Do you ever watch something that pisses you off so much that your teeth actually hurt? Take a look at the video below, narrated and written by the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik.
There are at least two points in the video that sent me up the wall. The first is Gopnik’s sweeping dismissal of defensive gun uses (DGU) and the second is the way he plays it fast and loose with statistics on gun violence.
With respect to DGU, as you know, these are instances where good guys use guns to stop or thwart crime. The gun does not actually need to be fired for it to be considered a DGU; brandishing it, showing it or drawing it also counts. In fact, in the vast majority of DGU, no shots are fired. The open presence of the gun is enough to send bad guys running.
While the exact number of defensive gun uses is a subject of debate, there is no question that thousands, probably tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of defensive gun uses happen each year. Heck, GunsAmerica usually covers a minimum of one high-profile DGU story every week! We would cover more, but there are so many that we just don’t have the time or the resources to cover them all. Plus, truth be told, they’re not always that newsworthy when compared to the many other developments that happen week-in and week-out on the gun beat.
Anyways, check out this story we published on Aug. 10, 2017: Mother Fatally Shoots Five-Time Felon: ‘He shouldn’t have brought his a** into my house’
Yet, Gopnik flat out rejects the notion that Americans use guns every day in this country to defend themselves from thieves, thugs, and killers.
“Guns, however, have an almost entirely symbolic function. No lives are saved. No intruders are repelled,” says Gopnik in the video. “The dense and hysterical mythology of gun love has been refuted again and again.”
Say whaaaat? No lives are saved… No intruders are repelled… Not one? Zero? Zip? Zilch? Is he crazy?
While the mainstream media does a piss-poor job reporting DGU, local news outlets generally will cover them. All Gopnik has to do is to pay attention to his local media. Or, if that’s too difficult, he can simply do a Google search under the “News” tab with words like “self-defense” and “shooting” and “gun” which will yield numerous stories. Several pro-gun outlets also do a good job of tracking DGUs, but I don’t suspect Gopnik would trust their reporting.
That’s, of course, assuming that Gopnik doesn’t know about the daily occurrences of DGU. What’s more probable is that he does know about them, he just chooses to ignore them. So, when he waxes on about the mythology of DGU he’s actually telling a bald-faced lie. He knows that thousands of Americans use guns each year to protect themselves, their families and their property, but acknowledging that undermines his call for civil disarmament — which, let’s face it, that’s exactly what this video was. A not-so-subtle push to repeal the 2A as we know it today.
Gopnik’s lying is not limited to instances of defensive gun use. As mentioned, he also misleads the viewer when discussing gun violence and youths.
“More than 2,500 teens and children die annually from gun violence in the United States,” says Gopnik.” The overwhelming majority of those children would be saved with effective gun control.”
A June 2017 study in the Journal of Pediatrics, entitled “Childhood Firearm Injuries in the United States” tells a different story. “On average, from 2012 to 2014, nearly 1300 children (N = 1297) died each year in the United States from a firearm-related injury,” according to researchers. To be clear, “children” includes those between the age of 0-17.
I don’t know where Gopnik pulled his data from (I’m sure you have some ideas), but the number is 1,297. Not 2,500. Maybe he included 18, and 19-year-olds too. But then we’re talking about men and women. Not children or young people.
Researchers also noted in the study that “unintentional firearm deaths among children declined from 2002 to 2014” and “firearm homicides declined from 2007 to 2014,” and “firearm suicides decreased between 2002 and 2007 and then showed a significant upward trend from 2007 to 2014.”
In talking about the “ravaging infectious disease of gun violence” Gopnik points to tougher gun control as the solution, the antidote to this “epidemic.” He says the vast majority of those children would be saved with effective gun control.
That’s an assumption with no basis in reality. This country has never been more armed (there are now more than 15 million concealed carry permit holders) nor has it ever been easier to purchase a wide array of semi-automatic firearms, everything from a polymer pistol to an AR-15, and with exception of suicides things are getting better, not worse for that demographic.
What’s more is that while gun laws have become less restrictive over the years this country as a whole has become a safer place. Crime is down by every measurable statistic since the golden age of gun control, the Clinton years when there was a federal ban on so-called “assault weapons.”
— NRA (@NRA) May 24, 2017
The following observation is from a 2013 Pew Study. While it only covers 1993 to 2010, the crime trend continues downward beyond 2010 to present day.
“Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49 percent lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew,” stated the authors of the study. “The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75 percent lower in 2011 than in 1993.”
What all this data points to is that gun ownership in this country is not a ravaging disease. It’s not what is killing our children. What kills our children is a combination of bad parenting (or no parenting), drugs, gangs and mental illness (With respect to drugs, do you know that heroin alone kills more people each year than people with guns do? Last time I checked, dope was heavily controlled, i.e. illegal, right?) The disease we suffer from when it comes to violence and young people is a disease of denial. We’re not willing to address the real causes because we’re all too happy with the current scapegoat: guns.