NRA official: Media sensationalizing Martin case

Apr 14, 2012, 6:00 PM

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) – A top National Rifle Association official levied sharp criticism against the national media on Saturday, accusing it of sensationalizing the Trayvon Martin case and ignoring other crimes that happen across the country every day.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre didn’t mention the Martin case by name during his speech at the group’s annual meeting in St. Louis, but he accused the media of “sensational reporting from Florida.” The 17-year-old Martin was unarmed when he was fatally shot Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who claimed self-defense.

Police initially didn’t charge Zimmerman, prompting nationwide protests. Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder last week.

The case has drawn new attention to self-defense laws that give people a broad right to use deadly force without having to retreat from a fight. The NRA strongly supports such statutes, known as “stand your ground” or “castle doctrine” laws, which are in effect in about 30 states.

Until Saturday, LaPierre had declined to comment on the Martin case, citing a need to learn all the facts. During the NRA gathering, he called the news media “a national disgrace.” LaPierre said violent crime is an everyday fact of life in every American city.

“But the media, they don’t care,” LaPierre said. “Everyday victims aren’t celebrities. They don’t draw ratings, don’t draw sponsors. But sensational reporting from Florida does. In the aftermath of one of Florida’s many daily tragedies, my phone has been ringing off the hook” with calls from reporters.

Some gun-control advocates have seized on the shooting to renew debate about guns. Officials with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence have pledged to use the case to fight proposed federal legislation that would force states with strict gun laws to recognize concealed weapons permits granted in other states that have fewer requirements.

“George Zimmerman is the NRA,” the group’s president, Dan Gross, said in a statement earlier this week. “And Florida’s `Shoot First, Ask Questions Later’ law and the paranoid mentality it promotes are products of the NRA’s vision for America, where just about anybody can get and use a gun just about anywhere.”

Messages left with the group Saturday weren’t immediately returned. Rallies against Missouri’s “stand your ground” law were held ahead of and during the NRA gathering, though efforts to overturn the law seem unlikely given its strong backing in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

NRA Executive Director Chris Cox defended such self-defense laws during Saturday’s meeting, recalling the case of Sarah McKinley, who was alone with her baby in her rural Oklahoma home when an intruder armed with a hunting knife broke down the door. McKinley shot and killed the man.

“Castle doctrine can literally save your life,” Cox said.

Zimmerman, 28, told police that he was attacked by Martin and believed he had no choice but to shoot him in self-defense. The teenager’s family believes Zimmerman singled out Martin as suspicious because he was black. Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is Hispanic.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Demonstrators block traffic protesting the death of Tyre Nichols on January 27, 2023 in Memphis, Te...
Associated Press

Memphis police chief disbands unit responsible in beating of Tyre Nichols

The unit is composed of three teams of about 30 officers and had been inactive since Tyre Nichols' Jan. 7 arrest.
23 hours ago
The image from video released on Jan. 27, 2023, by the City of Memphis, shows Tyre Nichols on the g...
Associated Press

Memphis authorities release video in Tyre Nichols’ death

Video showing Memphis officers beating a Black man was made public Friday after they were charged with murder in the death of Tyre Nichols.
2 days ago
Demonstrators stage a rally in front of the White House to celebrate President Joe Biden's plan to ...
Kevin Stone

Lawsuits keeping over 300,000 Arizonans from getting student loan relief

Lawsuits are preventing more than 300,000 Arizonans from having some or all of their student debt dismissed, the Biden administration said Friday.
2 days ago
FILE -  A Goodyear tire sits on display at a tire shop on Feb. 12, 2014, in South Euclid, Ohio. A f...
Associated Press

Arizona lawyer subpoenaed in criminal investigation of Goodyear tires

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles is gathering evidence in a criminal investigation of Goodyear recreational vehicle tires.
3 days ago
Following days of rain, floodwaters cover streets in the Planada community of Merced County, Calif....
Associated Press

Atmospheric rivers in California boost water allocation for cities

Public water agencies in California will be getting more water from the state because of recent heavy rain.
3 days ago
(Brian Munoz/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP, File)...
Associated Press

FDA declines to regulate CBD; calls on Congress for fix

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday there are too many unknowns about CBD products to regulate them as foods or supplements under the agency’s current structure and called on Congress to create new rules for the massive and growing market. The marijuana-derived products have become increasingly popular in lotions, tinctures and foods, while their […]
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
NRA official: Media sensationalizing Martin case