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Western Missouri Shooters Alliance


Brad Alpert's Speech to the KC Star editorial staff--circa 1992

January 2, 1992

Some things are so good that when you run across them, they have to be shared. Read, enjoy & savor the last line. --The Webmistress

We appreciate the opportunity to meet with you today to discuss our concerns with your editorial and news-related coverage of matters pertaining to firearms, the nature of firearms ownership, and your overall portrayal of gunowners.

All of us are gunowners. We are all concerned that our right to continue being so is in danger. We don't understand why our desire to own the firearms of our choice in some way makes us deserving of the pestilential treatment you accord us in the pages of your newspaper. We don't know why you call NRA members 'paid agents of the gun lobby', or why you state, editorially, that gunowners must be held responsible for repeated crimes committed by criminal psychopaths who have in their possession particular types of firearms. We object to your incessant cartoon portrayals of gunowners as fat-bellied, ignorant, vicious thugs, and we object to the appearance of one-sided, anti-gun editorial columns timed to coincide with votes on restrictive gun bills in the House and Senate.

We think that there is a movement afoot today, one which has as its ultimate goal the disarmament of the American people. Representative Charles Schumer, Sarah Brady, and Senator Howard Metzenbaum, commenting just before House passage of the Brady bill, all stated that waiting periods are just a first step and that other, more "reasonable" restrictions lie ahead. Schumer has gone farther; he has stated, publicly, that his goal "was the eradication of firearms from private ownership within a generation". According to a telephone conversation I had with Mr. Donald Jones, the Kansas City Star's editorial policy is consistent with the aims of Handgun Control, Inc., and further, he said, the Star's editorial board saw no justification for individuals possessing semiautomatic firearms.

In these days of declining firearms accidents among children (due primarily to NRA training in those school districts which permit it), increased threats to citizens due to constitutional rulings stating that police agencies have no specific obligation to protect individual citizens who report violent crimes to them, declining per capita prison population for violent felonies, increasingly common early release for violent criminals from prison due to overcrowding, plea-bargaining on an unmatched scale, and good, hard data from state jurisdictions such as Florida and Georgia which have seen violent crime drop significently in response to laws permitting citizens to carry concealed guns while jurisdictions which have prohibitive gun laws such as New York and D.C. are experiencing skyrocketing violent crime, we have to ask why the Star continues to sell the myth that the availability of firearms causes crime and suffering.

We note that debate on important issues such as this should be conducted using established rules of fairness. In a one-newspaper town, one should reasonably expect that that one newspaper would provide balanced coverage of an issue - even when the editorial board of that newspaper has a strong opinion on that issue. I will say that I respect the Star's position and coverage on many things and that it deals reasonably fairly with such controversial things as abortion, pornography, AIDS, teenage pregnancy, gangs, racism, and so on. Your editorials dealing with these issues are couched in reasonable, conciliatory terms such that people on the other side of these issues can easily assess their own stances in light of your reasoned analyses.

But when the topic is guns and gun ownership, you shed the reasoned approach and move onto a whole new plateau of journalistic shrillness. You ignore sober, serious studies conducted by the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, you ignore data contained in the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Reports, and you do it in favor of what? In favor of emotional, gut-level arguments in support of your position that ownership of firearms should be severely restricted and that entire classes of firearms which have been in existence for nearly 100 years should be banned from civilian ownership. You use cooked numbers supplied by Sarah Brady's front groups - from studies which have been discounted by serious researchers in the field.

In editorial material concerning your position on the Brady bill, you never once mentioned that the handgun used by Mr. John Hinckley was purchased by him in accordance with Texas' 15-day waiting period, and you have never railed at the justice system which failed to charge Mr. Hinckley with felonious crime and put him in jail in connection with his attempt to smuggle two handguns aboard an airplane. Nor did you mention that Patrick Purdy, schoolyard slayer of Stockton, had seven previous felony arrests, and that all of those charges had been plea-bargained down to misdemeanors, permitting him to purchase the rifle and handguns with which he dispensed death, and in accordance with California and federal law. You did not mention that his psychiatrist had charted that Purdy was a threat to others and that he should be institutionalized. You blamed the guns for what this madman did.

You use tragedies such as these to fuel peoples' emotions - but you never editorialize on the benefits of gun ownership when an armed homeowner defends his stake with his firearm. You never point out, in your editorials, that privately-owned firearms are used in excess of one million times per year to avert the commission of a violent crime, or that armed citizens kill more than three times the number of illegally-armed, violent criminals as do the police.

And finally, I must say to you that, if you truly believe in the stereotypical image of us which you regularly present to the public, then all of you here are either very, very brave or very, very stupid. For if the image of us which you convey were true, no one but us NRA members would be breathing right now.

Thank you.