Saturday, June 22, 2019

The Untold Story of Guns
by Robert A. Waters

Some stories can be judged as too gruesome to show on prime-time television—for instance, the horrifying scenes of desperate people jumping from the Twin Towers on September 11.  Or the ISIS beheadings a few years ago.  Most American networks chose not to show those disturbing scenes.

In other cases, the media will choose not to report stories that go against the grain of a certain political narrative.  Self-defense stories are a prime example.  Major media outlets rarely report these cases, choosing instead to sensationalize mass shootings and the supposed malfeasance of gun-owners.  (Mass shootings should be covered, but so should defensive stories.)  Without a balanced approach to the news, citizens may not have the information required to make rational decisions.

If there are any honest reporters still out there, here’s a suggestion.

According to the FBI, there were 1.3 million home invasions in 2018.  Because homeowners are generally inside their residences when these crimes occur, there is a high potential for violence.  So, how about an investigative report on defensive actions that some residents take during home invasions?

In the new book, Guns and Self-Defense: 23 Inspirational True Stories of Survival with Firearms, the authors describe events that took place on a freezing night in Highland, Illinois.  Debi Keeney and Donna Carlyle lived in a housing community for the elderly.  The sisters, both disabled, kept a tiny .22-caliber revolver near the couch where they would watch television late into the night.  When a violent ex-con broke into their home to rob the sisters, he literally threw Debi across the room, severely injuring her.  He began to choke Donna, allowing Debi time to grab her “derringer,” as she liked to call the gun.  After firing a warning shot that the assailant ignored, Debi shot Joshua Jewel.  Without that gun, the sisters would likely have been murdered.  (Both suffered life-threatening injuries during the savage attack.)

Paralyzed for life from the shooting, Jewel was sentenced to a long prison term.  In her impact statement to the court, Debi said, “Just thinking about [that night] makes my hands shake and my eyes fill with tears, and I begin to relive seeing my sister choked to death, and believing if I didn’t shoot, this man would kill her.  Then came the horrible decision of having to use my gun to protect my sister.  He forced me to make that decision, and it forever changed me.”

Like all of the stories in Guns and Self-Defense, there’s much more, including the “story within in the story.”

Wouldn’t that be a great human-interest story?  If you were a reporter, wouldn’t you find that story compelling?  The authors recount more than a half-dozen home invasion stories, each more violent than the next.  The one consistent theme to all these cases is that the intended victims survived only because he or she had “protection,” a firearm.

In addition to home invasions, our intrepid reporter might also research invalids who defended themselves from attack, domestic violence cases in which victims fought back and won, store robberies that went bad for the assailant, and cases in which victims who had concealed carry permits survived.  And there are more, including stories of cops whose lives were saved by armed strangers.

In the mainstream press, self-defense stories have long gone untold.  It’s time for that to change.

Robert A. Waters is the author of six books, including his latest, Guns and Self-Defense: 23 Inspirational True Crime Stories of Survival with Firearms, written with co-author Sim Waters.

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