November 11, 2017

Press on Texas Massacre: Attacker Had ‘Military-Style’ Weapon, Man Who Shot Him Had a ‘Rifle’

The gun-control crowd quickly ratcheted down its political opportunism in the wake of Sunday’s Sutherland Springs, Texas church massacre once it became known that a “good guy with a gun” put a stop to Devin Kelley’s killing spree, saving dozens of lives. At RedState on Wednesday, Carl Arbogast noted that what remained was a double standard in press descriptions of the respective weapons used by Kelley and Stephen Willeford, the man who stopped him.

The objective in the media reporting Arbogast noted was to describe Kelley’s weapon in frightening, gun control-friendly terms, while describing Willeford’s weapon generically (bolds are mine):

Nearly every story about Kelley talked about the type of gun he used and naturally, the stories were punctuated by describing the gun as “military style” and an “assault weapon.” But Willeford just used a gun. Or a rifle.

Here are the examples of the double standard Arbogast cited (links are in original):

Observe How The Media Describes Stephen Willeford’s Firearm Vs. Devin Kelley

If there’s anything the media hates, it’s a story about a good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun. Worse for them is knowing the guy is an NRA instructor. But it goes further than that. Looking through the stories about Willeford, a pattern emerges in their reporting.

Here are some examples. CNN:

When Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire inside First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs on Sunday, Stephen Willeford, who lives near the church, grabbed his own gun and ran out of the house barefoot to confront the gunman.

USA Today:

Willeford said he had very little time to think Sunday when his daughter told him about the shooting. He loaded his magazine and ran across the street to the church, not even taking the time to put on shoes. When Willeford saw the gunman, he exchanged gunfire.

Huffington Post:

Willeford said he grabbed his rifle from a safe and ran barefoot to the church when his daughter told him about the shooting. Once there, he confronted 26-year-old gunman Devin Patrick Kelley and the two traded gunfire.


Willeford says his daughter alerted him to what sounded like shots being fired at the nearby First Baptist Church. That is when, he said, he got his rifle out of his safe.

Inside Edition:

Willeford said he was at home in Sutherland Springs when his daughter heard gunfire at the church. He grabbed his rifle, loaded it and ran barefoot to the church.

Meanwhile, Arbogast noted, by linking to a Google search, the high frequency with which Kelley’s firearm was described as a “military-style” or “assault” weapon. A Google Web search on Arbogast’s search term returned 187 items when I repeated it Saturday afternoon. The detailed results comprise a veritable Who’s Who of the establishment press.

Well, what kind of rifle did Willeford actually use? (bold and italics are in original)?

Willeford used an AR-15. That’s right. One of those “military-style assault weapons” they’re always crowing about.

Imagine that.

There must be a tacit journalists’ stylebook rule saying that a good guy with a gun can never be described as using an “assault weapon” — even when he or she uses a firearm the gun-grabbers routinely describe as an “assault weapon” or a “military-style rifle” when coming up with ideas for getting them out of circulation or confiscating them.

Cross-posted at


1 Comment

  1. Old article but still relevant:

    Myths of American gun violence

    After adjusting for America’s much larger population, we see that many European countries actually have higher rates of death in mass public shootings.

    Let’s look at such mass public shootings (four or more people killed, and not in the course of committing another crime) from 2009 to the present. To make a fair comparison with American shootings, I have excluded terrorist attacks that might be better classified as struggles over sovereignty, such as the 22 people killed in the Macedonian town of Kumanovo last month.

    Norway had the highest annual death rate, with two mass public shooting fatalities per million people. Macedonia had a rate of 0.38, Serbia 0.28, Slovakia 0.20, Finland 0.14, Belgium 0.14, and the Czech Republic 0.13. The U.S. comes in eighth with 0.095 mass public shooting fatalities per million people, with Austria close behind…

    …There is a common thread: Many of these attacks occur in places where general citizens can’t carry guns. According to one of his friends, the Charleston killer initially considered targeting the College of Charleston but decided against it because it had security personnel.

    This logical behavior on the part of attackers is common. It is abundantly clear from diary entries and Facebook posts that the shooters last year in Santa Barbara, Calif., and New Brunswick, Canada, passed on potential targets where people with guns could stop them.

    With virtually all of the mass public shootings in America and Europe taking place where general citizens can’t carry guns for protection, at some point it has to become apparent even to die-hard gun control advocates that gun-free zones only protect the killers.

    The Texas church shootings typified the gun free zone that is characteristic of mass murders.


    UPDATED: Comparing Death Rates from Mass Public Shootings and Mass Public Violence in the US and Europe

    The bottom line is person(s) who determine to shoot a bunch of people do so only when they are sure they won’t return fire. Even nut jobs realize that a fair fight doesn’t stack the deck in their favor.

    Comment by dscott — November 12, 2017 @ 10:19 am

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