Why do we spend so much money on fire proofing buildings when we seem to have so few major fires?
Via Instapundit comes this news story of an armed college student preventing a mass killing. I think the most interesting facet of the story is where it was reported. This story of a lawful citizen killing a home invader and preventing a mass killing didn’t appear in the New York Times, just the website of a local TV station.
On the other hand, had the criminals carried out their apparent plan to murder the 10 victims in the apartment, does anyone doubt that such a horrible crime would have made nationwide news in every form of media? Does anyone doubt that a blizzard of opinion pieces would claim the murders as evidence of the need to disarm the citizenry?
Crimes that never happen because gun owners prevented them don’t make the news. This creates a systematic distortion in the public perception of the tradeoffs of an armed citizenry. People only see the negative events caused by armed citizens and never the many, many positive events that don’t make the news because, well, no one cares if planes routinely land safely or a building doesn’t burn down. When an armed citizen prevents a major crime it’s only local news. When the prospect of encountering an armed citizen causes a criminal to not even attempt a crime, it doesn’t make news anywhere.
The “gun control” debate boils down to arguments between people who understand that this distortion exist and those who don’t.