Well, apparently despite the expiration of the “assault” weapons ban in 2004 and a number of states passing concealed carry laws, the hoplophobes’ predictions of blood in the streets have fallen flat. Crimes committed with firearms have plunged, including murders, assaults and robberies.
In less than two decades, the gun murder rate has been nearly cut in half. Other gun crimes fell even more sharply, paralleling a broader drop in violent crimes committed with or without guns. Violent crime dropped steeply during the 1990s and has fallen less dramatically since the turn of the millennium.
This is great news, not that anyone would know it, because Americans still think that we’re in the midst of an epidemic of violence!
A newly-released survey by the Pew Research Center reveals that more than half of Americans believe that gun crimes are on the increase.
Now why would that be?
The LA Times article I cited above says it’s not clear whether the media shapes these perceptions, but I think their own article is telling.
The number of gun killings dropped 39% between 1993 and 2011, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in a separate report released Tuesday. Gun crimes that weren’t fatal fell by 69%. However, guns still remain the most common murder weapon in the United States, the report noted. Between 1993 and 2011, more than two out of three murders in the U.S. were carried out with guns, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found. [emphasis mine]
This type of focus on firearms and the media’s insistence on sensationalizing every shooting, while studiously ignoring instances of self defense is instructive.
When I Google “Sandy Hook shooting,” I get nearly 38 million results.
However, when I search for this story about a gas station manager recently defending himself against two armed suspects, I get…
When I search for “Aurora Colorado Shooting,” I get 3.15 million Google hits.
When I try to search for news about Philly homeowner Lee Heng, who defended his children from two home invaders last month, I get…
As a journalist, you know the “If it bleeds, it leads” meme pretty well. Obviously, these two stories weren’t dramatic. They weren’t exciting. There was no drama. There was no blood. And no one knows how many lives were saved by putting an end to the armed thugs. Many instances of self defense go unreported, because ultimately, the gun isn’t brandished, and no crime is committed.
Self defense generally doesn’t bleed, so it won’t lead.
But the mainstream media will certainly take sensationalism to new lows with headlines such as this one in USA Today a few weeks ago – Epidemic: Guns kill twice as many kids as cancer does!
Nationally, guns still kill twice as many children and young people than cancer, five times as many than heart disease and 15 times more than infection, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
“We see guns as much of a threat in their life as we used to see bacteria and viruses,” said Dr. Judith S. Palfrey, a past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the co-author of the New England journal report. “If you look at what’s actually killing children and disabling children, guns is one of the major things.”
Accidental firearms injuries have been on the decline nationwide. In 2001, 5,091 children ages 19 and under were injured by a firearm. Those numbers steadily decreased through 2009, when 3,587 children under 19 were reported injured by a firearm, according to the defense fund.
Interesting statistics from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which couldn’t in any way be described as political, could it?
All of a sudden young adults and legal adults ages 15-19 are considered “children” and counted as “killed” by guns. I guess the APA isn’t aware that this is the prime age for gang activity. Apparently 25 percent of gang members are aged 15-17. But I don’t suppose that would have anything to do with these statistics, would it?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, some of the leading causes of death for actual children between the ages of 0 and 14 are unintentional injury, congenital anomalies, malignant neoplasms, heart disease and homicides.
Unintentional injury statistics don’t support Palfrey’s analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine either.
Two percent of unintentional injuries that resulted in the deaths of children in 2010 were due to firearms. Motor vehicle accidents and drowning were responsible for more than 60 percent of these deaths.
And yet, the media screeches about a gun violence “epidemic,” and takes every opportunity to publish questionable research from obviously biased sources.
Is it any wonder that Americans are ignorant about significant declines in gun crime?
The politicians screech about stemming gun violence every time a lunatic or criminal goes on an armed rampage.
Gun grabbing advocacy groups exploit every tragedy to further their political agenda.
The media focuses on carnage, but not on positive stories involving firearms.
And groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is supposed to be apolitical, features biased political hacks such as Dr. Judith S. Palfrey, who push a political agenda while hiding behind their medical degrees to promote dangerous policies.
So crime committed with firearms decreases dramatically, despite the gun banners’ most dire predictions, despite the availability of high-capacity magazines and “assault” rifles, and despite the passage of concealed carry laws in numerous states.
And the majority of Americans don’t even know it.
What does that say about them?