Accuracy in Media

A year ago, 15-year-old Kip Kinkel shot and killed two of his schoolmates and wounded 22 others at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon. Another student, 17-year-old Jake Ryker, although wounded by Kinkel, wrestled him to the floor and disarmed him before he was able to shoot anyone else or himself. In all the discussion of what took place at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, we have heard no mention of Jake Ryker, his heroic deed, or of the training that gave him the confidence and courage to carry it out.  Jake Ryker gave credit to the fact that he had taken a marksmanship and safety training program given by the National Rifle Association. He was honored at the NRA’s annual national convention last year. His father, Rob Ryker said that both Jake and his 14-year-old brother, Josh, had taken the course. They had learned enough about guns that Jake knew that he had an opportunity to put an end to Kinkel’s killing spree when he heard the click that told him that Kinkel would have to pause to reload his gun. Jake, a wrestler, took him down and disarmed him.  At the NRA convention the Ryker family was held up as proof that a good family can make it possible for good to triumph over evil. Charlton Heston was elected president of NRA, and being the biggest celebrity to win that office in recent history, he attracted considerable attention. He was interviewed for both NBC’s Today Show and ABC’s Good Morning America. Charlton Heston is one of the most popular actors in America, but he is one of the few who dares to be “politically incorrect.” And there seems to be nothing more politically in-correct these days than defending the NRA and its efforts to prevent the erosion of the Second Amendment.  That does not endear him to the likes of Today Show’s Katie Couric and Good Morning America’s Lisa McCree. Heston wanted to tell their viewers about the NRA’s gun safety training program, but they wanted him explain how he could defend the NRA’s position in view of the tragic shooting sprees at three high schools in three months.  In the wake of all these high school tragedies, we hear the same arguments from those who want stiffer gun control and those who, like Charlton Heston, point out that there are already laws on the books that would have prevented these tragedies had they been enforced. It is a violation of federal law to bring a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school. Kip Kinkel, the Thurston High School shooter, had been caught the day before the shooting carrying a firearm into the school.  The police arrested him and took him before the magistrate who released him. He was free to try again the next day, and this time he made sure his handgun was not detected. He proved the point that the NRA has made over and over again. Passing more gun control laws may make those who lobby for them vote and feel good, but if the laws on the books are not enforced and if those who violate them are not punished, the only thing that will be accomplished is an increase in the flow of money to the organizations and politicians who claim they have won a great victory.

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