The horrible tragedy at the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Neb. received a lot of attention Wednesday and Thursday. It should have. Eight people were killed, and five were wounded.
A Google news search using the phrase "Omaha Mall Shooting" finds an incredible 2,794 news stories worldwide for the last day. From India and Taiwan to Britain and Austria, there are probably few people in the world who haven’t heard about this tragedy.
But despite the massive news coverage, none of the media coverage, at least by 10 a.m. Thursday, mentioned this central fact: Yet another attack occurred in a gun-free zone.
Surely, with all the reporters who appear at these crime scenes and seemingly interview virtually everyone there, why didn’t one simply mention the signs that ban guns from the premises?
Nebraska allows people to carry permitted concealed handguns, but it allows property owners, such as the Westroads Mall, to post signs banning permit holders from legally carrying guns on their property.
The same was true for the attack at the Trolley Square Mall in Utah in February (a copy of the sign at the mall can be seen here). But again the media coverage ignored this fact. Possibly the ban there was even more noteworthy because the off-duty police officer who stopped the attack fortunately violated the ban by taking his gun in with him when he went shopping.
Yet even then, the officer "was at the opposite end and on a different floor of the convoluted Trolley Square complex when the shooting began. By the time he became aware of the shooting and managed to track down and confront Talovic [the killer], three minutes had elapsed."
There are plenty of cases every year where permit holders stop what would have been multiple victim shootings every year, but they rarely receive any news coverage. Take a case this year in Memphis, where WBIR-TV reported a gunman started "firing a pistol beside a busy city street" and was stopped by two permit holders before anyone was harmed.
There's a benefit to gun ownership as well, as this account from the December 6, 2007 Easton [Pennsylvania] Daily Call points out:
Rob Pierce Jr.'s walk through Easton's West Ward for dinner at his fiancee's mother's house Tuesday almost cost him his life.
He was mugged by two men, one a self-proclaimed Crips gang member, the other wearing a hooded jacket and carrying a handgun, police said.
''It was like hell,'' Pierce, 27, of Easton said Wednesday night in a brief phone interview.
While being told to be quiet and cooperate, he was dragged across the street in the darkness and told he was going to be shot. But in an instant, the hunted became the hunter.
Pierce, who carries a handgun for protection, pulled out a .357 revolver and shot Maurice Cook of Easton, who had thrust a .45 handgun into Pierce's back and the side of his head.
Cook, 22, who was shot in the abdomen, was taken to St. Luke's Hospital-Fountain Hill, where he underwent surgery and was expected to survive, police said.
He and the other mugging suspect, Tyrone Wright, 22, of Newark, N.J., were charged Wednesday with robbery, aggravated assault and conspiracy. Wright told a district judge he was recently freed from a New Jersey prison, where he had been held on a drug charge.
Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said the good guy won in a botched armed robbery. But at a news conference Wednesday, he also cautioned against a return to the vigilante days of the Wild West.
He said Pierce violated no law by protecting himself and will face no charges. ''Luckily, this time, the citizen won. I think Mr. Pierce acted responsibly.''