Jordan Candler / Jan. 24, 2017

Fake News: Vilifying Good Guy With Gun

USA Today wrongly claims, “Shopper who shot suspect did not have carry permit.”

The editors at USA Today were caught disseminating a pejorative headline that readers, assuming they actually clicked through for the story, could determine almost immediately was fake news. The story was about a weekend shooting at a Texas mall, including the actions of a good guy with a gun. But that’s not the impression USA Today gave. Nor was it accidental.

The front-page headline incredulously declared, “Shopper who shot suspect did not have carry permit.” Once you clicked through for the details, the editors offered a slightly different, albeit still misleading, version: “Texas mall: Shopper who shot suspect not allowed to carry.” All but a few “constitutional carry” states require gun owners to obtain a license to pack heat outside the home. And the USA Today headline gives the impression that said shopper was not legally sanctioned by the state to carry a firearm in public. Except that’s not true at all.

The very first paragraph states, “The shopper at a Texas mall who had a concealed carry license and shot a robbery suspect should not have been carrying a gun inside the mall, according to the mall’s policy [emphasis added].” Suddenly, the narrative is flipped on its head. The story goes on to explain, “On Sunday, a man was shot and killed while trying to stop a jewelry store robber at Rolling Oaks Mall in San Antonio. Another man, with a concealed permit, shot one of the suspected robbers who police said stole from a Kay Jeweler’s store. Four others were injured. The San Antonio Police Department said the same robbery suspect fatally shot 42-year-old Jonathan Murphy. Police describe the man who shot the robbery suspect and Murphy as ‘Good Samaritans.’”

What’s really at issue here isn’t the lack of a concealed carry permit but the mall, which proudly markets itself as a gun-free zone. According to mall manager Dustin Christensen, “Although we respect the laws of the state and individual rights, we do, however, maintain a separate code of conduct that we visibly post at our entrances that includes the prohibition of any weapons on the property. Our top priority continues to be the safety of our shoppers as we strive to provide the best possible shopping experience for all.” First of all, the sign didn’t stop armed robbers from entering the complex. Secondly, the only thing providing safety to the shoppers was a good guy with a gun. No wonder the police call him a Good Samaritan.

With an intentionally distorted headline, the ignoramuses at USA Today gave thousands of people the impression that an armed citizen was just as felonious as the thugs he stopped. To say that he “did not have [a] carry permit,” as stated in the headline, which is the only thing many people see, is an outright lie. It’s true that he acted against the local mall’s policies, but that’s a constitutionally dubious thing to argue. Hopefully this will motivate Texas to stop allowing malls to pre-empt the carry law. Even San Antonio police spokesman Officer Doug Greene said, “We just ask people to use their best judgment when they get into situations like this.” Thanks to good judgment from a guy with a gun, lives may have been saved.

The Leftmedia has criticized the Trump administration for its ridiculous use of the term “alternative facts.” Yet earlier this week journalists were all over an erroneous report suggesting Trump, after returning Winston Churchill’s bust to the Oval Office, ousted MLK’s. That was fake news. So is USA Today’s misleading headline regarding a concealed carry permit holder. Those claiming to occupy the moral high ground in the press are clearly not interested in leading by example.

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