Toledo Blade editors wish recent robbery victims had been unarmed

By Gerard Valentino

The Ohio media's opposition stance on changing laws to protect innocent people was inexplicable, until now. In the wake of two separate incidents recently where Toledo retail store workers used firearms to defend against armed robbers, The Toledo Blade has finally come right out and said that society would be a better place if criminals, not honest people, had the upper hand in an armed encounter.

In an appalling show of compassion for lawless thugs, editors at The Blade openly argued that responding to a deadly threat with deadly force is a detriment to society. Only by twisting logic can The Blade make the argument that when a bad guy's plan to rob defenseless innocent people is thwarted by an honest citizen, the responsibility for the outcome lies with the victim.

Somehow, The Blade wants people to give the thug setting the situation in motion a pass, and instead wants society to pass judgment on an honest person who took their personal safety seriously.

But, at least The Toledo Blade had the guts to finally admit what many already suspected – the editors really prefer Ohioans to be unarmed victims.

From the editorial, entitled "Price of a civil society":

Twice in just the past few days, seemingly bad guys were shot while allegedly attempting to rob Toledo stores. Although we're glad the robberies were thwarted and thankful no innocents were injured, we're not sure that store owners and employees defending themselves with deadly force is an absolute good.

...Being robbed at gunpoint is frightening, and we do not presume to judge, as police would say, the righteousness of either shooting. But it must be remembered that robbery is not a capital crime, and it's only by chance that no one other than the would-be robbers was injured.

(Note: After saying they aren't presuming to judge, they concluded the editorial by saying "it seems to us that when deadly force is used as a first response rather than a last resort, civil society suffers" - i.e. presuming to judge the intended victims as having acted before they had to.)

Claiming that innocent people are to blame for having a gun held to their head wasn't enough for The Toledo Blade, however, they went one step further and took a play right out of the anti-gun guidebook by using the fear of flying bullets to scare people.

More from the editorial:

Mr. Bilger's heroism is unquestioned. But what if, in the worst case, it had resulted in the death of the store clerk who was being held at gunpoint? And either gun battle could have ended in the deaths of innocent customers inside or passersby on the sidewalk.

Some people argue that store owners defending themselves will mean fewer robbery attempts. We fear the result might instead be that bad guys will get bigger guns and be quicker to pull the trigger.

And even if it's true that an armed society is a polite society, we wonder how much collateral damage people will be willing to accept in an arms race to achieve civility through the barrel of a gun.

The "hail of bullets" theory tossed around by The Blade is just another example of anti-gun propaganda masquerading as an argument against private ownership of guns. In both of these cases, nobody but the violent criminal was hurt, and despite the claim that innocent people are going to be gunned down in a "hail of bullets" if a good guy fights back, it remains an incredibly rare occurrence.

What isn't a rare occurrence is the Ohio establishment media using the anonymous outlet of the editorial page to spout baseless anti-gun rhetoric, and champion policies that protect only criminals.
Just as law enforcement lobbying organizations like the Fraternal Order of Police have never supported laws that give people more responsibility for their own safety, we expect many of the Ohio establishment media outlets to continue to do the same.

The question asked by The Blade editorial board was whether or not people feel safer now that two citizens fought back instead of becoming victims. We know that at least one of the two criminals in question won't get out on parole again and attack someone else, which has a direct effect on the safety of all law-abiding citizens.

As for the argument that armed victims will only cause robbers to become more trigger-happy, we can once again refute it by looking at trends in states that have had concealed carry longer than Ohio. It used to be the job of professional journalists to research and report in such instances, but when it comes to the gun issue, most would rather use conjecture and hearsay instead of sound journalistic standards. Even a half-hearted attempt at doing so in this case would show that criminals haven't resorted to higher levels of violence after a few were picked off by armed citizens.

Despite their shoddy journalism being exposed on the gun issue, many establishment media outlets haven't learned that crying wolf only works for so long. Instead, as each pro-gun reform is suggested and implemented the same cries of wolf are repeated to the point that people are no longer listening, which explains the decrease in readership and ratings for traditional media outlets.

By suggesting that honest people are to blame when attacked by common street trash, however, is a new low, even for The Toledo Blade.

But it isn't unexpected, as over the years they've blamed the gun, society, the police and now finally the victim for the actions of street thugs.

Gerard Valentino is a member of the Buckeye Firearms Foundation Board of Directors and his first book, The Valentino Chronicles – Observations of a Middle Class Conservative, is available through the Buckeye Firearms Association store.

Additional Information:
Local demand for guns rises after Toledo area carryout shootings

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