Many of you may have already seen this headline, or some version of it:
The list goes on. Just hit Google up with a quick search, and I’m sure you will find countless others.
First, before anything else, here is the basic summary of the story: Afternoon, a 19 year-old wakes up to three guys breaking into his home, attempting to rob it. He grabs his rifle, makes the decision to use lethal force, and kills all three. Later, police recover several weapons, and Elizabeth Marie Rodriguez turns herself in as an accomplice to the crime. As of writing this, no charges were filed against the homeowner.
The accomplice is being charged with attempted burglary and three counts of felony murder, as is the procedure under Oklahoma statutes.
Before I lay into my rant, let me say this: I am totally in support of your right to defend your home. I also have no problem with lethal force. This is not a post advocating or admonishing the homeowner. I have no idea of the situation, and I tend to think that he did exactly what the situation called for. Kudos to him for not allowing himself to be victimized. And to hell with the criminals who think they can just take whatever they want.
So what about this bothers me, if not the story? It is the headline. It seems these days that, no matter what side of the gun rights issue you are on, we have to sensationalize the report. Why does it matter what type of rifle he used to defend himself? Because popular media is trying to accentuate the “assault rifle” issue. Since the anti-gun liberal media is beefing up their stories with the term “AR-15”, the only way for the right to combat them is to pump their own stories by sensationalizing headlines. It is sad that we have to resort to this. All this behavior does is further polarize the issue. If the homeowner would have used a Glock 19, a Colt 1911, or a Ruger Mark IV, it likely wouldn’t make it past “Handgun”. Likewise, if it were a KA-BAR Straight Edge, Gerber Gator, or a Camillus DAGR, all you would see is “Knife”. Well, maybe “Assault Knife”. Yet somehow, it is a special event, in media, if we attach AR-15 to the title. We fight and fight to get our modern sporting rifle accepted as any other rifle, just to slap it right back into its own category every time we write about it. We try to make the post positive, using language to support the homeowner and demonize the criminals, but it is too late. All of our readers’ opinions about the homeowner are already in place. He used an assault rifle. Now, we have to justify his use of an assault rifle, before we can even get to the fact that he was within his legal rights. All because of two letters and two numbers in a title.
But what can be done? I don’t know. How about end with a shameless AR-15 picture that has no relation to the story? That way we can start the same way we end, with an irrelevant detail.