Did Media Fearmongering On Guns Lead To LAX Panic?

(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

One of the most powerful institutions in our country is the media. Between television and print, they get a lot of input in how Americans think, and they’ve been using a lot of that to warn you about the dangers of guns and mass shootings.

To hear them tell it, the odds of you being killed by a mass shooter are roughly akin to the odds you’re going to breath in some nitrogen with your oxygen, which has a lot of people skittish, to say the least.

I can’t help but think of that when I read this story:

Reports of a man with a gun at Los Angeles International Airport sent about 300 travelers fleeing from Terminal 1 onto the airfield Thursday evening, resulting in confusion and a temporary ground stop for flights – as well as minor injuries to at least two people trying to evacuate. At least one traveler required hospitalization.

The confusion began when two men started arguing in the terminal and one of the men was shouting about a gun, a KNBC-TV reporter in Los Angeles tweeted, saying both men were initially detained and one released. The second man was being held for a psychiatric evaluation.

At 7:50 p.m. PT airport officials said police had confirmed there was “no threat and no active shooter” at LAX and that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was continuing to hold traffic on the ground. Flights resumed soon after.

No shots were fired and officials say no firearm was found, yet people still completely and totally freaked out.


I can’t help but think that all it takes is one person being concerned about a shooting and then the telephone game kicks into play and it soon becomes a shooter in the airport. Because people have been conditioned to believe this is particularly common, they think they’re rushing to survival and they don’t take any particular pains to look out for anyone else.

They’re panicking over nothing because they’ve been told to be afraid.

Mass shootings are remarkably rare…so long as you don’t play the Gun Violence Archive game where they count gang shootings where no one dies as being the exact same as the Las Vegas shooting. You get a handful per year in a nation of around 330 million people. You’re more likely to die in a car accident or of cancer than you are of being killed in a mass shooting.

Yet people are terrified of them. We constantly hear about how kids are afraid to go to school because of these shootings, but no one blinks an eye at getting into a car.

The reason is that media has primed people to be afraid. In trying to sell gun control to the masses, they’ve made them terrified of even the mention of guns.

That’s how you can incite a panic at a major airport when it’s really just two guys having a scuffle.

Guns are dangerous if misused, sure, but so are so many other things that no one bats an eye at. It’s the media conditioning people to fear guns that leads to panic and resulted in a couple of people being injured. Frankly, it’s fortunate no one was killed since that’s on the table during such a situation.

And we know it was a panic brought about by the media simply because there was no gun actually found, therefore no gunshots, and people still panicked.

It’s time for the media to take a step back and recognize their role in what happened and make much-needed changes before someone gets seriously injured or killed.