The term “gun-violence” should be retired from our lexicon for public policy debates. By focusing on the gun we’re already being driven by a narrative that is biased. That’s because at the mere mention of guns, much of the public has already been conditioned to believe guns equal violence. This is a direct consequence of a decades long rhetorical campaign by the anti-gun movement to vilify the gun culturally.
The anti-gun establishment funded an eighty page activist’s manual, Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging (authors:Frank O’Brien, Al Quinlan, John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut), produced by three powerful Washington D.C. communications firms. It’s no coincidence that most anti-gun activists appear to use this playbook, because the rhetoric we hear constantly in the media and from anti-gun groups mirror its contents. But why is it not Criminal Violence they wish to prevent? Is that not what we all want? Why obsess over “guns” and not criminal behavior?
By packaging the words gun with violence into a term, the dialog is already tainted. This term suggests gun equals violence, or that they are the same thing. They are not. Quite the trick because a gun by itself cannot be non-violent any more than it can be violent without an operator. It’s merely a machine, and depending on the operator one can achieve good results or create very bad ones.
Take the car, for example, another machine. We all drive one and are well served by it provided, however, it’s not misused. If you drink and drive, you put others at risk. If we text and drive we endanger ourselves and fellow travelers. Yet when vehicular homicides happen, we don’t blame the car. But substitute the car with guns, suddenly, the perception is entirely different. Why is that?
When sportsmen use firearms, their rights are attacked although they’re clearly not the problem. They’re equally responsible operating their firearms as good drivers would be with their cars. Whenever a crisis involving firearms occurs, however, the knee-jerk reaction is always to target guns giving criminal behavior a pass. Why not ban cars due to vehicular homicides?
It is utterly disingenuous when Bloomberg compares fatalities between traffic and shootings, yet operates under a double standard when comparing cars to guns. They do not push for a ban on cars. On Bloomberg.com, an article by Chris Christoff and Ilan Kolet compares death statistics between traffic and firearms predicting the latter will surpass the former by 2015. Not surprisingly, they ignore the lives saved by lawfully armed citizens.
It is of course ridiculous to ban cars because of a small minority of bad drivers or drunks. Yet the anti-gun establishment targets the gun as though regardless of a small minority of cases the gun is somehow more responsible for the deaths than a car is of traffic fatalities. For the debate to ignore the behavior of the operators and not clarify the vast disparity between those responsible verses those who are abusers, is grotesquely dishonest and manipulative. In fact, the gun-debate deliberately hides the truth and has at its core a nefarious motif.
Here are facts about firearms in America most do not know because of a relentlessly one sided narrative dominated by the anti-gun establishment. One hundred million Americans own firearms and use them responsibly for a variety of purposes. They are hunters, collectors, sportsmen and women as well as citizens who use them for personal protection. There exist a great deal of objective scientific research on firearms ownership in America from universities of criminology (NW Univ., Kleck & Gertz; Harvard, Kates & Mauser) and statistical analysis by government agencies such as the CDC, FBI, USDOJ, etc.
Empirical research confirms an unmistakable truth that overwhelmingly firearms save more lives than they take every year in America. On average the annual disparity is greater than eighty times more lives are saved by guns compared to those lost (NW Univ., Kleck & Gertz; National Safety Council, Itasca, Il.), but that includes suicides and accidental deaths. The actual firearm-homicides rate average eleven thousand annually (CDC.gov). When we make a clear distinction between criminals and good citizens, the lawfully armed save lives by more than two hundred times the rate at which criminals kill.
Gun-control only burdens the law-abiding citizen while protecting criminals. That’s not an opinion, it’s fact (Harvard, Kates & Mauser). Given the statistical proof of lives saved by armed citizens, imagine if the entire nation were a gun-free zone like the nation’s crime centers: Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New York City, etc. These Hot Spots (FBI terminology) or killing zones have one thing in common. They share the strictest gun-control laws in America.
We wouldn’t cut the antlers off a deer to protect it from attacking coyotes anymore than we should disarm innocent would-be victims from marauding predators in our society. If the anti-gun established should achieve its objective of disarming the citizenry, I shudder to think how much unintended carnage we shall have in America as a consequence.