Recently in my local paper, The Daily Reflector, a Letter to the Editor’s were written attacking gun rights.
The letter went like this.
In response to Brenda Highsmith’s emotional pouting that Obama is going to take away all of our guns, please allow me to respond.
Dear Brenda: No one has even remotely suggested that guns be taken away from law-abiding citizens. However, the most simple person understands that we must do something. Since December 2012, more than 87,000 American have been killed by guns, 142 school shootings have occurred, and more than 7,000 teens and children have been shot. In 2015 alone, more than 200 mass shootings have happened. Yet in July, Republicans banned the CDC from conducting research on the underlying causes of gun violence. [Bolded myself]
Folks like you repeatedly cry that guns don’t kill people, yet you do not want any studies to be done on how to prevent people from killing with guns. Surely, even you can see that regulating the sales of firearms both publically and privately and banning the use of assault rifles would benefit us all. But, I suspect I will still see gun advocates holding a gun in one hand, a Bible in the other and standing in front of a Confederate flag screaming about how the government intends to eventually enslave us all.
As a society, we need to progress beyond what we are. As a civilization, we owe it to the future
Frankly without changing definitions and selective moral outrage this letter would be empty. While at no point does the writer lie he does change the meaning of words and phrases form the historical definition to the one which advances the agenda.
Have over 87,000 Americans been killed by guns? Yes and the number is, contrary to popular opinion is decreasing according to the DOJ.
According to DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. gun-related homicides dropped 39 percent over the course of 18 years, from 18,253 during 1993, to 11,101 in 2011. During the same period, non-fatal firearm crimes decreased even more, a whopping 69 percent. The majority of those declines in both categories occurred during the first 10 years of that time frame. Firearm homicides declined from 1993 to 1999, rose through 2006, and then declined again through 2011. Non-fatal firearm violence declined from 1993 through 2004, then fluctuated in the mid-to-late 2000s.
Have 142 school shootings occurred? Assuming they are using Everytown yes but he is being extremely misleading (and it would be 149). When most people think of school shootings they think of Sandyhook. Not shots fired and no one injured. In the number used 27 fall under “Gun fired but no one injured”. In addition back when their were 74 incidents National Review noted that
The Post is admirably clear that the map includes both colleges and schools, that it counts “any instance in which a firearm was discharged within a school building or on school grounds,” and that the data isn’t “limited to mass shootings like Newtown.” This point has also been made forcefully by Charles C. Johnson, who yesterday looked into each of the 74 incidents and noted that not only did some of them not take place on campuses but that “fewer than 7 of the 74 school shootings listed by #Everytown are mass shootings,” that one or more probably didn’t happen at all, that at least one was actually a case of self-defense, and that 32 could be classified as “school shootings” only if we are to twist the meaning of the term beyond all recognition.
Have more than 7,000 teens and children been shot? Yes but let me be frank. This is a meaningless stat in the way it is being used. It does not be proved that gun control would work or even suggest a policy regardless of it’s probable results. It’s only purpose in this form is to jin up support for a policy.
Have 200 mass shootings happened in 2015? Yes…. if you change the definition. As noted by the Politifact “Mass Shooting Tracker uses an extremely broad definition of what many people would consider a mass shooting. If she had used a more restrictive definition that only counts incidents with deaths, as the federal government does, she would have come up with a much lower number. The Congressional Research Service counted 25 incidents in 2013, compared with 363 incidents counted by Mass Shooting Tracker.”
The writer commits a simple fallacy when he conflates society with government. Why have the government, particularly CDC, study gun violence? Can society not do that? Does the government not have better to things to put money towards like paying down debt?
“Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”
Lastly he states that even the gun advocate he is responding to must see that regulation would benefit us all as if he proved that it would. At no point did he prove more gun control would lessen crime and benefit society. Back in reality we know countries with fewer guns have more homicides and more guns have less homicides.
In reality, according to Pew,
National rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s, paralleling a general decline in violent crime, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Beneath the long-term trend, though, are big differences by decade: Violence plunged through the 1990s, but has declined less dramatically since 2000. Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall (with or without a firearm) also is down markedly (72%) over two decades.