The shooting at Virginia Tech is a horror, and my sympathies go out to everyone affected by this gruesome event. I am appalled to discover that there are ghouls eager to use this tragedy to further their own agenda. Michelle Malkin reports that the New York Times has already posted an editorial calling for more gun control. As my wife put it, “Because when gun control doesn’t work, it’s time for more gun control.” Yeah, it’s gonna work this time, really.

But some of the agenda-pushing can be more subtle. Here is an interesting quote from page three of an ABC news story:

It is unknown at this time if [Cho's] guns had standard or extended clips, which, depending on the weapon, can fire as many as 30 shots before the gun has to be reloaded.

Since the information is unknown, what is the point of reporting this?

Here’s what is known: Cho bought chains to block off the building where the killing spree took place, making it difficult or impossible for anyone to enter or leave, so that he could shoot and kill at his leisure. He also chose to kill people in a school environment, where he would be highly unlikely to face armed response from his would-be victims; in most states, it is now illegal to carry a firearm onto a school campus unless one is an officer engaged in a police action. (The illegality of the act doesn’t seem to have deterred any of the school shooters, though. Hmm.) Further, the Virginia Tech administration was slow to respond to the initial shooting, choosing to keep campus open even though two people were already dead. All these variables led to a “perfect storm” environment where Cho was able to kill as many people as he liked for an extended period of time; the questioned size of his gun clips had little or nothing to do with the extent of the slaughter he perpetrated on the Virginia Tech faculty and students.

But since gun control advocates are focusing on the size of gun clips as the next attack on Second Amendment rights, the reporters wanted to be sure readers would associate the use of extended clips with the murders at Virginia Tech. I can easily imagine what the news might look like if more journalists were to report pure speculation as news:

It is unknown at this time if Ken Jennings is human or a Martian, which, depending on the Martian, can mind-meld as far as 50 feet away from a game show host.

Martian Ken

That’s entertainment. But it surely isn’t journalism.

UPDATE: Apparently the original ABC News story was even more speculative than it is now. Unbelievable.

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