OOPS! MEDIA DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING! The New Culture of Self-Defense
I had to laugh. A new poll by Pew Research surveyed our attitude towards guns. I laughed at the results, not because the poll was so bad, but because the poll was so true! There are two reasons I liked this poll. First, the biased and self-serving news media accelerated a social trend that the media doesn’t like. Second, the end effect was surely something the media didn’t intend. They never saw it coming. So what is so funny?
Guns have gone mainstream, and the news media helped!
We know the news media distorts reports of violence. “If it bleeds is leads” has been true since Cain killed Abel. This overemphasis on violence in the media had a cumulative effect on American perception. The distorted view of reality is particularly strong among today’s hipsters who are plugged into their smart phones. These media junkies are flooded with headlines of eye-catching violence.
While the media overplays violence, most of the media is biased against the right of self-defense. The media wanted to show us how bad guns were as the media gave us a non-stop report of urban violence. The media sensationalized ordinary crime reports to keep us from changing the channel. The media distortion extends beyond the news. Main stream “entertainment” feeds us shoot-’em-up cop shows night after night.
Ironically, the result of this biased exposure was that more people saw a dangerous world and wanted firearms for self-defense. The media never thought we’d take them seriously, but they change how we viewed the world. Public violence has declined, but your media exposure to it has increased. We think the world is becoming a more violent place.
According to the Pew poll, our opinion of firearms has changed. Today we think guns are good. 63 percent of us say a gun in the home makes us safer. Ten years ago, our opinions were tied half-and-half. Why did we change?
Here is part of the answer. 63 percent of us think crime is on the rise even though crime rates have fallen dramatically. The media distorted our perception of crime. We continue to watch 15 minutes of victimization on the evening news even though the crime rate fell by 75 percent in the last 25 years. The rate of crime with a firearm has decreased despite a record high rate of gun ownership. You won’t read that in the news.
Today, and for the first time, more Americans support the right of self defense rather than support gun control. 52 percent say that protecting gun rights is important while only 42 percent say the government should do more to control gun ownership. That is our opinion despite the tragic murders at Newtown Connecticut only two years ago.
Gun ownership is now main stream. Here are a few more cultural indicators that extend beyond the thousand phone calls used for an opinion poll.
- There are 11 million concealed carry holders in the United States. That is about one out of eight adults.
- Everyone is a gun owner, not just ugly old men. A third of the attendees at the NRA annual meeting were women, and women make up the fastest growing segment of firearms owners.
- Gun ownership is so mainstream that we can talk about moms carrying a child..and a gun at the same time.
- 8 states already allow concealed carry on campus. Colorado had campus carry for 12 years.
- The student government at Catholic University voted for concealed carry on campus.. even though the University is located in anti-gun Washington DC.
- A pacifist Catholic priest now advocates armed self-defense for his congregation.
- We’ve changed from a media who thought you and I shouldn’t be allowed to have guns.. to front page journalists who support gun ownership. (Miller, Beck, Cupp, Pavlich, Loesch, Stossel)
There has been a cultural shift in our attitude towards firearms in the United States. We recognize the right of self-defense.. again. That is a good thing for all of us. It has not come a moment too soon for poor minorities living in our inner cities. Too many of our urban poor are disarmed by local “regulation”.
Let’s you and I keep this a secret. The news media and big-government politicians will be the last to know.