Gun control advocates remind me of the Talking Heads’ song Crosseyed and Painless. They want the facts to show that guns are killing children in droves. But facts don’t do what they want them to. In 2010, 208 children died from firearms-related causes. Tragic yes, but not the kind of “gun violence” pandemic that convinces Americans to abandon their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. To amp-up the anti-gun rhetoric, gun control advocates count teenagers as “children.” Three words for that protocol: teenage gang bangers. So when you read the usatoday.com headline Twenty young people a day hospitalized for gun injuries you know the FUD is strong. Here’s a taste . . .
Almost one child or teen an hour is injured by a firearm seriously enough to require hospitalization, a new analysis finds. Six percent of the 7,391 hospitalizations analyzed resulted in a death, says the study in February’s Pediatrics, released today. [ED: Click here to read.]
The damage caused by gun-related injuries rarely gets the same attention as fatalities, “but that every day, 20 of our children are hospitalized for firearms injury, often suffering severe and costly injuries, clearly shows that this is a national public health problem,” says Robert Sege [above], director of the Division of Family and Child Advocacy at Boston Medical Center and a co-author of the study.
Despite declining rates over the past decade, firearm injuries remain the second leading cause of death, behind motor vehicle crashes, for teens ages 15 to 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Note the quick aside about declining rates and, more importantly, the discrepancy between the headline’s use of the term “young people” and the Boston gun control campaigner‘s use of the word “child” to characterize the his “study.” Let’s be clear about this disconnect: “Researchers analyzed a nationally representative sample of discharge data collected on children and adolescents (up to age 20) in 2009.” Need I say more? Just this: teenage gang bangers.
I know the context sounds callous. A life is a life, after all. But it highlights the fact – yes fact – that America has a gang problem, not a gun problem. In areas where teens don’t join gangs the incidence of gun-related death and serious injury is practically nil.
This is what’s commonly called an “inconvenient truth.” Or, if you prefer, a politically unpalatable fact. Which is why you get this kind of BS when Dr. Sege’s study plays the race card.
The study detailed a significant racial gap: Black children and adolescents comprised 47% of all hospitalizations, 54% of hospitalizations resulting from assaults, 36% from unintentional injuries and 54% from undetermined causes.
Noting the significantly higher poverty rate for young black males compared with young white males, Sege says the data did not allow researchers to “separate the effects of poverty from the effects of race.”
Huh? How about studying the effects of gang affiliation and drug-related criminal activity on the incidence of firearms-related death and serious injury? While we’re at it, what does Dr. Sege mean by “the effects of race,” exactly?
Never mind. As USA Today’s writer mentioned (in passing), firearms-related death and serious injury amongst “young people” has been declining for more than a decade. A recent NRA-ILA Alert highlighted the trend:
As longtime readers of the Alert well know, anti-gun advocates have often exaggerated the number of firearm-related deaths among children by counting deaths among juveniles and young adults ages 15-19 along with those among children. However, firearm-related deaths among all persons ages 0-19 decreased 33 percent through 2009 and 37 percent through 2010.
More importantly, the per capita rate of such deaths has decreased to an even greater extent. Among persons ages 0-14, it dropped 44 percent from 1997 to 2009, and 48 percent from 1997 to 2010, while among all persons ages 0-19 it dropped 42 percent through 2009 and 45 percent through 2010.
Dr. Sege’s study doesn’t go there. Obviously. Instead it heads to the conclusion favored by proponents of civilian disarmament who can’t say what they really, really want (a total ban on guns).
In the absence of such research, Sege says, the best advice is to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that “the safest home for children and teens is one without guns,” and if there are guns in the home, they should be “stored unloaded and locked, with the ammunition locked away in a separate place.”
So the safest place for children and teens are countries without Second Amendment protections for their citizens’ natural and civil right to keep and bear arms. Countries where the government has banned private gun ownership entirely. Oh wait.