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by Dr. Michael S. Brown

The recent mass murder in Wakefield, Massachusetts is providing a number of valuable lessons in media coverage, the behavior of the anti-gun lobby, and most important, the effectiveness of gun laws.

Turn on any news channel and you will see all the usual suspects. Talking heads debate the effect on proposed gun laws in Congress. Breathless reporters spend long minutes of precious air time examining every possible detail of the weapons involved in the murders. Of course they make all the usual errors like calling a pistol a semi-automatic revolver and inventing other amazing misnomers.

You might think that people who call themselves journalists would make an effort to become more familiar with a subject that they love so much. Unfortunately, journalists as a group have demonstrated time after time that they know little about guns and do not want to learn. They don't want any inconvenient facts getting in the way of a good story that casts the cold eye of suspicion on gun owners.

The anti-gun lobby is already dancing in the blood of the innocent victims. The gun haters see another opportunity to force their vision of a gun free utopia a little bit farther down the slippery slope. They conveniently ignore the fact that Massachusetts already has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. New restrictions added in the last few years have made life extremely difficult for law abiding gun owners in that state, but the killer, as usual, simply ignored the laws. If these laws are supposed to be so good for us, why don't they provide any protection?

The dirty little secret of the anti-gun lobby is that gun laws have never been an effective way to reduce violence. In fact, the reverse may be true, since studies by John Lott and others have proven that mass shootings, as well as rapes and assaults, are less likely in states that have issued a large number of concealed weapon permits. The statistics are in and gun control doesn't work. Passing additional laws that make self defense more difficult will never reduce mass murders or any other kind of crime.

Insane persons intent on carrying out an act of mass revenge invariably choose a location where their victims are certain to be unarmed. This is one reason why these attacks always occur in places like schools or office buildings where weapons for self defense are prohibited.

Early reports from Wakefield indicate that the killer expected no resistance. He took plenty of time to calmly reload his weapon while the unarmed victims dialed 911 in vain. The laws and the anti-gun culture of Massachusetts guaranteed his success. Things would have turned out much differently if someone in the ill-fated office had been armed with a handgun and a cool head. Perhaps the attack would never have occurred if the killer feared for his own life.

Regardless of how you feel about guns or self defense, you must admit that murderers will always be able to find a weapon suitable for their deranged purpose. If not a gun, then an automobile, a homemade bomb or a simple can of gasoline are just as lethal and even more dangerous to bystanders.

Anti-gun laws only deprive good people of the right to self defense and distract society from the real causes of violence. If we truly wish to reduce violence, we must turn away from the mean-spirited cultural war against gun owners and open our minds to new ideas.

Dr. Michael S. Brown is a member of Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws, on the web at You can also find his archive of writings on our site at