Gun Group Says MTV 'Fair' to Gun Owners, Not Facts


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Desertdog
December 30, 2005, 03:30 PM
Gun Group Says MTV 'Fair' to Gun Owners, Not Facts
By Jeff Johnson
CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer
http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewCulture.asp?Page=\Culture\archive\200512\CUL20051230a.html

(CNSNews.com) - A pro-gun lobbying group is complimenting MTV for treating law-abiding gun owners fairly in its "True Life: I'm a Gun Owner" documentary, which aired Thursday night. But Gun Owners of America argued that the producers featured misleading and inaccurate statistics and focused almost exclusively on anti-gun anecdotes, giving viewers a false impression about the effects of gun ownership in America.

"Guns are a source of security, status, enjoyment and pride, but they also destroy lives," the program's narrator began. "Should one be in your home?"

"They very well answered that question, unfortunately, in the minds of many of their viewers that 'No, you shouldn't have a gun in your home,'" Erich Pratt of Gun Owners of America said, "because there were no positive anecdotes or statistics that were presented."

The documentary followed Lennie, a college student who was attacked in her home at 17 years of age and now carries a handgun for self-defense; Greg, a hunter pursuing caribou in Alaska; "Lucky," a gang member who owns and carries guns illegally; and Gilbert, a former gang member paralyzed in a gang-related shooting who now works with inner-city youth.

Pratt complemented the producers in one regard.

"It seems that they did treat fairly the two legitimate gun owners, the two 'good guys,'" Pratt allowed. "But they didn't even give you one legitimate case of self-defense with a gun, which is a shame considering that there are, on average, 7,000 such cases every day."

Four young people whose lives were 'affected by guns'

Lucky explained part of his motivation for carrying one or more guns illegally, even though he knows doing so could land him in prison.

"I wake up every morning not knowing where I'm gonna get my next dollar from. I hate being broke, but I'm not gonna work, so you put the math together. I'm gonna get it some kinda way," Lucky said. "Guns make things a little bit more easily accessible."

After being acquitted of an armed robbery charge during a trial shown early in the documentary, Lucky was later arrested and convicted of felony weapons possession and sentenced to up to three years in prison. Throughout the program, he stressed the "need" to illegally possess firearms to protect himself from rival gang members.

Greg described guns as "the tools that we use to enjoy the sport of hunting" and explained that he was taught to shoot at 6 years of age by his father, began duck hunting at age 10 and killed his first deer when he was 12.

"I feel electrified when I'm out there," Greg said as he prepared for a caribou hunt in Alaska. "I just love the challenge of the hunt."

After successfully tracking and killing a caribou, Greg decided to stay in Alaska and become a hunting guide. His first clients were also successful in their outing.

Gilbert, the former gang member paralyzed from the waist down when he was shot during a gang turf war, repeatedly blamed guns for the many injuries and deaths resulting from gang-related attacks that plague his city.

"That's the kind of hunting that's done in Los Angeles. You go out and you hunt humans," Gilbert said. "There's (sic) no bears around here, no moose. There's (sic) human beings."

Mentoring more than 50 boys and young men through a program called "Caught in the Crossfire," Gilbert tries to convince them of the positive alternatives to gang life. His aversion to firearms is so great that he teaches the younger boys not to say "the 'g' word" because, as one young participant explains, "G-u-n is a bad word."

Lennie is transferring to another college away from her hometown and is buying a handgun for personal protection. Cameras accompany her as she returns to the neighborhood where she was almost raped in her home by an intruder.

She explains that the attacker did not complete the sexual assault only because he thought Lennie's mother, who interrupted the crime, was armed.

"I am purchasing a handgun and getting my concealed carry permit so that I will be protected if anything were to happen. I don't want to be afraid to leave my house. I don't want to be afraid to be alone, and that handgun will be on my hip making me feel safe," Lennie explained.

"I need my gun," she added. "I need it to live in my apartment by myself to feel safe."

Through the course of the documentary, Lennie is shown practicing with, cleaning, carrying and storing her gun. In the last segment in which she appears, she is shown taking a martial arts class and expresses her "discomfort" with regularly carrying her pistol for self-defense.

No counterbalancing evidence or statistics

Pratt repeatedly stressed his belief that the two law-abiding gun owners featured in the program were treated fairly. What was not fair, in his opinion, was allowing Gilbert to repeat anti-gun propaganda with no response from the pro-gun community.

"The fact that there was no counterbalancing evidence or statistics to go against the so-called statistics that Gilbert was providing, I think that it was certainly very slanted in that respect," Pratt explained.

As an example, Pratt pointed to the explanation that the possibility of the presence of a firearm ended the attempted rape of Lennie.

"It's raised as a question mark that the thought of a gun may have averted her attempted rape," Pratt noted. "It would have been good to point out the existing evidence on that topic."

That evidence includes a 1979 study by the Carter Justice Department, which found that out of 32,000 attempted rapes of unarmed women, approximately 33 percent were completed. When a woman was armed with a gun or a knife, however, only 3 percent of the rapists were successful.

"A statistic like that could have really bolstered her side," Pratt added, "although there was really no one there to make it because you had two average people who were gun owners versus a well-rehearsed anti-gun spokesman."

Pratt argued that the program could have selected someone who was better able to articulate the evidence in support of gun ownership for self-defense, rather than allowing the anti-gun Gilbert to be the only person citing statistics in support of his opinion.

"They ignored the fact that there are many, many legitimate cases of self-defense," Pratt concluded. "In fact, when you compare [legitimate, self-defense use versus criminal misuse], guns are used 80 times more often to save lives than to take lives."

That statistic is reached by comparing the number of murders committed with firearms each year from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports to the number of self-defense gun uses reported annually in studies by the Justice Department and various university economists and criminologists. A self-defense gun "use" is defined as threatening the use of, displaying, aiming or firing a gun to stop a criminal act.

MTV officials were not available to comment on the program either before or after it aired. The producers of the documentary, Shadowbox Films of New York, referred all questions to MTV.

Cybercast News Service also contacted the Violence Policy Center and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to obtain a response to "True Life: I'm a Gun Owner" from gun control advocates. The VPC's offices are closed for the remainder of the year. The Brady Campaign said it would not have anyone available to immediately respond to the program

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Tequila_Sauer
December 30, 2005, 03:42 PM
It was somewhat fair to the gun owners, but the two gang related stories were just annoying. The one guy said he was gangbanging with a firearm at 13!!!!

I just don't understand how a person like that is supposed to represent gun owners. And they don't have a single person on the show that used a firearm in self-defense. To mention how many people are "cut down" by bullets and then not mention how many of them were hit by a bullet from an illegally owned weapon just strikes me as slanted.

All in all, though, it wasn't bad.

Mad Chemist
December 30, 2005, 04:24 PM
I'm 29 yo and I haven't watched MTV in over a decade. It was the lowest common denominator for culture back then and still is today. It's total trash, chock full of lame reality shows, juvenile attitudes about relationships and sex, exploitation, and crappy top 40 music.:barf:

I would expect Viacom/MTV to do a favorable piece on gun ownership around the same time Bill O'Reily does a tribute to the Clinton's.:D

I believe my bias against MTV may be due to the fact that I occasionally open books and READ them.:cool:
JH

Sactown
December 30, 2005, 04:44 PM
It's like Jerry Springer, you go to extremes to get the viewing audience. Who wants to watch Joe American Citizen enjoying his 2nd Ammendment rights, working, feeding his family, staying out of trouble, when you got a maimed 'banger working with inner city gangs...it's the ratings, it makes "good" tv. I'm with Mad Chemist, read a friggin book. The last good show on MTV was with Jenny McCarthy!!!

TexasRifleman
December 30, 2005, 06:38 PM
And again, it's MTV. What did you really expect?

Standing Wolf
December 30, 2005, 07:23 PM
I still haven't missed my television for a seventeenth of a skosh of a nanosecond.

TexasRifleman
December 30, 2005, 07:24 PM
I still haven't missed my television for a seventeenth of a skosh of a nanosecond.


If it wasn't for the History channel, I'd be right there with you.

KriegHund
December 30, 2005, 07:46 PM
"I wake up every morning not knowing where I'm gonna get my next dollar from. I hate being broke, but I'm not gonna work, so you put the math together. I'm gonna get it some kinda way," Lucky said. "Guns make things a little bit more easily accessible."

:rolleyes: Not sure wether to laugh or cry at this.

Im not really surprised...i mean, its MTV!
I mean, these are the people who produce crap like laguna beach *shudder* :barf:

Lucky
December 30, 2005, 11:43 PM
No relation, btw.

Lupinus
December 30, 2005, 11:50 PM
I haven't watched MTV in years with rare exception of bored channel surfing. They show garbage, play garbage music, and promote things that are contributing to the downfall of socity.

If I want music on TV I watch one of the country or clasic rock ones on my digital cable or watch CMT (country music tv)

Though they do mention guns a lot. Normaly with the hos and in to form of popping a cap in a cops azz or some crap like that. Least that is my understanding of the crap music they play.

jkswiss
December 31, 2005, 01:05 AM
MTV do have the "Wild Boyz", which I find hilarious. I wish I could have caught the gun special though.

outofbattery
December 31, 2005, 01:37 AM
It will be reshown this weekend almost certainly,it was on againt tonight even.

I thought it was fair and that those who say negative things about it without viewing it are as guilty as anti's who refuse to listen to something " some hick redneck Republican" has to say when it comes to being openminded about discussion.The girl was not the best example of a well trained,knowledgable gun owner ( nor the most stable of souls) but statistically,the average gun owner is more likely to be like her:own a gun for protection without practicing with it or being aware of all the laws( for example,her possibly breaking VA law by CCWing in a bar) but even look at what you see here,populated by gun enthusiasts, when it comes to questionable advice,legal misinformation and admissions of negligent discharges and so on.Face it though,there wouldn't have been much to discuss if it was just any random one of us on TV taking a few guns to the range,shooting a couple hundred holes in paper and coming home.In fact,the opening line was that the majority of guns are owned by responsible owners.If you're looking for an anti hackjob,this wasn't your show.

The scumbag from Jersey might as well have been on True Life:I'm a Human Colostomy Bag or True Life:Public Education and Parental Guidance Failed Me but let's be honest:do we own firearms to protect ourselves from the law abiding each others?Nope and you've got to know your enemy.

Bubbles
December 31, 2005, 08:10 AM
I contacted the SAS Virginia State Coordinator, who knows Lennie and in fact got MTV in touch with her when they called asking if we knew of a woman who had been subject to an attack, and the crime was thwarted by a gun, and asked her what she thought of the show.

The following is her response to me:


They [MTV] did so much creative editing I've already reused my tape I put it
on.

You'd never know the training and practice we put in (several days with
them taping), and we went all over VA looking at guns. They filmed her
shooting at the indoor range I use using a remote camera downrange. You'd think from the show all the training she'd had was plinking with her father. I'm furious at it. I haven't talked to her today, but the Lennie they showed is
not the Lennie I know.


There you have it. MTV could have done a much better job depicting law-abiding women gun owners who want to carry for self-defense... and didn't.

hoppinglark
January 1, 2006, 10:30 AM
The ending showed again Journalism at it's finest

Lucky was arrested for possession of a SEMI-Automatic firearm.
When they showed the closing the screen went black and white text told what everyone was doing

"Lucky was sentenced to 3 years on a plea bargain for
Possessing a MACHINE GUN"

(Emphasis added)


yeppers, a semi-automatic pistol is a machine gun...sounds like these guys should work for the BATF...

Don Gwinn
January 1, 2006, 11:27 AM
Well, I for one am shocked. SHOCKED. Let's write letters to the President of MTV and inform him that someone in his organization is producing anti-gun television shows.

I'm sure he'll be shocked, too.

hoppinglark
January 1, 2006, 12:24 PM
it really wasn't that anti.
the girl who got the pistol was cute, I'm sure the younger crowd liked her and maybe a few girls will go out and get a pistol to be just like her...
Hey we can hope can't we?

Barbara
January 1, 2006, 01:07 PM
I actually watched a small segment of it and it didn't seem too bad. I didn't realize it was MTV at first. The part I saw skipped back between a guy who had been shot on the street and some young men going hunting for big game.

I didn't see enough of the show to know what their point was for sure. If it was trying to find ways to end violence, gun-related and otherwise, then I'm all for it. Parts of our society are very violent and having grown up in a place where people did get shot and stabbed sometimes for just walking down the street, I'm good with the media using their influence to try to help that.

I got the impression, from the small part I saw, that wasn't anti-gun, because it showed young people, children, using guns in legal, healthy, valid ways, as opposed to strictly gang-banging.

I almost wish I could watch the whole thing, since I'm curious now.

CaesarI
January 1, 2006, 01:40 PM
I believe his objection that there were no pro-gun persons making use of statistics to bolster their opinion is mostly irrelevent.

The MTV audience, while heavily attacked here, should be given a bit more credit. The hunter was mostly irrelevent, but the female in the show was probably more convincing to the majority of people than some might think.

"G-U-N is a bad word" isn't very convincing to much of anyone really. Even MTV watchers.

Considering that this was MTV, it doesn't sound like the show was that horribly put together. It wasn't meant to be, nor was it billed as a debate among competing equally competent sides. Such a show wouldn't have been watched by anyone on MTV anyway.

-Morgan

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