect of the entire incident, the actual, factual way the crime was stopped?

Lott explains: "A week and a half after the attack, I appeared on Larry Elder’s KABC radio program in Los Angeles, along with Tracy Bridges, one of the Appalachian Law School heroes. Tracy related how ‘shocked’ he had been by the news coverage. While Tracy had carefully described to over fifty reporters what had happened, discussing how he had to point his gun at Peter [the shooter] and yell at Peter to drop his gun, the media had consistently reported that the incident had ended by the students tackling the killer."

The Appalachian incident was the best example, but certainly not the only one in the many Lott offers, that demonstrates the media bias against gun ownership as protected by the Second Amendment. It is nothing short of astonishing as to the lengths the media will go to suppress the truth when it deviates from their agenda. Lott even cites fraudulent and deliberately misleading statistical "research" offered by the New York Times, even after Lott identified himself and his credentials to the Times’ editorial staff. They ignored and failed to even acknowledge his many letters to the editor.

The Bias Against Guns not only offers shocking revelations about the falsification of facts constituting not only media bias, but also outright journalistic fraud. The NRA has for years been identifying media propaganda in this fashion, but the public has written this all of as partisan style emotional name-calling and political mud slinging. Lott proves that fact is indeed stranger than the fiction created by the media to propagate and enforce their gun free socialist utopia.

The Bias Against Guns is highly recommended reading for any student interested in examining the methodical socialist destruction of our rapidly disappearing once free republic emphasizing individual rights. It will be the standard for all arguments against the further infringement of human rights by the evil partnership of government and its anti-individual biased press.

Published in the July 16, 2003 issue of  Ether Zone.
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The End of Myth: An Interview with Dr. John Lott

Cold Comfort, Economist John Lott discusses the benefits of guns--and the hazards of pointing them out.

An interview with John R. Lott, Jr. author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws

Some data not found at

Updated Media Analysis of Appalachian Law School Attack

Since the first news search was done additional news stories have been added to Nexis:

There are thus now 218 unique stories, and a total of 294 stories counting duplicates (the stories in yellow were duplicates): Excel file for general overview and specific stories. Explicit mentions of defensive gun use increase from 2 to 3 now.

Journal of Legal Studies paper on spoiled ballots during the 2000 Presidential Election

Data set from USA Today, STATA 7.0 data set

"Do" File for some of the basic regressions from the paper