By Matt Rooney
Let’s get this out of the way: when a gunman attacks a school or group of shoppers, and it happens several times over the course of several years, it’s a problem worth taking seriously. No doubt about it.
But when the extreme Left starts demanding major infringements of fundamental American liberties? Rational people understandably want to understand the problem, its nature and its scope a little better before acting as opposed to emotionally reacting. Not everyone wants to have a rational conversation. Not everyone is rational or has any interest in reason. Neil deGrasse Tyson found this out the hard way over the weekend when he factually tweeted that medical errors, the flu, car accidents and suicides kill more American every day than mass shootings and caught a ream of shit for having done so.
America’s favorite astrophysicist inspired me to take a closer look at gun violence-related facts and figures. Some of what I found will make your leftist friends’ heads hurt. Good. We can disagree on what to do next, but we can’t have a constructive conversation if half the room relies upon a biased and distorted set of “facts” to support their preordained conclusions.
Check this out:
1. Hammers, clubs kill significantly more Americans than rifles every year.
While it’s true that guns generally are the leading instrument of murder in the U.S., our liberal friends love to single out “assault” rifles as the single greatest threat to public safety. That’s B.S. In 2017, the FBI recorded 403 deaths by rifle in the United States compared to 1,591 by knives/sharp cutting instruments, 467 by blunt objects (like hammers or clubs), and 692 by human anatomy (like your fists or feet). The math just doesn’t support an epidemic.
2. Gun suicides remain a far bigger killer than mass shootings.
If you die by gun in the U.S.? Chances are you were your own (and only) victim. In 2016 alone, the United States saw 23,854 firearm-induced suicides according to the CDC. Compare that to the 273 who’ve died from mass shootings more than halfway through 2019. It’s not even close.
3. School shooting fatalities are actually way down.
Nothing is more gut-wrenching than hearing about children under attack in a place (school) where they’re supposed to learn and grow in relative safety. Thankfully? School shootings remain extremely rare and, according to one 2018 analysis, 4-times less deadly than in the early 1990s.
4. Lawnmowers kill more Americans than mass public shootings
As ever, the devil is in the definitions; everyone defines “mass shooting” differently, but if we’re talking about the big public shootings (like what we saw in Aurora, Parkland, and most recently in El Paso and Dayton) which drive the debate and monopolize television coverage for days? The average number of fatalities was around 30 per year from 1999 through 2013. In 2014? 100 Americans were killed in lawnmower-related accidents., slightly more than the total number of public mass shooting deaths in 2012 (the year of Sandy Hook). The annual average based on a 10-year period was 69.
5. The current number of mass shootings committed by NRA members: zero.
Hate the NRA if you want; disagree with them if you feel so inclined. But its members aren’t the ones committing mass shootings.
6. Chicago gun homicides eclipse total national mass shooting deaths.
You’re still far safer visiting your community school, Wal-Mart, or movie theater than the Windy City or some of America’s most mismanaged liberal urban centers. Chicago is already passing the 300 mark for 2019 gun homicides. One recent study by the Crime Prevention Research Center found 50% of all U.S. murders taking place in just 2% of American counties.
7. The old “America has the most mass shootings” line is probably bullshit.
In fact? One researcher reports we’re more like #69 globally behind Switzerland and Finland. Unsurprising, the inflated #1 stat is arrived at by cherry-picking data. Click here for the full story. You’ve been sold a bill of goods; for example, the U.K.’s violent crimes rates exceed the U.S.’s violent crime rates notwithstanding our parent country’s draconian gun control regime.
8. Violent crime in the U.S. is trending down.
If you relied on the mainstream media for all of your information? You’d think gangs of white supremacists and crazed gunmen are overrunning our cities. The truth: violent crime and gun crime in particular have generally been on a DOWNWARD trend since the 1990s and, with the exception of cities like Chicago and Baltimore (run by corrupt leftists), our cities are generally much safer, too. For example? There were 1/6th as many non-deadly firearm crimes committed in 2011 as the nation saw back in 1993.
9. Illegal guns kill vastly > people than legal guns.
10. More legal guns… less gun deaths?
For the period spanning 2007 and 2015, the U.S. murder rate fell by 16%. Violent crime fell 18%. The number of U.S. adults with concealed carry permit rose 190%. There’s hard data out there confirming that ‘good guys with guns’ remain the ultimate deterrent to and safeguard against bad guys with evil intentions.