“U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, is one of California’s most prominent advocates for gun control — and one of the few members of Congress to personally experience and survive gun violence,” politifact.com reports. “Speier was shot five times at point blank range in 1978 on a trip accompanying Rep. Leo Ryan to Jonestown, the remote commune in Guyana where 909 people died from cyanide poisoning and other means.” Died from cyanide poisoning?
In fact, the Jonestown community committed mass suicide at the behest of a religious fanatic. But that’s how politically biased “fact checkers” roll: in pursuit of a predetermined conclusion, they forget the bit of the oath that says “the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” They cherry-pick, prevaricate or, in this case, simply ignore the facts they unearth.
Exhibit A: here’s what PolitiFact found when they tried to verify Rep. Speier’s stat in the Tweet above:
A spokeswoman for Speier cited the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence as the source of the statistic. She said the campaign used information from an online database of fatal injury report maintained by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We did not hear back from a spokesman for the Brady Campaign . . .
To examine Speier’s claim, we searched the database for the number of young people who died in connection with guns from the start of 2013 through 2015. Those are the most recent available years following the Sandy Hook shooting.
We found 7,838 deaths in connection with firearms for people ages 0 through 19.
That works out to 7.15 deaths a day during this three-year period — which matches Speier’s claim of “more than seven” per day.
These include all types of gun deaths from accidents to homicides to suicides. About 36 percent resulted from suicides.
Some might take issue with Speier lumping in 18 year-olds and 19 year-olds as children.
And for good reason. According to legal-dictionary thefreedictionary.com, a child is “a person 14 years and under” (as distinguished from a “minor” who is “anyone under 18 in almost all states”).
If we re-examine the numbers in the CDC database to reflect this fact, we discover that 1,312 children died from firearms-related injuries in the two-year period. Which is 656 per year. Or 1.79 per day.
That’s roughly four times less than the number claimed by the Brady Campaign and Rep. Speier. Despite discovering hard factual data that completely undermines both the Brady Campaign and Rep. Speier’s claim, PolitFact decides to accept it.
California Congresswoman Jackie Speier recently claimed: “Since the Sandy Hook tragedy, more than seven children PER DAY have died from gun violence.”
Speier’s claim is backed up by the CDC’s fatal injury report data, which shows an average of 7.15 young people per day, aged 0 to 19, died in connection with firearms between 2013 and 2015 . . .
Speier’s statement is on the right track. But it could have used some clarifications.
We rate it Mostly True.
And we rate it complete bullshit. The Brady Campaign redefined the word “child” to pump-up the CDC’s stats to suit their political agenda.
And what of the misleading meaning of the words “gun violence”? Are suicides examples of “gun violence”? I’d bet dollars to donuts that the average person believes the term refers to firearms-related homicides. As The Brady Campaign knows well enough.
Anyway, twisting words and stats to mislead people isn’t truth or even “mostly” truth — no matter how “noble” the goal. It’s propaganda. You might even call it “fake news.” Speaking of which . . .
Facebook has announced that they’re going to rely on four “fact checking” organizations — Snopes, Factcheck.org, ABC News and PolitiFact — to weed out “fake news.” What does that tell you about the future of gun news on Facebook?