No, the Media Doesn’t Hype Assault Weapon Fears

It seems that the Associated Press is reporting that two men were killed and two children were wounded in a drug-related turf war attack in Highland Park, Michigan. This was reported on, an “Everything Michigan” website, and in the Detroit Free Press. Here’s what the story says:

About 60 shots from an automatic weapon and a shotgun were fired into a car as part of an apparent drug turf war, killing two men and wounding two young children, authorities say.

The shooting happened about 2:15 a.m. EDT Thursday on a residential street in the city of Highland Park, which is surrounded by Detroit, Wayne County sheriff’s department spokesman John Roach said.

“Apparently, someone came up and ambushed them,” Roach said.

Investigators said about 55 rounds were fired at the car with an AK-47 assault rifle and about a half-dozen more from a shotgun, Roach said. There may have been two shooters in what Roach described as a possible dispute about drug turf.

The children, an 8-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, belonged one of the dead men, 29-year-old Andre Harden Sr., of Detroit, Roach said. The men had been sitting in the front seat and the children in the back.

The children had been removed from Harden’s custody in May 2000 after allegations that he abused them, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The children remained in foster care until November, when they were returned to their parents, Harden and Brenda Skinner, according to court records.

Christopher Dixon, 28, also was killed, Roach said. He lived in a home on the street where the shooting took place.

The boy, who was shot in both legs, and the girl, who received a minor injury, were taken to Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit and were in temporarily serious condition Thursday afternoon, Roach said. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening.

There were no suspects in the shooting as of Thursday afternoon, Roach said.

Criminals shooting other criminals, which is the case in the majority of deliberate shootings. Two innocent children hurt, two apparent drug dealers killed.

But an “assault weapon” and CHILDREN were involved, so THIS IS BIG NEWS! How big? Well, here’s a partial list of the papers that are running the story, at least on-line:

The Houston Chronicle

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Mid Columbia (Washington) Tri City Herald

The Alabama Times Daily

The Boston Herald

The Tacoma News Tribune

The Anchorage Daily News

The Raleigh N.C. News & Observer

The Sacramento Bee

The LA Times

New York’s Newsday

South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Sun News and The State

Florida’s Bradenton Herald, and Tallahassee Democrat

Georgia’s Macon Telegraph and Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Minnesota’s Duluth News Tribune and Pioneer Press

There are a lot more.

This is the perfect example of “man bites dog” combined with the topic du jour – assault weapons and the coming “sunset” of the “Assault Weapon Ban” (that didn’t prevent this crime.) “Assault weapons” are used in less than 2% of all crimes committed with firearms, so things like this are really rare and thus newsworthy. Add The CHILDREN™ and the story is irresistable, because otherwise it’s just criminals shooting other criminals.

One interesting thing is, when I did the Google search on this story, the blurb connected to each link states:

It appeared to be some kind of a rifle, perhaps an assault rifle,” Wayne County sheriff’s Cmdr. James Buford told WWJ-AM.

But this line isn’t in the AP piece. Could it have been an SKS? Yes. The SKS is not considered an “assault rifle” under the Federal ban, and some accept 30 round detachable magazines. But the story is quite explicit, it WAS an AK-47.

Now, had the gunmen not had access to the AK, and had both shooters used shotguns, what would the result of this shooting have been? Handguns? Molotov cocktails?

How would renewing the AWB have prevented this? How would strengthening the AWB prevent this? How would confiscating all legally owned “assault weapons” prevent this?

Just asking.

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