CNN’s Fareed Zakaria wrote:
Every time there is a serious gun massacre in the United States — and alas, these are fairly common — the media focuses on the twisted psychology of the shooter and asks why we don’t pay more attention to detecting and treating mental illness… The question we should be really focused on is… why there are so many of them in America… America’s per capita gun homicide rate in 2009 was 12 times higher than the average of Canada, Germany, Australia and Spain. Does anyone think that we have 12 times as many psychologically troubled people as they do in these countries?Likewise, President Obama also touched on mental illness in his remarks following the shooting, “The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. It’s not the only country that has psychosis.”
There are several points in which both Mr. Zakaria and President Obama are wrong.
First, the word choice “massacre.” Massacre is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the act or an instance of killing a number of usually helpless or unresisting human beings under circumstances of atrocity or cruelty.” One person, although tragic, is not “a number of” people.
Second, the word choice of “fairly common.” This would depend on whose information one bases their assessment. If one bases it on the list of 74 supposed “school shootings” since Newtown compiled by anti-gun rights activist and billionaire-funded group Moms Demand Action, then more than one per week sounds fairly common. The problem? The list is bogus according to analysis done by Politifact, who found they included incidents such as a 2013 Clarksville, Tennessee incident, where authorities were called to a high school parking lot at 2 a.m. and “found the body of a 38-year-old homicide victim with no links to the school.” CNN found the number of actual school shootings since Newtown to be just 15.
Third, the “gun homicide” rate is an arbitrary and misleading comparative to gauge countries’ overall homicide rate, since nations have differing gun laws. We would expect nations with restrictive gun laws to have less murder with a gun, but what about the murder rate overall? Do we feel better if people are murdered, just not with a gun? Of course not! A Harvard-published study of 36 European nations, which have stronger gun control than the U.S., found there is no link whatsoever between gun availability and the countries’ homicide rate. They note this is because guns (or any weapon type) don’t cause crime, socio-cultural and economic factors do. This is why in the U.S., the homicide rate in very restrictive gun controlled Chicago’s South side is so high (over 500 murders in 2012).
Fourth, there is a problem with putting the blame for all murders on “psychologically troubled people” or as President Obama put it, “crazy people.” Arguably, most or all mass murderers are psychologically troubled, but mass murder typically results in “less than 100 victims” out of nearly 13,000 murders reported annually by the FBI.
This amounts to yet another disingenuous, weak-sauce attempt by the left to subtly make the point that “it’s the guns.” The “reasoning,” if we deign to call it that, is obvious: “Gee, if the U.S. doesn’t have a monopoly on crazy people, but more gun murders, it must be the guns. We need gun control.”
This fails a basic fact that the left only seems to remember when it’s convenient, that correlation does not equal causation. Guns don’t cause crime, socio-cultural and economic factors do. Knowing this requires more thought than blindly accepting that “it’s the guns,” and that is what the left is counting on – that people are too stupid to critically think about their talking points.
Brenner Brief recently reported that even if absolutely all legally owned civilian guns were banned and confiscated, we should expect little reduction in criminal activity. The Department of Defense states 80 percent of criminals obtain guns illegally, the FBI reports gangs traffic guns along with narcotics into the U.S., and criminologists find that 90 percent of adult murderers have adult criminal records with multiple contacts to the Justice system. In addition, the CDC says that law-abiding citizens use guns to defend themselves, reduce injury, save lives at least a half million to several million times annually, and that lawful carrying of a gun is a deterrent to crime. Therefore, besides very little to no reduction in criminal activity, we would also remove the lawful deterrent and expect to see an increase in crime, injury and lost lives.
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 Towers, The Brenner Brief, PolicyMic. TavernKeepers, and Vocativ.
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