The irresponsible reporting of Brian Ross on the Colorado theater shooting, and it’s time to think about gun control
By now most everyone has heard the story about how Brian Ross tried to implicate the Tea Party in the shooting in a Colorado movie theater the other night, and I hadn’t intended to write a post on it, but the rush to judgement made on a major news outlet by one of its reporters and the utterly irresponsible reporting has really bothered the hell out of me and I can no longer ignore the story on America’s Watchtower.
First, let us look at the transcript of the conversation between Brian Ross and George Stephanopoulos:
Stephanolpoulos: I’m going to go to Brian Ross. You’ve been investigating the background of Jim Holmes here. You found something that might be significant.
Ross: There’s a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it’s Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.
Stephanolpoulos: Okay, we’ll keep looking at that. Brian Ross, thanks very much.
I think that it is safe to assume that when most people heard that a crazed gunman had opened fire in a movie theater filled with defenseless fans of the Batman movies our first thoughts were with the victims and their families, but that evidently was not the first thought that came into the mind of Brian Ross. His first thought seems to have been “is there any way we can possibly blame this on the Tea Party” because while investigating the background of the killer (Jim Holmes) he had the strange idea that he should check out the Colorado Tea Party’s Facebook page to see if there was a Jim Holmes listed as a member. Why did this thought occur to Brian Ross? The answer is simple, he wanted to find something there.
And he wanted to find something so badly that he didn’t even bother to investigate any further once he thought he found what he so desperately wanted to find. He ran with the story knowing full well he might not have the right guy, and the fact that he admitted during his report that he didn’t know if he had the right Jim Holmes is no consolation; in fact it is just more proof of how irresponsible and agenda driven he really is.
ABC has apologized for the mistake but this is not nearly enough because this was not simply a mistake, it was an instance of journalistic malpractice of epic proportions and Brian Ross has shown that he has no journalistic integrity and he should be fired by ABC–nothing less is acceptable. At this point I am willing to give George Stephanolpoulos a pass because there is no proof that when he said Brian Ross might have found something “significant” that he knew what Brian Ross was about to report, and he did seem to cut away from the segment rather quickly. There is no doubt in my mind that Stephanolpoulos thinks along the same lines as Brian Ross, but it does seem to me that even he realized this was most irresponsible.
As the Daily Caller points out here the media has a history of trying to falsely pin the blame for certain stories on the Tea Party when they think it can serve their agenda, but with the possible exception of the reporting after Gabby Giffords was shot, this just might be the worst case of irresponsible reporting in an attempt to push an anti-Tea Party agenda we have seen to date. Brian Ross did not think of the possible consequences which could have resulted from his decision–the family of Jim Holmes could have been targeted for retaliation–and luckily his report did not lead to more violence against innocent people.
Besides the media attempting to blame the Tea Party on the occasion that violence breaks out in the United States in the form of a story such as this there is one other thing that we can count on; the proponents for gun control use the incident to clamor for more gun control laws. Nanny Bloomberg was the first politician to say that we need to do something about our gun control laws in the wake of the Colorado shooting and I agree with him.
It is time we reexamine our gun laws to see if there is anything we can do to make Americans more safe. It turns out that the Colorado movie theater where this shooting took place was a gun free zone meaning that the only person in the theater with a gun was the killer. What would have happened if just one person in the crowd had a weapon? We all know the old adage about guns being outlawed so I won’t repeat it here, but when laws help to make citizens more defenseless this is precisely what can happen.
When Jim Holmes entered the theater on that night he knew he would be the only person in the theater with a weapon because law abiding American gun owners are the only people who are affected by gun control laws, and the law abiding citizens were the only ones without weapons in the theater. Gun control laws actually benefit the criminals and Jim Holmes might just have been emboldened by the fact that the laws which are designed to protect the people from gun violence actually make the criminal more safe than his potential victims, not the other way around.
So yes, it is time to look at our gun control laws. How is implementing more laws on the people who are already following the law going to prevent someone from acquiring and carrying a weapon who does not have any inclination to follow the laws which are already on the books? Why do these politicians want to punish people who are following the law and have done nothing wrong–like the victims in the movie theater–for the crimes of people who will disobey any gun laws? Gun control does not work, it doesn’t ameliorate the problem of gun violence, it only deepens it.
And finally, from The Right Scoop, this is what can happen when you have a well-armed citizenry: