Net Detectives Helping to Change
by Robert A. Waters
Best Defense: True Stories of Intended Victims Who Defended Themselves with a
We're doing a better job than ever
of tracking and reporting self-defense stories that involve the legal use of a
firearm. KeepAndBearArms.com is archiving
them for use by activists. I'm doing deep research on quite a few for my next book.
And we're planning the next step on how to use these stories, to be announced
But how many of these events are
we missing due to lack of combined efforts and consistent focus? And what can we
do to make sure we catch every last one of these events in our bid to put them
to effective use?
It's simple. We can work together
as a team, each of us covering a very small, manageable base, and blanket the
entire mainstream media, online and offline, and net every last armed
self-defense story that gets covered.
To that end, I'm in the process of
setting up an informal group of activists to monitor online newspapers for
stories of armed self-defense. When you volunteer, it will take just a couple of
minutes per day. But your work may be crucial in turning around the gun debate,
and we can only fully accomplish this task by working as a team.
What I'm asking is for you to
bookmark the "local news" section of two daily online newspapers. Then
check that section each day for self-defense stories. I've bookmarked 30
newspapers, and I scan them for stories every day -- consistently. It takes me
only about fifteen minutes a day.
You may search some newspapers for
months without finding a single self-defense story, but please keep looking. Every
day. For instance, one of the newspapers I check each day is the Chattanooga
Times. In 1999, there were only 19 homicides in Chattanooga. Two of them were
self-defense shootings (both were "justifiable homicides" of home
invaders who were killed by homeowners). Had I given up I might have missed
those stories. Of course, many self-defense stories aren't published at all, but
our job is to scour the local papers for those stories that are published.
Please note that editors don't
always write headlines that indicate someone used a gun in self-defense. For
instance, if I see a headline that reads, "Murderer Captured in
Brentwood," I check it out. Although it's likely that the police captured
the murderer, it sometimes turns out that an armed citizen either made the
capture and turned the bad guy over to the police, or helped lead police to the
suspect. This information may be buried deep in the story. (Once you've done it
a few times, instinct will tell you which stories to click into and read.)
The importance of these stories cannot be over-emphasized. A loose coalition of
writers, editors of major news organizations, television producers, and
politicians have expressed an interest in receiving as many of these stories as
we can find. They have enlisted my help to get that information, so your work
will help get this information to people in power who care, see things our way,
and can do something constructive to bring the issue to light. I'm also
forwarding every story I receive to KeepAndBearArms.com to make sure you find
out about them -- and that they get archived. There is (finally) a movement by
some in the media to publicize these stories. Partner with me to help them find
out about every last publicized self-defense story we can flush out.
Self-defense is the one pro-gun
issue that has the power to pull large numbers of people to our side. It is such
an emotionally-driven issue that the gun-banners won't even debate it. Bring it
up and they run for cover, spewing lies about such events being "rare"
or "non-existent." (I've been collecting these stories for only a few
years and already have developed a database of nearly 6,000 cases.) The
anti-gunners know that they can only lose on this issue. Up to now, the
mainstream media has been a willing accomplice in keeping these stories secret.
Now, however, this is becoming more difficult, and I predict that this will
begin to change in the coming year -- with your help.
To show the power of this issue,
newspapers occasionally poll their readers concerning attitudes toward armed
self-defense. In every poll I've seen, more than ninety-five percent of the
public say that they would shoot someone in self-defense. That, my friends, is
unharnessed power waiting to be tapped. Think about it. On most issues, Americans
are split down the middle: affirmative action; abortion; school choice. Even the
death penalty, one of the most popular political issues among Americans, has
only a seventy percent approval rating.
I can't emphasize enough the
importance of finding as many stories as possible.
I'd like to cover every newspaper
in the country. However, since there are close to 10,000 of them, we'll never
get them all. But if only 100 activists volunteer to check two online newspapers
each day, that would add substantially to our database.
I'm offering to coordinate this
effort (with a volunteer assistant) so that our efforts don't overlap. In
addition to having you choose a newspaper that you read everyday, we may assign
you a second paper to check. Remember, you don't have to wade through the whole
newspaper for these stories, only the local section. This will be an ongoing
effort throughout the months and years.
If you're interested in becoming a
volunteer activist in this cause, you may contact me at the following email
Thank you, and I'm always open to suggestions. To begin with, let's cover these
major papers by accessing their online news archives on a daily basis. Pick two
and tell me which two you've picked so I can mark them off the list. If you'd
prefer to stay local, no problem. Just pick any two online newspapers and send
me your name and the names of the two newspapers you will monitor each day -- so
I know that base is covered.
Following are a few newspapers to
get started. For a complete list of newspapers, go here: http://www.newspapers.com/npcom1.htm.
Anchorage Daily News
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Arlington Heights Daily Herald
Asbury Park Press
Charleston Post & Courier
Chicago Sun Times
Christian Science Monitor
Clarion Ledger (MS)
Colorado Springs Gazette
Columbia S.C. State
Dallas Morn. News
Dayton Daily News
Des Moines Register
Detroit Free Press
The Final Call
Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
Ft. Lauderdale Sun
Grand Rapids Press
Hot Springs Internet
Kansas City Star
Las Vegas Review
Long Beach Press
Daily News Los Angeles
Los Angeles Times
Marine Corps Times
Minnesota Star Tribune
New York Daily News
New York Post
New York Times
New Orleans Picayune
Orange Co. Reg.
Palm Beach Post
Peoria Journal Star
Philadelphia Daily News
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
Raleigh News Observer
Rocky Mountain News
St. Louis Post
St. Paul Pioneer
St. Peters. Times
Salt Lake Tribune
San Antonio Express-News
San Diego Union
San Jose Mercury
Tacoma News Tribune
Union Leader - N.H
White Plains Journal
Wilmington News Journal