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We’ve fisked Leonard Pitts more than a few times here on TTAG. Today’s installment [via] surrounds Lenny’s article, As toddlers are sadly proving, a gun only makes a home less secure. You know the drill: it’s more likely that a kid in the home will shoot himself with a gun than a gun owner will use a firearm to defend his family. It’s the anti-gun rights crusaders’ go-to argument, mandatory for convincing disarmed Americans to remain disarmed, and vote for measures that disarm armed Americans. Lenny asserts that the belief that a home defense gun helps a home owner defend their home is “completely at odds with statistical fact.” Which raises an important question . . .

How many times do home owners use a gun to defend their home? You know; setting aside the obvious deterrent effect in gun-equipped neighborhoods. Strangely, Mr. Pitts doesn’t once mention the statistical evidence regarding defensive gun uses (DGU’s). tells us that the lowest estimate – prepared by notorious anti-gun rights researched David Hemenway – pegs that number at approximately 55,000-80,000 DGU’s per year.

How many of those occur in the home? Let’s be conservative (so to speak) and say it’s 10 percent, yielding a total of five to eight thousand home-based DGU’s per year. NOW let’s look at Pitts’ analysis of firearms-related accidents involving toddlers.

It was the kind of a statistic that would have left a sane country stunned and shamed.

This country barely noticed it.

It came last month, courtesy of The Washington Post [ED: no line provided], which reported that, as of mid-October, toddlers in America have been shooting people this year at a rate of one a week.

You know how the story goes. Little one finds an inadequately secured gun and starts playing with it, too young to know that death lurks inside. The thing goes off with a bang, leaving a hole – sometimes a fatal one – in human flesh.

Sometimes it’s Da-da. Sometimes, it’s Nana. Sometimes, it’s the toddler himself.

Da-da. Nana. The toddler. Oh the humanity! Seriously, that sucks. But raw emotion and rational thinking are two different things.

In 2012, 444 1-4 year olds died in car accidents. The same story reports that 895 5-14 year olds also died in car accidents that year. That’s 1,339 in total. Pitts combines children dying in firearms-related incidents with people shot by children to come up with his total of 55. Setting that aside, that’s one firearms-related fatality per week (out of a population of 320 million) compared to the 25.75 children per week who die in car accidents.

I know: if gun control saves ONE CHILD it’s worth degrading and destroying Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. And we should tackle BOTH firearms and vehicular-related childhood deaths. With, I dunno, safety campaigns? Meanwhile, Lenny reckons it’s OK to fear having a gun in the home but not OK to fear home invaders. Like this:

A 2014 study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, for instance, found that exposure to violent crime on TV dramas intensifies the fear that one may become a victim. “CSI,” anyone? And a 2003 study from the same source found that the more people watch local TV news – where if it bleeds, it leads – the greater their fear of crime.

And here, it bears repeating: We have less to fear from crime now than we’ve had in many years.

But, though lacking cause to fear, we fear just the same, fear all the more, making life and death decisions about personal security based on perceptions that have little to do with reality.

Lacking cause to fear? The reality: home invasions – and other criminal attacks – do occur. Here’s a Department of Justice report from 2010.

An estimated 3.7 million household burglaries occurred each year on average from 2003 to 2007. In about 28% of these burglaries, a household member was present during the burglary. In 7% of all household burglaries, a household member experienced some form of violent victimization.

That the downside of not having a gun to protect yourself and your family in that situation leaves you without the most effective method for ending that attack. An event that also does occur. If Leonard was facing a hot burglary would he want to have a gun? Millions of Americans have contemplated that question and made their decision. A decision that Leonard and his ilk should respect. But never will.

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  1. Choosing to be as helpless as a child is a serious breach of that child’s trust in you to do what a child cannot… It may be the worst thing a parent can do.

      • Stolen and adapted:
        Choosing to be as helpless as a child is a serious breach of that child’s trust in you to do what a child cannot: Protect him or her from evil. It may be the worst thing a parent can do.

  2. Mr. Pitts’ children, (if he has any), should never be allowed in vehicles.
    For his children’s safety.

  3. Rob, you’re falling for the ultimate lie; that statistics and numbers matter.

    From a collectivist position, socialists present the percentage of their imagined collective that is damaged, and they call it acceptable losses.

    We know better than this. We know that the individual, the one to whom rights belong, is 100% screwed. It’s not OK.

    How many adults died at Sand Hook BEFORE the shooter made it to the room full of kids? They’re lauded as heroes when they are, in reality, deplorable. They died, yes. But they died doing nothing. They chose to be just as helpless as the children, and did precisely nothing to help those children as a direct result of that chpoice.

    They fell helpless, which is why the children died. If they had put up a fight, that massacre would not have happened.

  4. ” Pitts combines children dying in firearms-related incidents with people shot by children to come up with his total of 55.”


    • My guess is Mr Pitts’ article is the source: “Sometimes it’s Da-da. Sometimes it’s Nana. Sometimes it’s the toddler himself”.

    • I don’t think that is really the problem. Rather, it is that firearm related incidents includes kids being victims of drive by shooting and/or gang bangers, and kids dying when one of their parents (or someone else) kills the entire family. None of these have anything to do with young kids accidentally shooting themselves or someone else.

  5. Pitts decries violent crime in certain black majority big cities ( Chicago for one), and calls for gun control incessantly. Never mind that the cities he is bemoaning the violence in happen to be models of gun control legislation.

  6. Lenny can go suck green persimmons. It ain’t happenin as far as I’m concerned.

    I don’t really care about his statistics and I SURE don’t trust his sources. I know he’s all about retelling the big lie as many times as he can, and I remind everyone who tries to use his lies just how deceitful he and his buddies are.

    The only thing I care about the statistics is the following:
    The statistical probability of being attacked (or hit by a meteor) may in fact be low, but the consequences for the individual in that situation can really SUCK if the statists leave them no options to defend themselves.

  7. Lenny and when will you have them make swimming pool covers mandatory??.
    For the children after all. Since so few drown at home.

  8. Yeah people lets disarm for the children and become another Europe were innocent adults and children get slaughtered like animals by muslim terrorist. Is that what democrats and liberals want for this country?!?

  9. I made an interesting discovery while crunching the numbers fro the DoJ’s 2010 report on home burglaries, cited in the article.

    28% of 3,700,000 is 1,036,000. That’s the number of “hot” burglaries. One-quarter of that, 7%, would be 259,000. This represents the number of those violently victimized by burglars. The remainder are the 777,000 who weren’t.

    Now, I know you’re wondering by now: why weren’t all of those people victimized by burglars? Well, doesn’t that fit nicely into the estimated number of DGUs given to us by Lott? Just some food for thought.

    • SHUT UP!!! Math and Science are just evil republican mind tricks designed to take away all our free stuff!

      Save the babies! So I can eat them!

  10. Has anyone yet realized that one of the reasons doctors have been mandated asking patients whether or not firearms are present in the home?

    I predict that the government will ultimately take that information and use it in a mandate that any family having children to get rid of any firearms they have — not merely locking them up with the ammunition separated from the weapon itself.

    After all: “It’s for the children….”

    • Maybe, Juanito – but only to those who answer the stupid question, I suspect. 🙂

      The doctors don’t ask those stupid question here in Wyoming. Actually, they already know the answer… just about everyone here owns guns. And knows how to use them. And we store them exactly as we please.

      • I saw that question for the first time on some paperwork the last time I took my daughter to the doctor. I left those spots blank. The doctor didn’t ask about it.

  11. You are a statist, progressive, elitist for two basic reasons..

    You are a superior minded obsessive that believes all of the chattering masses are overgrown, immature children in adult bodies that need their superior, over educated awesomeness with useless feel good degrees to dictate how they should live thier lives; or, you are an overgrown, immature child in an adult body that needs some delusional, over educated, with delusions of grandeur (but without wisdom) elitist to tell you how you should live.

    • Watching what had transpired on college campuses of late makes think reason 1 is a correct assessment. /sarc

  12. “…exposure to violent crime on TV dramas intensifies the fear that one may become a victim. “CSI,” anyone?”

    While TV dramas may exaggerate the amount of crime and the type of crime and the ability of police to protect the average citizen from crime (as I recall, most of the modern crime dramas begin with the “hook” of discovering an already dead or dying victim), what they intensify is not the fear that one may become a victim, but the absolute randomness with which victimization occurs. As a result it is only reasonable and logical to arm yourself and be prepared to defend yourself.

    I am always (darkly) amused by these shows as I watch and think to myself, “If only that person/victim had been carrying a concealed weapon the episode would have lasted about 5 minutes and the writers would have needed something else to fill up their time slot. And yet, on the few occasions when they deign to include an armed citizen it almost always ends up that they are ineffective and/or trigger happy and/or shoot the wrong people. I guess it’s too much to ask that Hollywood fiction mirror real life in too great a detail.

  13. …it’s more likely that a kid in the home will shoot himself with a gun than a gun owner will use a firearm to defend his family.

    It is more likely that a kid born of liberal responsibility-free parents will shoot themselves in a home with a gun than a their liberal responsibility-free parents use that firearm to defend themselves. My children’s safety in my home is my business not yours and i’m not interested in your psychological rationalizations based on your own inadequacies and fear projected on to me and my family. My wife and I determine where the kitchen knives are stored. We determine where the baby gates are. We determine when our children have learned enough to in order to traverse our stairs to the second story safely. We determine where the chemicals and flammable liquids are and how they are stored. We determine when they are old enough to safely handle them. We determine everything – and likewise, we also determine how our firearms are stored and when our children have learned to safely handle them. You liberal anti-privacy anti-freedom weirdos can FO.

  14. “And here, it bears repeating: We have less to fear from crime now than we’ve had in many years.”

    And Lenny here is totally blind as to why that might be the case.

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