Time.com Misleads Readers with Faulty Headline on Pittsburgh Shooter

"Shop Sold Guns to Pa., Va. Tech Shooters" blares the headline for an August 7 Associated Press story carried on Time.com.

But Time's headline for the accompanying AP story is woefully inaccurate and worse, deceptive. Pittsburgh fitness center shooter George Sodini, whom police say purchased his firearms legally, did not purchase them from online accessories dealer TGSCOM, Inc.

The same story accessed at Google has a more accurate headline,  "Pa. gunman used same Web store as Va. Tech shooter."

Here's the story as carried on Time.com:

(BRIDGEVILLE, Pa.) — The gunman who killed three women and wounded nine others at a Pittsburgh-area health club bought accessories for a handgun from the same Wisconsin-based dealer that sold a gun to the Virginia Tech shooter.

Forty-eight-year-old George Sodini bought the accessories from TGSCOM Inc. of Green Bay, Wis.

Police investigating Tuesday's shootings at the L.A. Fitness center in Collier Township have said Sodini bought his weapons legally.

TGSCOM's president, Eric Thompson, confirmed the purchases after WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh obtained a receipt. Thompson says he's cooperating with investigators.

Sodini committed suicide after the shootings, as did Seung-Hui Cho who bought a .22-caliber handgun from TGSCOM in February 2007, two months before he killed 32 people at Virginia Tech.

At the Web site for his company, Thompson denies that he sold any weapons used by Sodini and that he is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.

Other media outlets are taking an even more aggressive tack in spinning this development for maximum pro-gun control potential.

For example, New York Daily News's Rich Schapiro takes aim at Thompson as an arms dealer to psychos (headline in bold below):

Same dealer armed three mass killers: Pa. gym gunman, Va. Tech shooter, Ill. student

The sex-deprived loon who killed three women at a Pittsburgh gym bought gun accessories from the same online weapons dealer that sold firearms used in two other massacres.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.