Gun control advocates have been trying really hard to get as much mileage as possible out of the Sandy Hook shooting, and they’ve made good progress. Many states, including my own, immediately and reflexively clamped down on guns as if that would suddenly halt the problem. No one even bothered to understand that Connecticut already had an assault weapons ban at the time of the shooting.
It didn’t matter, though, because Adam Lanza was set on killing people.
This is where the anti-gun lobby falls on its face: they never seem to understand that all the laws in the world won’t make them safer because the people who follow gun laws, myself included, are not a danger. I’m not going to shoot you, even though I could from a very respectable distance, because it’s not in my nature. I won’t take my rifle to a spot with a good vantage point of a schoolyard and start picking off kids at recess because I have no desire or motivation to do so. My guns are legally owned, they’re locked (one is in a locked case, the other is trigger locked) and the ammo for them, when I’m not out of it, is not near them.
You can pass laws until you’re blue in the face, but in the end you will be no safer tomorrow than you are today because you’re not in any danger today. From me, anyway.
Gungrabbers reflexively spew numbers because numbers quantify what they see as the problem. Often, they don’t realize that when they drop these numbers on people, smart people take the time to process them and come to conclusions and those conclusions aren’t always what the gungrabbers want even with a media that literally jumps right into their corner.
Take for instance this recent graphic going around, purporting to be statistics on handgun violence in various countries.
A cursory look at this piece of stupidity and you can simply say it’s another anti-gun propaganda piece. It looks silly in context of the arguments made against “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines” but it looks even sillier when it purports to be current data and includes a country named “West Germany.” The actual data isn’t much better, of course, and doesn’t account for population size, legal gun ownership rate, or any other distinguishing factors, it simply shows a number and has been repeated uncritically thousands of times as proof of a point.
It came as no surprise when Michael Bloomberg’s Every Town for Gun Safety, an organization devoted to doing nothing more than making it still harder for people to legally own a firearm, came out with a statistic that lit the internet and most major media on fire. The claim was simple. Since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, there have been 74 school shootings. This number and the accompanying report were repeated in every major news outlet across the country and nearly all of them did so uncritically. The astonishing part of that is that these mainstream media organizations echo’ed the report knowing full well that it was driven by an agenda and an ideologically biased group but since the media in general likes this kind of advocacy (namely, what Everytown advocates for), it didn’t matter, and off to the presses they went.
Immediately upon seeing the data, many people were puzzled. Had the folks reporting this number fallen down on their job that badly? If there were 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook, how is it at all possible that we didn’t hear about them?
The simple answer is because the number is an outright lie.
As soon as the number started hitting the media, Charles R. Johnson started looking into it and found that only 15 out of the 74 “school shootings” were actual “school shootings” in what adults consider the term to mean. Once Johnson finished his work, they concluded the same, and just a few days ago, Politifact, an organization that almost always skews left in their analysis of facts, was even harder on the organization saying that only 10 of the incidents in the report were actual school shootings.
Among their findings, Politifact noted:
- Incidents such as Sandy Hook or Columbine in which the shooter intended to commit mass murder: 10 instances
- Incidents related to criminal activity (such as drug dealing or robbery), or personal altercations: 39 instances
- Incidents unconnected to members of school community and/or that took place outside school hours: 16 instances
- Suicides: 6 instances
- Accidental discharges: 3 instances
Does that sound like a rash of school shootings to you? Because it sure doesn’t to me. It sounds a lot like someone Googled the word “gun” and then posted any stories within a certain date range, but that should surprise precisely no one because the truth rarely bears out the hysteria from the gungrabber crowd.
They also carefully worded their report with phraseology such as “We should feel secure in sending our children to school” even when 35 of the shootings they cited were at a college. Clearly, they were trying to elicit fear from parents, and, as I noted earlier, the complicit media played right along.
In numerous discussions over this I’ve heard every manner of justification for this bogus stat you can imagine, including “It doesn’t matter if the number is 74, 10, or 3. 1 is even too many.” That sounds nice on paper, but it’s also complete and total bullshit because if they truly believed “1 is too many” then 1 would be enough, but they know damn well they need to puff up those stats to look as scary as possible in order to get vote-seeking douchebags in state houses and Congress to pass reactionary legislation to solve a problem that legislation can’t actually solve.
If you really want to know how weak the gungrabbers are in their grasp of numbers, think about this. Gungrabbers often cite a number of around 200,000,000 guns in the United States as proof that there are “too many” guns in this country, yet when you consider that sheer number and take it along with the chart below you realize why they have to lie.
They have to lie because the “too many guns = crime” thing is overly simplistic and belies the fact that legal guns do not contribute to crime in the first place.
So what can people who believe in the right to bear arms, the second amendment, and the right to defend your property including the number one piece of property you own, your body, when gungrabbers start spreading lies and their accomplices in the media are not only complicit, but gleefully and uncritically parrot every word they speak? Well, for one thing you can make sure to not let their lies go unchecked. Every single time they lie, counter with facts, real statistics and non-debatable points. They’ll always argue from emotion because appeals to emotion, parents, families, and “the children” will always go a long way, but if you back them into a corner and they can’t prove their empty arguments, you’ve won.
Secondly, be a model citizen, particularly if you’re a gun owner. I respect non-owners as much as owners, but I won’t concede my rights to placate their fears. I simply refuse to allow anyone to tell me I’m not entitled to defend myself because we have a police force in the same way I wouldn’t advise anyone against having a fire extinguisher because there are firefighters.
It’s time we took back this debate, and if it means we have to exhaustively engage every single anti-gun zealot in this country who thinks that a criminal with a gun is the same as a legally licensed gun owner then that’s what we have to do or we’ll simply watch our rights get flushed directly down the toilet. Allowing idiocy like this “74 School Shootings” lie to go unchecked simply because the people who are spreading it think it’s right “in principle” is something we’re obligated to put a stop to immediately.
Header Image via Elvert Barnes on Flickr