Coverage of a town hall meeting on mass shootings held in San Antonio was suppressed by the media—not surprising, since many spoke out in opposition to the typical anti-firearms crusade and in favor of gun rights.
By Mark Anderson
The last in a three-part series of townhall meetings to explore mass shootings, sponsored by San Antonio District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez, was heavily attended by pro-Second Amendment supporters who stood their ground and made sure the forum didn’t become another anti-firearms crusade, yet local media spiked the story of this heavy turnout by Second Amendment defenders.
Independent cameraman Ron Avery, on hand at the forum to assist this AFP writer in getting the real story, set up his equipment right next to the videographer for KSAT Channel 12, the influential local ABC affiliate. Avery noted that the KSAT technician shot the same nearly two hours of footage that he shot, but KSAT’s website and its television broadcasts failed to utilize the station’s livestream footage and did not even report on the presence of the more than 100 Second Amendment advocates out of the estimated 150 people in attendance, let alone what those advocates had to say.
Avery and independent local newspaper publisher Doug Kirk, who accompanied Avery at the forum, said the situation provides a painfully clear example of the entrenched U.S. media bias against the bedrock principles of self-defense and national defense enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
Stephen Willeford, the Sutherland Springs resident known for using his handgun to engage the active shooter at the First Baptist Church “mass shooting” in that quiet, rural Texas community on Nov. 5, 2017, attended the townhall meeting and received a standing ovation when he revealed his identity while sharing his views.
The mainstream media’s response to Willeford’s presence and remarks? Crickets, even though he was honored on the Senate floor of the Texas legislature in January.
“I know what it’s like for my community to be attacked. I’m from Sutherland Springs; I’m the man who ran across the street and engaged an active shooter. I understand if you don’t want to own a gun. As for me, I’ll protect my family, I’ll protect my neighbors, I’ll protect my community, and I’ll protect innocents everywhere I can,” Willeford said, amid sustained applause.
“There are three kinds of people in this world: sheep, sheepdogs, and wolves,” he added. He then compared the disarmament of the population with defanging the sheepdog, so as to make it easy prey for the wolves. “The Second Amendment keeps that [defensive weapon] in our hands, to protect our communities and even our nation if we have to,” Willeford went on to say.
KSAT’s online post about this last townhall meeting (a report which even got the day wrong by saying the townhall happened “Thursday” when it took place Wednesday, Sept. 18) simply noted: “Pelaez kicked off the townhall with statistics, as he has done in past townhall meetings. Ideas included the topic of background checks and gun buyback programs.”
In fact, the statistics that Pelaez presented showed that AR-15 “assault rifles” are eclipsed significantly by handguns in the commission of crimes.
Mark Anderson is AFP’s roving editor. Email him at [email protected].