“So the next time you hear someone say what an “epidemic” we are having of shootings you tell them they are full of it and being misled by the media and groups who are spending millions on propaganda and not facts.”
I spend a lot of time reading and researching. Many of the things I read are studies on death and injuries in the United States. My sources are usually federally based, since relying on private groups often leads to getting information that is slanted to fit their agenda.
So it is not surprising that information derived from the “Everytown for Gun Safety” group, and others like it, tend to bend and misstate numbers to suit their agendas. My agenda is simple. I believe every American has a right to freedom, to choose how to live, how to express themselves and the right to defend themselves. When you go to Everytown’s website you are immediately hit with numbers and graphics that make several bold, anti-gun claims.
The very first slide states that “On an Average Day, 93 Americans are killed with guns.” Now, on its face that sounds like a lot and any death is of course is tragic. But where Everytown and groups like them fail is providing their audience the “context” of these numbers. 93 is the number you see, yet when you look at the data they link to, it demonstrates that the majority of those are suicides, not homicides or accidental shootings. Specifically, 58 of the 93 events listed are suicides and only 32 are homicides. So why include suicides? Because it inflates the number to make it larger and seem more tragic. While any number would be tragic, let’s put this in perspective.
How many people die each day from some other causes? Why is so much money spent on fighting firearms possession and use compared to other things?
Well, according to the same source that Everytown.org uses these are the top ten leading causes of death in the United States:
Heart disease: 633,842
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 155,041
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 146,571
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 140,323
Alzheimer’s disease: 110,561
Influenza and pneumonia: 57,062
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 49,959
Intentional self-harm (suicide): 44,193
Notice that CDC does not list the tool used in any of those, including suicides. Also notice we are a nation of illness and diseases. For some reason people get fixated on firearms no matter how they are used. They are bombarded by the media anytime there is a shooting or a firearm is used, in almost any capacity. Most of the time the media tries to bend the story to make the firearm the main topic, forgetting that a person was behind the gun.
In all my years as a police officer I never saw a firearm shoot someone all by itself. Why people focus on the object and not the cause or issue at hand is beyond me. I worked as a Traffic Homicide Investigator for 7 years in South Florida, a very busy area for such crashes. And I can tell you far more people are killed or injured by cars than guns. But when drunk driving became a national issue, the groups behind the push to reduce DUI’s did not focus on cars, they focused on the driver. Everytown should take notice of what those groups did and how they did it.
Inanimate objects do not have emotions and do not choose when or who to kill (or injure). People are the cause and root of the problem. You cannot legislate morality or empathy. You have to focus on the root problems or make penalties for violations of crimes involving the tool so stiff that no one wants to get arrested for them.
You also have to take into consideration that we are a nation which is based on laws and rights. Firearms ownership and possession are a right guaranteed by the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Self-defense is also a right, one that has been around even longer than the Bill of Rights.
Everytown For Gun Safety is misleading (or downright lying to, if you ask some) people who are easily convinced of things into believing that they are part of a movement or group (or whatever you want to call it) which is trying to reduce gun deaths in America, when in fact they are doing nothing to address the real problems. We have enough laws, we have enough restrictions (actually too many) on the ownership and possession of firearms. What we need to focus on are the people and problems that cause a very small number of people to use that firearm to harm another. With the millions of dollars that Everytown is dumping into useless protests and other such events, think of all the good they could do if they brought together some great minds and people of influence and they looked at the real issues like, Human Violence and its causation, the effects of violence in the media on our youth and so on.
The other half of this misinformation is the terms being used by Everytown and the media. “Epidemic” or “Wave of” or other such descriptions that try and make it look like the number of deaths and injuries from firearms are on the rise and at all-time highs, when nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact just the opposite is the truth. Murder and violent crime are all on the downward trend and have been for some time. According to the Department of Justice, who keep statistics on these types of things has found that the Murder rate in the United States has dropped by almost 50%! But if you listen to the Main Stream Media you would think we are dying by the millions! Nothing could be further from the truth.
We need to call out the misleading information when we see it. Present simple facts and numbers. Make them prove their points, as these groups have an agenda and they want to make law abiding citizens pay for the actions of a few.
Maybe we could get Everytown to focus on a real issue that kills far more people than guns each year and through education and awareness we might be able to save some of the victims of this type of death. What kind of problem is that? Accidental Poisoning! According to the CDC, the same organization that keeps the firearms related deaths numbers, “ Since 2000, the age-adjusted drug-poisoning death rate more than doubled, from 6.2 per 100,000 in 2000 to 14.7 per 100,000 in 2014.” Now that is a real issue and one that is increasing! And is almost 4 times as many as firearms.
So the next time you hear someone say what an “epidemic” we are having of shootings you tell them they are full of it and being misled by the media and groups who are spending millions on propaganda and not facts. Simply point them to the CDC or Department of Justice Statistics for the real numbers. And then politely suggest that they put their efforts into helping with real problems that cause far more harm than firearms.