If you are a major network and want to 'target' gun owners and gun dealers in a story, what would you do? Why you would write a story about a gun dealer offering a steep discount on firearms for college students, and then only interview the dealer and those who oppose his business and his special offer.
The owner of TGSCOM, Eric Thompson, announced today that for the next two weeks he will sell firearms at cost in the hopes of targeting students who may be on a tight budget. Customers will have over 5,400 different kinds of firearms from which to choose.
"This offer allows students and people who might not have otherwise been able to afford a weapon to purchase one at a hefty discount and at a significant expense to myself," Thompson told ABCNews.com.
Thompson unknowingly sold firearms to the shooters at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University. Because of this, he has determined he needs to turn these tragedies around by offering steeply discounted firearms for a limited time so that citizens can afford to protect themselves and their loved ones. He plans to visit the Virginia Tech campus to speak to students who support his efforts.
"The next news story I want to be involved in is how I sold a firearm to someone who helped stop a mass murderer. By forgoing a profit, I hope to help give law-abiding citizens the tools to prevent tragedy," he said.
Sounds great, doesn't it? However, ABC News and those they interviewed for this story don't seem to think so. But instead of interviewing for this story the students at Virginia Tech, gun advocacy groups, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus or Republican lawmakers who are interested in relaxing gun ownership laws, ABC News chose to only include opinions which opposed or criticized the move by Thompson. Here are some snippets.
A spokesperson for Virginia Tech said that Thompson's remarks and offer are "incredibly insensitive to the families of the victims who lost loved ones, and to the injured students still recovering from this horrendous tragedy," said Larry Hincker, the Associate Vice President for University Relations.
Gun control advocates also call Thompson's special offer "shameless".
"He's arming the criminals and then telling the rest of us to buy guns so we can protect ourselves from the criminals he's armed," said Peter Hamm, communications director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
"What this shows is that to the gun industry, gun violence is at best an abstract concept and at worst a business opportunity," said Josh Sugarmann, the Executive Director of the Violence Policy Center.
"Free speech is a hallmark of university life," said Hincker. "Still, I find it terribly offensive to learn that the gun-seller of the weapons used in the Virginia Tech campus murders would set foot on this campus."
In fairness to ABC News, I did an Internet search for other discussions on this and found this story titled "Conceal and Carry at VA Tech?". In it they interview the VA Tech chapter of the Students for Concealed Carry on Campus and they think you should be shocked that survivors of the tragedy think that gun ownership is the solution.
One year later, the Virginia Tech campus is once again an idyllic place, and Norris Hall, where 30 people were murdered by Seung-Hui Cho, and where he took his own life, is being transformed into a Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention.
So, it might come as a shock to learn that, for some students at Virginia Tech, the answer to Cho's gun rampage is concealed handguns — on campus.
In the original ABC News story, the attempt to paint Eric Thompson as the bad guy seems fairly obvious. While they did give him the opportunity to make the case for his special gun sale, they neglected to cover his remorse for the tragedies and why he is so motivated to prevent them in the future. Thompson has created a website - www.gundebate.com - to promote open dialog on gun ownership and solicit solutions to prevent future tragedies. And finally, ABC News refused to present any viewpoints which would have supported his efforts. As a result, ABC News now finds itself in this Newsbuster's cross hairs.
Cross-posted at Conservative Belle.