USAToday is running a story about kinds and guns and accidental deaths, and as expected it’s one of those “oh no, think of the children!” pieces. You know, the kind where the author sensationalizes a couple ostensibly illustrative examples, trots out a few irrelevant statistics, then blames the NRA. It’s a time-tested formula that the mainstream media uses to simultaneously paint guns as evil killing machines and the NRA as emotionless, uncaring monsters. Let’s take a look at how it’s done in practice, shall we? . . .
He didn’t know the gun was loaded.
The 14-year-old Massachusetts boy had recently found his mother’s handgun, which she kept hidden under her mattress for protection.
“Promise me you’ll never touch it,” his mother, a single mom, had asked him.
But the lure of the gun was irresistible. He decided to show it off to his neighbor, 12-year-old Brian Crowell.
Yep, start with one specific story of a family’s loss. There’s no shortage of people whose political views follow their emotions, and that opening gets them on the author’s side right off the bat. Obviously, if guns didn’t exist, children would never die, right?
And while Congress voted down gun legislation last month, children’s advocates such as Crowell are urging parents and communities to take their own steps to protect kids.
Crowell, who attended the State of the Union address in January as President Obama’s guest, has devoted her life to gun safety, urging parents to ask whether there are guns in the home before sending their kids for playdates.
“I had never thought to ask about guns in the home,” says Crowell, of Saugus, Mass.
Saugus says she’s aiming for common sense, not sweeping political change. Nearly 40% of American households have guns, studies show.
Next step: establish that your child may not be safe even if you don’t own guns. With the threat is outside the reader’s control, the only way to keep a child safe from the evil guns is by passing “common sense” laws to eradicate the scourge of firearms in civilian hands. Because obviously, since children die from
drowning in pools gunshots, we must eliminate pools guns. Never mind the legal or moral implications, think of the children.
Buried deep in the body of the story, though, the author lets slip a small, inconvenient detail.
Fewer children are dying from gun accidents today than a decade ago, as well. The number of kids under 14 who died in a gun accident fell from 86 in 2000 to 62 in 2010, according to the CDC. […] Arulanandam credits programs like Eddie Eagle for helping to reduce deaths in children.
So the events she’s so worked up about are actually declining all by themselves. Without any new laws in place. Oops, there goes the narrative! Quick, to the Batmobile! We obviously need to “balance” that fact with some unfounded speculation!
Yet Arthur Kellermann, a policy analyst at Rand Corp., said programs such as Eddie Eagle have never been independently assessed to measure whether they really make kids safer. He worries that gun safety programs could give parents a false sense of security.
Perfect. The “Eddie the Eagle” gun safety program actually makes kids less safe. Another shot at the NRA.
Never mind the hundreds of thousands of lives that are saved by guns each year. Never mind the joy they bring to millions of Americans. Never mind that swimming pools are a bigger scourge to the well-being kids. Obviously guns are the problem.
We have to think of the children – and only the children. Forget your rights, forget your personal responsibility where it comes to making sure your children are safe. It’s the guns that caused these deaths — not the negligent parents who allowed the unsupervised access.
“What I don’t understand is why the industry hasn’t done more to make handguns childproof, since we have no evidence to date that it is possible to make children gun-proof,” Kellermann says. “And as recent tragedies have proven, they are not bullet-proof.”
Right. Because it’s the product’s fault. We can’t blame the grieving parent for their own negligence. That would be insensitive. Instead, we need to change the laws in this country to protect the lives of 62 kids per year, ignoring the 200,000+ lives they save over the same time period.