During his highly-politicized post Umpqua shooting address to the nation, the President challenged the media to forward his gun control agenda. “I would ask news organizations — because I won’t put these facts forward — have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who’ve been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number of Americans who’ve been killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-side on your news reports. This won’t be information coming from me; it will be coming from you.” In an article entitled Number of Americans Killed by Gun Violence Vs. Terrorism Shows Stark Contrast, NBC (amongst others) answered the call . . .
Well, here are the numbers, and they’re pretty stark:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 153,144 people were killed by homicide in which firearms were used between 2001 and 2013, the last year that data are available (that number excludes deaths by “legal intervention”).
The Global Terrorism Database — which uses a criteria to determine terrorist attacks but also includes acts of violence that are more ambiguous in goal — estimates that 3,046 people in the U.S. died in terrorist or possible terrorist attacks between 2001 and 2014.
The top number doesn’t even include suicides and legal police killings (which boost the number to 394,912). Still, just counting homicides alone, 11,780 Americans were killed by guns a year on average, in that time period, while 219 on average were per year killed by terrorism — although of course the 9/11 attacks are the bulk of the deaths.
Vox.com actually went ahead and made the presidentially-requested info into a chart (though not “side-by-side”).
Interestingly, both lines are relatively flat. Huh. Anyway, the whole exercise is a false paradigm. There is no correlation between “gun violence” and “terrorist attacks,” especially as a relatively small percentage of recent terrorist attacks involved firearms.
The President chose the comparison purely to bypass rational thought and appeal to Americans’ emotions. He could have compared death by “gun violence” to any mortality stat. As TTAG reader UZ points out, “According to the CDC, over 850k Americans are killed every year in the U.S. from abortions. Why didn’t Obama ask the press to run that statistic instead?” Or obesity-related deaths or medical malpractice-related fatalities.
Again, the stat challenge was designed to shock and obfuscate rather than inform. The mainstream media also failed by not challenging the President’s spin regarding the “gun violence” vs. “terrorism” comparo.
We spend over a trillion dollars, and pass countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?
The President is intimating that America doesn’t spend enough money or legislative effort fighting “gun violence.” Au contraire. This country spends billions maybe even trillions of dollars on local, state and tribal police (some 1.1m sworn officers) and the rest of our judicial system. The ATF, FBI and the Justice Department are multi-billion dollar federal agencies also dedicated to fighting violent crime. And we have plenty of gun laws.
As for Congress blocking federally-funded data collection on reducing gun deaths, I guess the CIC and his mainstream media camp followers forgot that he signed an Executive Order in 2012 lifting the ban on firearms research that “advocates or promotes gun control” by the CDC in 2012. The CDC has done nothing, waiting for “dedicated funding” (God forbid they should use some of their existing budget to do the research).
Besides, what research needs doing, exactly? The best way to prevent “gun violence”: lock-up violent criminals and dangerously mentally ill individuals. For some reason, cities with high firearms-related crime rates (e.g. Chicago) continue to perpetuate a “revolving door” justice system. Oh, and “allowing” law-abiding Americans to arm themselves in their own defense, and defense of other innocent life.
The mainstream media is, by and large, the President’s willing lap dog, and he knows it. Thankfully, Americans have alternate sources to consider the truth about guns.