What makes an armed citizen story go viral? I cover these types of stories every day, and most of the time we’re the only national media outlet reporting on men and women saving their lives, stopping violent crimes, or coming to the aid of family or even strangers. Yet every now and then, an armed citizen story will get picked up by major news networks and pierce the national consciousness, if only for a moment. But why? What are the ingredients necessary for the “mainstream” media to report on these stories?
First, it helps if the armed citizen is a woman. While many gun owners know that women are the fastest-growing group of concealed-carry permit holders, most media outlets still view a woman who owns a gun as some exotic creature, almost newsworthy in and of itself. If the story comes with video, perhaps from a surveillance camera or even a cell phone, the media are also more likely to pick up on that story. Finally, if the armed citizen isn’t protecting just himself or herself, but also protecting others, the media seems to pay more attention.
As more Americans choose to exercise their right to carry, we’re more likely to see stories like these get traction in the national media. And who knows, after enough of these stories get reported, perhaps we’ll even see a change in heart among those anti-gun members of the media who swear that, “No one needs a gun to protect themselves.” In the meantime, you can always get your daily dose of self-defense on NRATV and “Cam & Company.”