An "Indecent Interval"?

The Richmond Times Dispatch has an interesting editorial on one of my recent op-eds:

It didn't take long. Minnesota had just begun to mourn after the Red Lake massacre when John Lott wrote a tedious column suggesting concealed-carry laws might have prevented the atrocity. . . . The problem relates to timing. The gun debate will persist for many years. Lott and others will have ample opportunities to press their cases. . . . But please, let the tears dry before launching into a political diatribe.

The op-ed that they are criticizing is here. (The piece covered a spate of recent shootings that had been in the news.) Of course, one could say that gun control groups had already come out on this issue or that papers such as the LA Times had already had an article after the Wisconsin attack, but that is not really a useful response. One reason why everyone talks about this is because they are concerned about what will save lives. There is a second reason: When is the discussion 'newsworthy." If a newspaper, such as the Richmond Times Dispatch is going to publish an article (whether a news story or an op-ed), it has to be near when the event occurred or at least there is some other news peg. The op-ed seems as indecent as the news coverage and the editorializing that often creeps into those news stories. When people hear only about the bad events (not the defensive gun uses) and no context is provided it creates a misimpression of the costs and benefits of guns. Interestingly, I can't find a similar editorial from the Richmond Times Dispatch concerned about gun control advocates.

For another piece from someone in Minnesota that says the same thing see this.