There are somewhere between 100,000 and 2.5-million defensive gun uses every year, and the vast majority of them receive no media attention whatsoever. That’s somewhat understandable given that many of these DGUs don’t result in triggers being pulled, and may not even result in a police report much less a hit on the local evening news.
The national news media (with the exception of Fox News) is generally terrible about covering DGUs at all, but local outlets tend to a better job of reporting these incidents, at least when they result in an arrest or there’s compelling video that they can use in their coverage. But as someone who scours the internet on a daily basis looking for these armed citizen stories, I’ve noticed lately that even local news is doing a half-assed job when it comes to good guys (and gals) with guns protecting themselves and others; providing little information, failing to update their coverage when more details become known, and in some cases using headlines that leave out the defensive nature of a shooting altogether.
The latest example comes from Chicago, where a lawful gun owner shot and wounded a would-be intruder on Thursday night. The headline from CBS 2 in Chicago? Concealed carry license holder shoots woman approaching his house in Lincoln Park. The story itself provides almost no information beyond this brief blurb:
Chicago police said a man with a concealed carry license fired at a woman as she approached his house, near Clybourn and Webster around 10:30 p.m.
The woman was shot twice, in the wrist and chest, and taken to Masonic Hospital where she is expected to recover from her physical injuries.
Based on that, you might not think this was a self-defense story at all. Approaching a home isn’t a crime, after all, and based on their brief report it doesn’t sound like the concealed carry holder had any reason to fear for their life or their safety.
ABC 7 in Chicago did a modestly better job in its coverage, describing the encounter as a concealed-carry license holder who “shot a female suspect attempting to break into a Lincoln Park residence”, but even that leaves out a lot of pertinent information that was apparently available to reporters at the scene.
There was one press outlet that did a solid job of reporting what actually happened on Thursday evening, and it’s not a part of the legacy media. The independent website CWB Chicago managed to provide more details than any of its larger competitors, and the story they told is very different than the brief narrative put forth by CBS 2.
A Lincoln Park resident shot and critically injured a burglar who tried to break into their home from the roof on Thursday night, Chicago police said. It’s at least the second time this week that would-be crime victims have shot suspected offenders on the North Side.
Police were initially called to the 2200 blocks of North Clybourn and Janssen to handle reports of a suspicious person on rooftops around 10:28 p.m. But no CPD units were assigned for nearly 20 minutes, even though one homeowner called 911 three times to report the situation, according to dispatch records.
Around 11 o’clock, just a couple of minutes after the call was finally assigned, 911 callers reported shots fired and a person shot on the block.
Cops arrived to find a woman shot on the roof of a home in the 2200 block of North Clybourn, according to a CPD media statement. A man who lives in the house, a concealed carry license holder, shot her to keep her from entering his residence, police said.
The woman received gunshot wounds to her chest and wrists. She’s at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in good condition, according to police.
Officers at the scene said it appeared that she entered the property through a nearby construction site and used rope to get onto the roof. Cops found a bag containing hypodermic needles and possible heroin at the scene.
So the woman wasn’t “approaching the home” when she was shot, but was actively trying to break in through the roof of a residence. I’d say that’s a pretty important detail, so why wasn’t it included by the local CBS and ABC affiliates? I’d say it’s also newsworthy that Chicago police didn’t respond to the area for nearly 20 minutes despite multiple 911 calls, but again that information was completely left out of the reports from the legacy media.
We saw something very similar play out in Las Vegas recently, where an armed citizen stopped an active shooting incident at a high rise apartment complex. Local news media were very slow to report on the role that the armed citizen played in preventing anyone besides the perpetrator from being shot and killed, and the story received almost no play in the national media, with one very notable exception. The Heritage Foundation’s Amy Swearer was among those expressing frustration at both the lack of media attention and the absence of information by police officials in Las Vegas, but more than a week after the defensive gun use took place Fox managed to provide additional details and confirmation that the armed employee who killed the attacker wasn’t carrying a gun as part of his job.
On June 28, local outlets and Fox News Digital were able to get more information on the case when police began releasing Warrender’s arrest report.
The report confirmed that an employee of Turnberry Towers who worked both security and deliveries shot Warrender and was not a suspect in the case. His name was redacted from the reports reviewed by Fox News Digital.
The unidentified employee told police that at about 2:50 on the day of the shooting, a valet employee at the hotel alerted him that Warrender was “about to point a firearm at him.” The armed security guard who thwarted the suspect told police he is not asked to carry a firearm while at work, but “chooses to do so on his own free will.” The employee had the Smith & Wesson in a holster on his waist with additional ammunition on his person, according to the report.
Police said the employee discharged “12-13 rounds at Warrender causing him to fall down and drop the rifle,” the arrest report states. Warrender was ultimately arrested and transported to a nearby hospital for his wounds.
Swearer said in a Twitter thread on June 27, before the arrest report was reported, that it appeared the police department wanted to downplay the crime as to not highlight that a “good guy with a gun” prevented a tragedy.
“Four days, and LVPD apparently doesn’t think it’s important to clarify basic facts of an incident that would probably garner national attention. They’d prefer you just move along, folks, because what does it matter if a good guy with a gun saved lives?,” Swearer wrote.
In that case, the LVPD may very well have played an active role in suppressing this information, but the Chicago PD apparently released a media statement containing most of the pertinent facts that were ignored by the local TV news stations in last night’s defensive gun use. It looks to me like this is another example of anti-gun media bias; specifically, a bias against any coverage that might lead to more people choosing to exercise their Second Amendment right to armed self-defense. The media will cover crime stories all day long, but I’m concerned that when it comes to armed citizens fighting back these stories aren’t getting the attention or the coverage they deserve. That, in turn, can easily give the public a false impression about how common defensive gun uses really are, which serves as an in-kind contribution to the gun control lobby and their quest to eradicate our right to keep and bear arms.