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Education Reporter

School Tragedies Reveal Media Bias
Selective reporting aids gun control agenda
SANTEE, CA - The tragic March 5 shooting at Santana High School in suburban San Diego, which resulted in two dead and a dozen wounded, grabbed front page headlines and received round-the-clock national TV and radio coverage. The 15-year-old perpetrator, Charles "Andy" Williams, was described as a "scrawny" kid who was picked on by bullies; a child of divorce whose mother lives in South Carolina and who, classmates said, "didn't get along" with his father.

A week before the shooting - on Feb. 26 - another troubled youth, a college student in Isla Vista, California, rammed his car into a crowd of fellow students at 60 miles per hour, killing four and critically injuring one. As he was arrested, the 19-year-old shouted: "I'm the angel of death!"

In stark contrast to the Santana tragedy, accounts of this rampage were relegated to page two in newspapers and received scant attention from the electronic media. National Libertarian Party spokesman George Getz, commenting on the reporting discrepancy, asked, "What's the explanation, unless journalists are almost 100% against the Second Amendment - and jump on any opportunity to demonize guns and exploit gun-related tragedies, while ignoring other, equally tragic crimes?"

"Journalists are taught to revere the First Amendment and scorn the Second Amendment," Getz stated. "So they use their First Amendment rights to slant and distort the news to attack the Second Amendment."

Supporting Gun Control 
Observers note that the media's trumpeting of gun violence sets the stage for increased efforts by the gun control lobby, as occurred in the wake of the 1999 tragedy at Columbine High School in Colorado. In a commentary on Newsmax.com (3-12-01), Medical Sentinel Editor-in-Chief Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D. noted that, while President Bush asked Americans to "pray for the children" at Santana High School and called Williams' heinous crime "a disgraceful act of cowardice," "demagogic politicians like U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) once again used a tragic occasion to renew their gun prohibitionist efforts."

According to Dr. Faria, Schumer and Feinstein were joined by "the usual suspects," Sarah Brady and Handgun Control Inc. "HCI immediately called for the passage of a number of anti-gun proposals for the nation, most of which are already in place in California," he wrote. Dr. Faria pointed out that, ironically, HCI had awarded California the highest "grades" on its state gun control report card for "laws protecting children from gun violence."

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