GUEST COLUMN: Media’s double standard on the Second Amendment | Opinion

Second Amendment

The Colorado Springs Gazette covered the tragic killing of a Patriot Muster supporter by smearing the protest’s organizer, John Tiegen.

(You know Tiegen from “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” the movie based on the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. Tiegen and others guarding the compound fought off Ansar al-Sharia terrorists while pleading for help that never came.)

Though BLM/Antifa counter-protesters broke down a barrier and launched cans at the Patriots, they remained peaceful. However, as they were leaving, they were accosted in an ugly confrontation that culminated in the shooting death of one of their own. The shooter was immediately arrested and later charged with second-degree murder.

On the following Monday, Oct. 12, in a front-page feature entitled “Protest leader known in Springs,” the Gazette appeared to blame Tiegen for his death.

The article reprimanded Tiegen for being on a rooftop at an earlier BLM protest in Colorado Springs. It ominously described a rifle held by another man as “military-style” and noted a “sighting scope, like those used by military snipers.”

These are misleading terms used to scare us about guns. Some 16 million AR-15s are legally owned by Americans for self-defense and sport. While it has military roots, it is clearly a civilian firearm and not a machine gun. I wonder if the reporter would describe the Jeep Wrangler as a “military-style” vehicle?

Note that no shots were fired from that rooftop, no laws were broken and no arrests were made. Their choice of the roof guaranteed no confrontations ensued. Tiegen himself was holding a dog, not a gun.

Though the Gazette portrayed Tiegen’s presence as threatening behavior, isn’t it just as plausible to reason that Tiegen was there to keep someone from doing something stupid?

In fact, law enforcement counts on Tiegen’s power to persuade to keep the peace. For example, the reporter found this “coded” warning posted by Tiegen before the protest: “P.S. For Mechanical pencil that offers a concealed eraser, top lead advance and removable Clip no more than .15 mm lead allowed in each. City of Denver ordnance (sic).”

The reporter didn’t know that Denver police had asked Tiegen to alert his supporters that Colorado’s ban on magazines holding 15 rounds or more would be enforced. Police wanted to de-escalate; Tiegen then “coded” his warning to avoid online censure (he’s now been censored by Facebook and Instagram anyway).

The reporter also found an obscure BLM leader from an “activist news outlet” to declare, “I always knew he’d get someone killed. I just didn’t know it would be someone on his side.”

As disgusting as this sentiment is, responsible journalism should unveil it — as long as it is balanced by countering opinion. However, the reporter did not quote a single Tiegen supporter for this article.

Tiegen rebuffed the Gazette’s request for comment. While unfortunate, this is understandable: Many gun owners have learned not to participate in their own lynching.

The Gazette took a second swipe at the Second Amendment this past Sunday, asking, “The Bill of Rights gives us the right to bear arms and the right to assemble peacefully … does it give us the right to do both at the same time?”

The question is based on the false premise that the First and Second Amendments conflict with one another. In truth, one cannot exist without the other; You have no rights that you can’t defend. The Second Amendment is the one right that guarantees all others, leveling the playing field for the weak vs. the strong.

Sunday’s Gazette even goes so far as to blame guns for protest violence, claiming that “The presence of guns at protests has led to some tense moments and tragedies in recent months.” Have they not noticed that these protests had already turned violent?

If you, like millions of responsible Americans, are outraged at the criminal violence being visited upon our cities and are moved to join together in counter-protest, is it foolish to go unprepared? Or would you instead choose to just stay home, allowing your First Amendment right to be restricted for fear of being shamed — or arrested — for exercising your Second Amendment right to protect it?

The difference in reporting on BLM protests and the Gazette’s coverage of the Patriot Muster murder reveal the media’s double standard on the Second Amendment: When BLM protests are hijacked by bad actors, they’re defended as being “mostly peaceful.” But when the same thing happens to peaceful, freedom-loving armed protesters, the media questions if perhaps they brought it upon themselves.

Clay Turner is the principal at See Turner Design. For 19 years he served as the creative director for America’s 1st Freedom magazine, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association. His email address is

Clay Turner is the principal at See Turner Design. For 19 years he served as the creative director for America’s 1st Freedom magazine, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association. His email address is

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