If it bleeds, it leads. I’ve got no problem with that. As Don Henley sang, it’s interesting when people die. And important. News reports on firearms-related homicide offers us a chance to learn how to avoid that fate, both individually and as a society. On the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School spree killing, we should take a moment to honor the innocent victims of that slaughter, and consider the meaning of that horrific event. For gun control advocates . . .
that means waving the bloody shirt to argue for civilian disarmament. NBC went particularly big on that aspect. Since Sandy Hook, an American Kid Has Died by a Gun Every Other Day is the first of two major articles on Sandy Hook posted today, this one implying that something must be done! More to their point, they want to leave readers with the impression that nothing important has been done. Yet.
Mind you, the NBC article pretended to be objective: “We talked to 10 experts on gun violence, from both sides of the political divide, to try to answer the question that inevitably arises on milestones such as this: Has anything changed to make children safer from gun violence?” But the pictures and text tell a different story, giving full weight to the anti-gun rights side of the “debate” while giving short shrift to the pro-gun rights side of the equation.
In case that article didn’t inflict enough anti-gun agitprop upon its readers, NBC also chose this day to post an article entitled They Were Killed by a Gun: Faces of the Child Victims. It features portraits and bios of children shot and killed after Sandy Hook, as if to say “why haven’t we done anything to stop this?” Even though none of the children were shot by a spree killer. I repeat: the piece was a clear attempt to wave the bloody shirt for gun control. Like this:
The massacre of 20 first-graders at a Newtown, Connecticut, school three years ago outraged the nation and spurred calls for new legislation, but it did nothing to slow the firearm deaths of young Americans. Each year, hundreds of kids under 12 are shot and killed, either by accident or on purpose.
NBC’s methodology for counting the number of children shot and killed since Sandy Hook is questionable; it was “derived from news reports and other publicly available information.” But even if we take the stat at face value, the articles singularly and I believe intentionally fail to provide a suitable context for readers contemplating the heart-tugging headline and text.
According to the CDC, unintentional injury is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of one and 14. Congenital anomalies and malignant neoplasms are the second most likely cause of death. Homicide and suicide rank third. The total number of children aged one to four who died in the U.S. in 2013 was 4,068. Deaths per 100,000 population: 25.5 The total number of children aged five to 14 years who died in the U.S. in 2013 was 5,340. Deaths per 100,000 population: 13. [Link]
These facts don’t change the horror of Sandy Hook, or any of the other firearms-related fatalities since that unconscionable act. They do not remove responsibility from the people who directly contributed to those deaths, either by malicious intent or negligence. They do not invite complacency. But they do highlight the fact that firearms-related death amongst children aged one to 12 is not an enormous risk, nor an epidemic.
There’s something important missing here: the life-saving deterrent effect of our firearms freedom. I’m not talking about defensive gun uses (DGU) against criminals – despite the fact that the lowest estimate of annual DGU’s is 55k per year, while the highest estimate tops 1m. In the main, those stats apply to adults. I’m talking about our children’s ability to live their lives safe from the effects of government tyranny.
As far as gun control advocates are concerned government tyranny is a non-issue That’s because we live in a society that bears little resemblance to countries where such tyranny exists. Countries like Somalia, where tens of thousands of children die each year from inadequate nutrition and medical care. Or Mexico, where the Knights Templar cartel has kidnapped children to harvest their organs and some 20k children are victims of sex trafficking each year. These are countries with one thing in common: disarmed populations.
Simply put, our guns protect our children from the unimaginable horrors unleashed by government tyranny and chaos. As the son of a Holocaust survivor, I can assure you that this is no paranoid delusion. Liberty can be lost and young lives destroyed in a very short period of time, even in the most “civilized” country with the most democratic government. If Americans were not armed against government tyranny, thus preventing it, our children’s lives would be very different. And not for the better.
So while it’s easy for gun control advocates to wave pictures of kids killed by gunfire to bolster their cause, we should never forget the tens of millions of children are living their lives happily because of our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. The inability of statists to impose civilian disarmament in the immediate aftermath of the Sandy Hook murders indicates that we the people have not entirely lost sight of the “hidden” benefits of gun ownership. I hope our children learn this truth about guns.