Reporters Let Loose Their Inner Gun Control Activist After Boulder Shooting

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Generally in the wake of something like Boulder King Soopers shooting I generally try — out of respect — to wait to opine until things have cooled slightly.

However, occasionally I run across something (I usually try to avoid coverage for a few days, but this job sort of requires I don’t) that simply requires a response. Such is the case with an article posted on The Insider just hours after the incident.

The headline alone was enough to make my blood boil.

‘When it’s your family, you feel it:’ Colorado supermarket shooting witness says incident calls for gun control

The Insider story is basically a write-up of an on-camera interview where a CBS reporter stuck their recorder in the face of an “unidentified witness”; allegedly a father whose daughter was trapped in the store along with her husband and his grandchildren just as the incident was ending and got that pro-gun control response.

As the Insider reports:

The unidentified witness interviewed by a local CBS News reporter said his daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren had gone to King Soopers pharmacy for the COVID-19 vaccine. He said the suspected shooter had shot the woman standing in line in front of them. 

So why is this so bad? Let me share a story.

Some years ago when I was a spanking new journalism student (well maybe not so spanking new as that, this was my third year in college and I’d been working in the field that whole time) at Fort Hays State University, my advisor Linn Ann Huntington told us a story.

Now Linn Ann was not your typical college prof that had never left academia, She’d been years as a journalist in Oklahoma and knew whereof she spoke. 

She told us of a high school band which had gone to play at (I think… it’s been decades) the Rose Parade. On the flight back, as they were coming in to land in a little puddle jumper, the landing gear refused to come down. So the plane had to circle to burn off fuel so the pilot could safely (for certain values of safe) belly the bird in with less risk of catching fire.

For hours.

Of course this got out and the local media was all over it.

Linn Ann witnessed some nitwit TV reporter shove his mic in the face of a frightened parent and ask “How do you feel?”

I was livid and I wasn’t there. Years later Linn Ann was still frighteningly angry about that idiotic move. But the lesson stuck. You do not report the reactions of scared or grieving people while an incident is underway or just ended. They’re not in their right minds and likely to say things they wish they hadn’t. 

It’s disrespectful and it’s unethical. It’s one of the most obscene functions of modern day journalism; swooping down like vultures to gobble up soundbites from those in shock and grief as a tragedy unfolds in front of them.

Sadly, this sort of thing has become de rigueur for the media these days, and if that were the only thing in the article I’d have let it go.

Yes folks, it got worse.

A few paragraphs down — remember this is just hours after the shooting, where we have NO facts — the Insider throws in a nonsequitur, which has little to nothing to do with the case at hand.

Colorado is a shall-issue state, and residents can get concealed carry permits from their local sheriff’s offices. There are currently no purchase permit or firearm registration requirements for handguns.

And?

Remember, at this point we still didn’t know who the suspect was. We didn’t — at that time — know what he was carrying. How he obtained it, whether he was legally allowed to have it.

Nothing.

But the Insider insists on conflating shall-issue with the shooting.

We now know he used a semi-automatic rifle, and had a history of anger issues, including statements that should have been a red flag.

The article then goes on to note that in 2018 after the Parkland shooting: 

Boulder enacted two ordinances that banned possessing or selling assault weapons and large-capacity magazines. However, Colorado’s state government prohibits local governments from passing their own gun control measures, and those ordinances were both overturned, according to the Denver Post.

That’s because they were entirely symbolic virtue-signaling by woke, leftist politicians in Berkeley By The Rockies, who knew damned well they were in violation of state law. But it won them woke-points and woke-votes, and that’s what they were aiming for.

The Insider implied — before the names of the victims were even released — that if Boulder’s regulations had been allowed to stand this never would have happened. Never mind that the suspect wasn’t even a resident of Boulder, or that we didn’t know anything about him at the time. Rather than wait for the facts, the reporter was eager and willing to jump to conclusions and help establish an anti-gun narrative.

So what exactly did shall-issue or Boulder virtue signaling have to do with this? Nothing, except another opportunity to conflate the law-abiding exercise of a constitutional right with a violent crime, and imply that by restricting one we can stop the other. 

 

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Apr 15, 2021 2:30 PM ET