Tag Archive: ak-47

Guns in the media and the SPU shooting


Apparently it’s not the media’s job to inform anymore but to incite. It’s not about reporting the facts anymore, it’s about how to get as many pageviews and clickthroughs as possible and the best way to do that is to piss people off. For example, take an article from the Seattle Times about Seattle Pacific University shooter Aaron Ybarra.

The headline from the article is “SPU shooting suspect once had AK-47, 7 other firearms at home”. The article constantly mentions that Ybarra’s family owned the guns but not him. The article also goes on to state that the guns in question were stolen from the home and none of the guns mentioned were the one that Ybarra used when he killed SPU student Paul Lee.

The article also obsesses over the fact that one of the guns owned by the Ybarra family was an AK-47. I don’t know why the AK-47 keeps getting demonized just because it’s one of the most mass-produced guns in the entire world. It’s the Toyota Camry of guns. It is no more or less deadly than any other gun but for some reason the media has this obsession over the AK-47.

What really gets me is that while the article obsesses over guns that had no part whatsoever in the SPU shooting it totally buries the lede in the article.

Aaron Ybarra and his family members kept eight firearms in a safe at their Mountlake Terrace home, even though Ybarra had been hospitalized in 2010 after hearing the voice of Columbine killer Eric Harris telling him to hurt people, documents say.

Emphasis mine.

So let’s blame the shooting on guns and not the fact that he’s a psychotic mutant.

While I consider myself to be a centrist on the issue of guns, having guns in the house is not like having some kind of radioactive element in the house that infects everybody with wanting to kill disease by being exposed to it.

Student brings 3 guns to San Antonio high school

May or may not have been in student's possession

May or may not have been in student’s possession

Madison High School student with 3 loaded guns in custody:

Madison student named, charged after weapons brought to school:

17-year-old Brendan Tarwater was arrested earlier today for allegedly bringing 3 guns and ammunition to James Madison High School in San Antonio, Texas. The media are saying that one of the guns was an AK-47, but the media doesn’t have a great track record in identifying guns and sometimes have called just about any type of rifle an AK-47. You’ll notice that they haven’t identified the other two guns, but I digress.

Surprisingly and thankfully it was Tarwater’s parents who not only notified the school that their son may have brought the guns to school but actually went to the school to warn them. His parents noticed that the guns were missing. Let’s hear it for attentive parenting and gun ownership for once. Tarwater was brought to the office peacefully and authorities were able to secure the weapons without any bloodshed.

According to police Tarwater said that he had planned on using the guns to make some kind of demands at school so it sounds like he was planning on taking hostages. Hostage situations in schools never end well. Nickel Mines jumps immediately to mind. So far whatever Tarwater’s demands were going to be or his motive have not yet been made public. I haven’t heard the bullying trope yet but it’s still early. School officials have said that Tarwater is going to be charged as an adult.

I can’t stop help thinking how bad this could have gone if his parents didn’t intervene. How sad is it that his parents are in the minority of acting responsibly when it comes to these kinds of situations?

UPDATE 9/2/2015: Tarwater, now 18, was sentenced to 8 years behind bars.