Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Gun Control 2013: Boston Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev counted as “victim” of gun violence

Gun Control Debate 2013:  Gun control advocates count Boston Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev among the “victims” of gun violence even though he was shot by police in the line of duty as police sought Tamerlan and his brother in the wake of the Boston Bombings.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Bombers, shot by police
The Daily Caller and Fox News reported in June that a pro-gun control event held in Concord, New Hampshire turned ugly when Second Amendment activists were arrested. The event was promoted heavily by out-of-state supporters of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The Daily Caller and Fox News note that buried in the initial story is an arguably more interesting nugget. During the rally, supporters of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns read the names of those “killed with guns” since the Dec. 14 Newtown shootings. Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s name was memorialized among the names of the dead. Tsarnaev was killed in a police shootout following the terrorism event at the Boston Marathon.
Following the protest, Drew Cline, editor for regional New England news outlet, the Union Leader, sent out this tweet, which The Daily Caller stated “sums up how radical some of the anti-gun positions are.”

This is indicative of gun control advocates tactics and methodology. Many have called for an open, honest debate in our nation about guns and gun violence As I have written previously, the prerequisite for this is honesty. Counting Tamerlan Tsarnaev as a “victim” of gun violence by law enforcement officers who were hunting a fugitive and a terrorist is hardly honest. The FBI Uniform Crime reports show there are about 400 justifiable homicides by law enforcement officers in any given year (393 in 2011). Those numbers don’t rightly belong in a list of victims of gun violence – especially when referencing a heinous act like the Sandy Hook shooting.

If only this were an isolated incident. also keeps a running tab of the victims of “gun violence”, “How Many People Have Been Killed by Guns Since Newtown?” The problem with Slate’s tally is the inclusion of self-inflicted suicide deaths that have no rational connection to an event like Sandy Hook. For instance, it lists Renton, WA, hip-hop artist Freddy E (legal name Frederick E Buhl) who committed suicide with a gun. The linked source on Slate is the Seattle Times article which indicates his death was suicide, not homicide.

CNN columnist, Frida Ghitis, similarly misquotes gun death statistics in an Op-Ed “How strong, really, is America?” following the Boston Bombing. Ms. Ghitis cited the Center For Disease Control (CDC) stating the U.S. experiences 30,000 gun deaths, but failed to read the CDC source she cited, which clearly stated that “intentional self-harm (suicide) by discharge of firearms” resulted in 19,392 deaths (table 10, p.23). FBI data shows that there were 8,874 homicides involving firearms of all types in 2010, the same year as Ghitis cited the CDC stats. Ms. Ghitis’ column invokes imagery of homicides and crime using the words such as “brandishing,” “slaughtering each other,” and “at the hands of other Americans” (emphasis mine), but used suicide data to artificially inflate the gun death number. One does not “brandish” a gun at oneself; suicide is at one’s own hands, not “the hands of other[s].”

Many gun rights advocates are for an honest debate about guns and gun violence. Let’s keep it honest. Conflating data to make one’s case seem more dire is dishonest. Suicide has no logical bearing on gun control policy. Yet suicides make up two-thirds of the 30,000 gun deaths figure that is often used incorrectly. Gun control policy proposals such as limiting magazine capacity, banning so-called “assault” weapons, and requiring gun show background checks (which I’ve previously written in this column are, in fact, required by law currently) would not have any effect on suicides.

Gun violence is tragic and many would genuinely like to see our society take steps to reduce it (such as better enforcement of existing laws making trafficking & transfer to prohibited persons illegal, as well as better efforts to curb of gang violence – responsible for an average of 48% of violent crime in most jurisdictions, up to 90% in some jurisdictions, according to the FBI). Listing a terrorist shot by law enforcement officers as a “victim” of gun violence is not genuine. Such disingenuous tactics reduces the dialogue to partisan rhetoric and in so doing, minimizes chances that anything meaningful can be done.

By Matt MacBradaigh. Matt is a Christian, Husband, Father, Patriot, and Conservative from the Pacific Northwest. Matt writes about the Second Amendment, Gun Control, Gun Rights, and Gun Policy issues and is published on The Bell TowersThe Brenner Brief, PolicyMic. TavernKeepers, and Vocativ.

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This article also appears on The Brenner Brief. (Original publication July 22, 2013). 

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