On his blog, Lott offers an excuse for the fact that in his book and on his blog he had not mentioned that Ted Besen contradicts Bridges’ claim to have used a gun to disarm Odighizuwa:
I have gotten an e-mail asking about the role that Ted Besen played in stopping the Appalachian Law School attack during January 2002. While I had seen and referenced a story by Rick Montgomery, a reporter for the Kansas City Star, I hadn’t read down to the last couple hundred words of the 1,400 word piece that he drafted in March 2002. Montgomery’s piece contains a quote from Besen claiming that the attacker put his gun down before Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges arrived at the scene. (Montgomery has seen copies of everything that I wrote on the incident and he has never mentioned these facts to me.)
The story about the Appalachian School of Law shootings is Lott’s best example of media bias against guns. He devotes several pages to it in his book and presents his version of what happened whenever he gives a talk promoting his book. Montgomery’s article in the Kansas City Star is one of only two news stories on the allegations of bias in the coverage and Lott quotes extensively from it. The other, longer, article appeared in Legal Times and Lott read to the end of that one, because he quotes the last sentence, and even telephoned the person quoted in that sentence to obtain more information. Lott also wrote a lengthy response to my first analysis where I quoted the entire last part of Montgomery’s article.
Given all of this, is Lott’s claim not to have read the last part of Montgomery’s article even slightly plausible? And even if we believe his claim, why should we believe his claims about new stories being biased when he can’t be bothered to read all of each news story?
Lott goes on to argue that of the news stories that mention Ted Besen “not one of the stories provide information that is consistent with what Besen told the KC Star”. This is not true. Of the 14 stories that mention Besen the only ones that are not consistent with Besen’s account are the three stories that mention that a gun was used to disarm Odighizuwa. Indeed, the whole point of Lott’s discussion is that there were only three such stories put of hundreds of stories covering the matter. One of the stories that is consistent is Bridges’ interview on the Today Show. These are Bridges’ own words, on live TV:
We seen the shooter, started to approach him, stopped at my vehicle, and got out my handgun, and started to approach Peter. At that time, Peter throwed up his hands and throwed his weapon down.
Note that he does not say that he pointed his gun at Odighizuwa—that detail was added later.
Lott also states:
One explanation that appears consistent with both Bridges’ comments and Besen’s later statement in the KC Star is that Besen was closer to the attacker than either Bridges or Gross and wouldn’t have clearly seen what Gross and Bridges were doing.
This is not consistent with Besen’s statement. Besen said that Odighizuwa put the gun down before Bridges and Gross arrived. That is, he saw Odighizuwa put the gun down and he saw Bridges arrive and Odighizuwa put the gun down first. Recall that Besen and Bridges were police officers who were together when the shooting started. Besen would certainly have been on the lookout to see when Bridges arrived to support him.
Note also that none of the accounts from other witnesses like Jody Mitchell, Robert Deatherage, Jack Briggs and Todd Ross mention any defensive gun use. It seems unlikely that they could have all missed it.
Update: In the account he gave on the Larry Elder Show Bridges said:
“We were located in the classrooms just across from where the first professor was shot. We heard the first three shots. At the time, we didn’t really know that it was gunfire. Just a few seconds later, we heard the next three shots, followed by some screams. Another student and I went into the hallway. We ran into a professor and he said that Peter (the gunman) was in the building and that he was shooting. So I ran back to the classroom and, what students were left, I said you all need to get out—there’s a shooter in the building.
“We exited out the back stairwell of our building. As I exited, that day I was running a little late, so I did park in a faculty parking spot, which put my vehicle between me and the shooter. We saw him in the front yard there. I stopped at my vehicle and got my handgun out.
“As we approached Peter, I started giving him a lot of verbal commands. … I told him to drop his weapon, to get on the ground. … His back was to us, and once he turned around and saw that I had a weapon, he laid his weapon down and stuck his hands in the air. At that time we approached him, and there was somewhat of a struggle, but we took him to the ground and handcuffed him until the authorities got there.”
The student he was with was Ted Besen and Bridges is saying that he and Besen approached Odighizuwa together. How could Besen possibly be unaware of what Bridges was doing?