This Is What It Looks Like When an Anti-Gunner Tries to Be “Balanced”

Francis Wilkinson (courtesy

When an editorial’s url doesn’t match the headline, it’s a sure sign that the publisher is playing silly buggers. For example, the title of Francis Wilkinson’s editorial at Bloomberg View is When Gun Logic Leads to Death. Here’s the url: The change reflects the antis’ desire to sugarcoat their civilian disarmament agenda. They want to lure in the fence straddlers without scaring the horses. Here’s a taste of Mr. Wilkinson’s attempt to appear fair and balanced . . .

A five-year-old in Missouri shot his baby brother earlier this week. Yesterday, a two-year-old shot himself. These are familiar acts, especially in regions of the nation where guns are most prevalent. Perhaps such tragedies are an acceptable price paid for maximalist gun laws and a laissez faire gun culture. But before accepting that conclusion, let’s ponder some of the logic that leads there.

The Rolling Stone contributor and “political strategist” immediately appeals to raw emotion in a piece [ostensibly] written to discuss logic. He links gun ownership rates to increased levels of firearms-related infanticide without providing any proof or context. [According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s 2014 Edition of Firearms-Related Injury Statistics, firearms are involved in fewer than 1⁄2-percent of all unintentional fatalities in the United States.]

And then Wilkinson goes all straw man. “Perhaps such tragedies are an acceptable price paid for maximalist gun laws and a laissez faire gun culture.” Simply put, Wilkinson is implying that gun rights advocates don’t give a shit about dead kids.

It’s a nasty insinuation, but not unknown to students of anti-gun agitprop. In fact, there’s a strong undercurrent of hatred and condescension running through all anti-gun rants. When their writers try to be “reasonable” it just doesn’t work.

Raised around guns is never cited as an official cause of death, but it surely is. Of course, plenty of people are raised around guns responsibly, with due respect for their destructive power and precautions taken to assure that power doesn’t explode. And the gun industry is not uniformly reckless, as an August 2014 Guns & Ammo article promoting “bedside gun safes” makes clear. The point of the product, the article stated, is to keep guns out of the wrong hands — whether of a “hardened criminal or a small child.” Amen.

But as guns have become a more potent cultural signifier, the better to defy the “jackboot of authoritarianism” or some other resented target, raised around guns has become an ideological disposition, and reckless endangerment has become a political stance and badge of cultural authenticity.

So it’s OK to have guns – except when it isn’t. When firearms ownership becomes ideological rather than practical. Because the Second Amendment wasn’t a “cultural signifier” designed to “defy the jackboot of authoritarianism” representing a “political stance” that created “cultural authenticity” (whatever that is). Oh wait . . .

Wilkinson’s dietribe [sic] quickly slips into a bout of LaPierre bashing. I’ll spare you the anti-NRA bile. Here’s the writer’s final salvo:

Everywhere, at every hour, good guys with guns are under siege, according to the NRA. In such a world, how can you afford to use a trigger lock or store a gun in a gun locker? You will waste precious seconds while “gamers, rapers, haters” and other demons are breaking down your door. Better to have a gun always at the ready.

Until your five-year-old picks it up and shoots your infant.

Car salesman use this technique all the time. It’s called a false paradigm. Do you want your old car to break down and leave your wife stranded by the side of the road or do you want to buy a reliable automobile like this car here? Do you want a law forcing gun owners to lock up their guns or do you want dead children?

Truth be told, Wilkinson wants all gun owners to lock away their guns, and only bring them out as needed. For the children! Hang on. Why keep guns if you can only bear them to shoot animals and perforate paper? Why indeed. By separating “keep” from “bear” Wilkinson would move America closer to his ultimate, unexpressed goal: civilian disarmament.

Wilkinson – and his employers – have to hide their true intentions behind a thin veneer of reasonableness. They have to lie to maintain the fiction. And keep lying. As Kim Edwards wrote in The Memory Keeper’s Daughter“It seemed there was no end at all to the lies a person could tell, once she got started.” Further bulletins as events warrant, as Hobbes said to Calvin.


  1. avatar Hannibal says:

    Author aside, the thrust of this article is spot on. If we care about kids getting killed by inanimate objects, there’s a much bigger danger than guns on our properties.

    1. avatar Mediocrates says:

      Death by drowning and poison dwarfs accidental deaths by firearms in children’s age groups.

      1. avatar somedude says:

        Poison dwarfs are mean. A pack of them killed my cousin.

        1. avatar Nate says:

          I laughed way too hard at that. Kudos.

      2. avatar Legolas says:

        Dwarves of any kind are not to be trusted.

        1. avatar Gimli says:

          You’re just still sore about losing at the Battle of the Hornburg.

      3. avatar Sian says:

        Dwarves are very upsetting.

    2. avatar JeffR says:

      My most stridently anti-gun friend just installed a pool in her backyard. To date, I have held my tongue, but I am waiting for the next time that she tries to discuss the risk that my firearms pose to my 9-year old son.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:


        I encourage you to memorize the numbers (annual deaths from drowning versus negligent firearms) and have them ready when the moment presents itself. I also encourage you to take on the most patient, concerned, friendly tone possible.

      2. avatar Jus Bill says:

        Was she required by local or state directive to get a permit to dig the pool, and to have a fence around the pool with a locked gate? Then she had to expend less time and money (and undergo less scrutiny) than a gun buyer in the most populous (and “enlightened”) of our states.

        Have her ponder that in light of the numbers.

        1. avatar Mark N. says:

          Careful there, Jus, If it is OK to require her to get a permit and to keep her dangerous pool behind a locked gate, it should also be OK to require you to get a permit and keep your dangerous firearms in a locked safe. By analogy that is.

      3. avatar Bob says:

        True that. I’ve seen my BIL’s pool nearly drown his kids twice, with him and his wife right there. And he wants to tell me how dangerous guns are in the home. People downplay the risks of whatever activity they take part in

        Life is a contact sport…take the level or precautions you deem appropriate for your circumstances. Just make sure you are honest with yourself about your circumstances.

    3. avatar Scrubula says:

      Death by ignorance is more like it. If you want easily accessible guns you should always teach your kids how to be responsible near them.

      I hate to say this but guns should probably be locked in some form if your kids are too young to understand why pointing a gun at someone is a bad idea.

      1. avatar fakeemailnamebecause of bug says:

        Carry it in a good holster when the kids are young.
        Lock up those you are not wearing.
        Simple, or as RF say’s
        “Home carry folks, home carry”

    4. avatar Ray Ficara says:

      As I said when posting to FB, Lott has absolutely PROVEN that the cases of kid finds gun are almost always in some anti-gun inner city urban Utopia NOT in Red states or Real America. Fathers are fearful and want to protect their families but even a premises permit is expensive and the NYPD routinely denies 90% of minority applicants.

      Ray from DeBARFIA

      1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

        That’s why the press is milking the Idaho tragedy (2-yr-old shoots mom at Wal-Mart) that happened on Dec. 26 for all it’s worth. It’s the exception to the rule they’ve been looking for.

  2. avatar Accur81 says:

    The logic of the anti-gunners strikes again. Should I keep my family safe or should I have ready access to my guns? Funny, as a cop I can keep myself and those around me safe by fast access to a gun. Even in a school. Around little children. Why can’t I do that off duty? I certainly can.

    I’m more likely to be injured in a car crash – again – then to be injured by my own firearm.

  3. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

    Let them keep spewing this nonsense… I think most people are ignoring it, or better yet, getting sick of hearing the emotional (not factual) garbage.

    Here on some local forums (in NJ), we have frequent gun rights “discussions” that include all of this same “baby-killer” garbage. Despite that, and hopefully due in part to some of my comments, a handful of the forum members have decided it’s time to purchase their first gun. I have yet to see *any* gun owners give up the ones they already own. So the score is tipping in our favor.

  4. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    Funny how these jackwagons never talk about how many children are killed by gunshots from (mostly illegal) firearms due to gang-banging in Chicagoland and elsewhere.

    1. avatar General Zod says:

      Sure they do – they just lump them in with every other death to justify their efforts to strip law-abiding gun owners of their rights.

    2. avatar OakRiver says:

      That’s one statistic I would love to hear more often; how many of these deaths are caused by illegally held firearms.

      But then again that requires honesty from people who call 18 & 19 year old men “teenagers” and “children”

      1. avatar JasonMfromSoDakota says:

        Gun Control and violence from emotion driven knuckle-draggers with guns is never about illegal firearms, it is about all firearms possessed by citizens,don’t you know. The focus on illegal guns will be used to say that if there aren’t any guns to steal or to be purchased from private citizens or local gun shops selling to the public criminals wouldn’t be able to get their misunderstood hands upon them. That is why there is such a push for UBC’s because the only way of knowing what guns are possessed by private citizens is through point of sale registration, because to certain people inanimate objects are evil and not the savage pulling the trigger.

  5. avatar Javier says:

    Here’s one for the Author and little Napoleon (Bloomberg) to ponder:
    If what happened in Paris had happened in your town or to your family would you have preferred that of the multitude of people that had good vantage points for shooting videos would have been armed with a gun instead of a camera phone?
    There have been 3 instances in the last week in NJ in which criminals have indeed been stopped by law abiding gun owners. But why would you even look into it? I prefer the old adage that says It is better to have and not need than to need and not have. But like all things responsibility falls on the person not the tool. I have fire extinguishers in multiple areas of my home,not because I want a fire but just in case there is one.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      “There have been 3 instances in the last week in NJ in which criminals have indeed been stopped by law abiding gun owners.”

      Hah … is it even possible to be a law abiding gun owner in New Jersey?

      1. avatar Javier says:

        Difficult not quite impossible.

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Isn’t it interesting that I have heard nothing of the 3 instances you speak of? What are the odds?

      1. avatar Javier says:

        2 in Newark from store owners and 1 in Cape May. actually published the articles (surprised me too). I know the media doesn’t publish many good news stories and they certainly don’t do follow ups.

  6. avatar Gwen Patton says:

    I think the comment on the OP site that says it best is:

    “Lighten up, Francis”

  7. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    “… reckless endangerment [with firearms] has become a political stance and badge of cultural authenticity.”

    Right, because most/all people who own firearms are inbred, redneck, ignorant, stump jumpers. Or not.

    My parents had firearms in the home my entire life. We never came close to having any accidents. And guess what? We never had any firearm cabinets or safes. I honestly have no idea how my parents stored their firearms when I was young. I never found them on my own. My father did take us out to learn how to shoot responsibly. I still remember shooting his pump-action .22 rifle for the very first time when I was in (gasp!) first grade.

    If you want to keep firearms ready for immediate use in the event of a sudden home invasion, it is exceedingly simple, easy, and inexpensive to keep a firearm ready while also preventing young children from harming themselves or someone else. First option: keep a loaded handgun in a proper fitting holster (which covers the trigger) on your body while at home. Your child is not going to remove that firearm without your knowledge and that eliminates the risk of accidents. Second option: keep a pump-action shotgun or semi-automatic handgun with an empty chamber and full magazine on a shelf as close to the ceiling as possible and out of view (and out of reach) of your children. If you never tell your children or show them the firearm is up there, they will never seek them out. And even if they did somehow seek them out, young children do not have the strength or coordination to operate the action of a semi-automatic pistol or pump action shotgun. Of course such a handgun or shotgun is available for immediate use for adults. The only “penalty” for this storage solution is that it requires an extra second to cycle the action and load a round into the chamber … an excellent trade-off between safety and function in my opinion.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      ” If you never tell your children or show them the firearm is up there, they will never seek them out”

      I submit that depends on the age of the children. As soon as they were old enough to understand (around 4), I made sure my kids knew exactly where my guns were, that they were all loaded, and if the kids wanted to examine them all they had to do was ask, I would unload and supervise, no problem. Otherwise, hey were dangerous, leave them alone, don’t even go near them. Never had any “forbidden fruit”, and never had any problems with it. 30+ years later one son loves guns, has his own collection, other son could not care less (though he enjoys shooting with us).

      1. avatar David Jarvis says:

        Just about exactly the way I did it Larry. I taught him to shoot at an early age. He knew what a gun would do and he respected guns. That’s the same way my Dad did it with my brother and my self. When my brother was twelve he stop an evil person from breaking in on a lady friend of our family, her two small daughters and his self. Her husband had to work that night and he ask if Thomas would stay with them. Thank God and Dad he did and knew what he had to do.

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      If you have it, they will find it. There was a tragic case in California where a CHP officer kept his duty weapon on a top shelf in the the master bedroom closet, believing that there was no way that his five year old twin boys could reach it. But they did. They stacked boxes and climbed up to see Daddy’s gun, and one of them ended up dead.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Mark N.,

        As tragic as that was, it was still a failure in parenting. By the time children are able to assemble boxes, climb to a high shelf, retrieve a firearm, cycle the action (to load a round in the chamber), and pull the trigger, they are able to learn to leave firearms alone. Their father failed them.

        My method to teach my children to leave firearms alone was simple and wildly effective. When my children were about four years old, I took them to a location where I could shoot. I had them stand back a ways at first. One shot without hearing protection was loud enough to convince them that firearms are serious business. (Note: the report of the firearm was not loud enough at that distance for one shot to damage their hearing.) Next, I donned ear protection on them and positioned them next to me so they could put their hands on my hands as I shot once. The substantial recoil reinforced how they had just learned that firearms are serious business. Finally, I had them stand next to me as I shot a plastic milk jug filled with water about 12 feet away. The explosion of the plastic jug sealed the deal. They knew for certain to leave firearms alone. Period.

        What I just described is highly effective because it reaches children in a developmentally appropriate way. Telling your four year old child that firearms are dangerous is meaningless to them because they do not understand the abstract concepts involved. What they do understand is a painfully loud gunshot, abrupt and forceful recoil, and a water explosion.

    3. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      “I honestly have no idea how my parents stored their firearms when I was young. I never found them on my own.”

      Good point. I also grew up in a household with guns that were simply put away. I was taught early on that guns are dangerous and should be left alone. By age 6, my father had taught me to shoot and practice gun-safety. He did it in such an effective way that it was something I wanted to do and not something I had to do because my dad told me to do. Although I had the biggest arsenal of toy guns in the neighborhood, never once did I confuse the real things with the toys. Good parenting accomplished that. Sorry to sound harsh about this but, if people can’t keep young children away from guns without locking them away in a gun-safe, they’re being careless.

    4. avatar Grindstone says:

      Consider how often I get called a liberal troll on this site, he can take his “badge of cultural authenticity” and shove it.

  8. avatar DickDanger says:

    What “balanced” means to a liberal: I’m still going to get my way.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Even if I have to lie.

    2. avatar Jordan says:

      Alternate description:

      I will give the opposition 1 line, maybe 2 in the whole article, but skew their views to make them look unreasonable and then counter those views in the most condescending way possible.

  9. avatar Mack Bolan says:

    To be honest, I really don’t care about the status of somebody else’s kids, be they dead or alive.

    It takes responsible parents to raise a kid, not a village, and definitely not lawmakers.

  10. avatar surlycmd says:

    I’m puzzled. I have no kids of my own and kids don’t visit my house so I have no first hand knowledge. Are parents or adults not responsible and charged with negligence if a child dies in their home or property? Doesn’t matter if it’s a pool, poisons, knives, electricity, matches, guns or any other manner or object. It seems to me no matter the cause, the responsible adult should be held accountable. Kid gets a gun and kills someone or drowns in a pool or starts a fire the parent or guardian is ultimately responsible. While there is no intent it still seems to be negligent to let a child have access to dangerous objects. More laws to charge someone with don’t seem necessary to me. This ” tragic accident the parent has to live with for the rest of their lives but no one is to blame” reeks of progressive BS.

    I may be way off base and I’m asking. I’m not picking an argument but flame me if you gotta but I would rather some one just explain it to me.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Well, not interested in flaming, but there is an interesting attitude there. I have had kids, and I have had dozens of kids visit my home over the past 45 years, but none of them have died there, so I have precisely as much experience as you do in your question. Assuming that any parent would know all about children dying in his home is interesting. OTOH, since you asked, *I* certainly acted to assure that all those inside my home remained safe, even the (gasp) ADULTS! If I had failed in that, I would not have been surprised if I were charged or sued.

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      if the child is your own, there is no lawsuit; if the child of another, someone always seeks to sue, regardless of the age of the child. for example, my office handled a case where a 15 year old girl went to a friend’s house, stating that she was going to get drunk, and then drank herself to death. Her parents sued, unsuccessfully, but were able to get the California Legislature to reverse a longstanding social host immunity. On the other hand, there is a law in California that imposes a criminal liability when a child gains access to a firearm and an injury results.

    3. avatar surlycmd says:

      Thanks for the replies. I’ve been thinking about my question since I hit the submit button. I think the core of my confusion stems from the more laws mentality. This need more laws view is one way our court system has become so complicated which may be the root cause for it’s corruption. Lawyers make up a large portion of gov’t legislatures. Pass more laws to keep the lawyer business booming. One more law will fix the problem. Even if SCOTUS rules on an issue the opposition will still keep trying to pass more laws.

      It seems to me if a child, any child, dies as a result of misusing an dangerous object while legally under an adult’s roof or on their property, the adult is negligent. Guns, matches, pools, poisons or whatever, doesn’t matter. Laws that require fences for pools, safe storage laws for guns, gas, poisons are not necessary. Any individual who is illegally on some ones property and dies is a Darwin Candidate.

  11. When will my candidate who supports the 2nd amendment show it?
    I watched the Iowa Freedom Summit (all 6 or so hours, I have a life but am recovering from shoulder surgery), and I was praying one of those “Conservatives” would pull back his jacket to reveal a holstered gun.

  12. avatar Another Robert says:

    Not exactly a masterpiece of persuasive writing. I’m also wondering if maybe the public at large has pretty much reached its quota of emotion-based hysteria and snark.

    1. avatar pg2 says:

      “I’m also wondering if maybe the public at large has pretty much reached its quota of emotion-based hysteria and snark.” -laughable supposition, its all the average American understands.

  13. avatar Layne says:

    The light up signs over Texas highways are currently displaying something like “3437 deaths on Texas roads in 2014, Drive safe”. Holy crap, that’s more than 9/11. I think it’s safe to assume more than 20 of those were children under 6 years old. And that’s only ONE year in ONE state. Yet so far as I know, absolutely no legislation has been introduced to put a stop to it. To almost-quote the knucklehead above “Perhaps such tragedies are an acceptable price paid for maximalist car laws and a laissez faire car culture”. Well I don’t wish to accept it. I’d like to see every person that caused an automotive death not including their own doing jail time, community service, and a whole lot of walking and riding a bus. But that would infringe on their unalienable right as an American to drive a car, so we accept those deaths.

    1. avatar pg2 says:

      “But that would infringe on their unalienable right as an American to drive a car” Hold on, driving is considered a privilege, not a right. Seems a difficult distinction for so many on this forum to make, despite it being a critical difference.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Not real sharp on sarc, eh? He knows that.

        1. avatar pg2 says:

          Good call, my bad for skimming most of it until the very end.

      2. avatar Another Robert says:

        Not just on this forum–“We license drivers, why shouldn’t we license gun owners” is a staple of the anti-gunners.

        1. avatar pg2 says:

          The real irony being both are rights under the Constitution.

        2. avatar Another Robert says:

          How is driving a right under the Constitution? I am aware that there is a right to travel interstate, but I don’t think any particular mode of transportation is Constitutionally protected.

        3. avatar pg2 says:

          Forget exact wording, but travel, access is guaranteed. would have to look it up.

    2. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      “The light up signs over Texas highways are currently displaying something like “3437 deaths on Texas roads in 2014, Drive safe”.

      In the 1970’s this sign would likely have been accompanied by a “Drive Alive, Drive 55” slogan. At the time there was a similar demographic made up of discontented, anxious people who absolutely believed that absurdly low speed limits would be s salvation for humankind. The structure of the agitation propaganda was exactly the same as is now being used by the anti-guners. Same kind of folks, same tactics, different issue.

      This kind of strategy is always linked to an effort to turn behavior that was formally completely normal into behavior that is deviant and therefore prohibited and controlled. Key to this strategy is the role of “moral entrepreneurs” who are people, like Wilkinson, who’s role is to inform others about how to think about the “problem”. Same song, difference verse.

  14. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    We better get used to this. Statistics are on our side, so far. But when it comes to accidental deaths involving firearms, that will change.

    The passage of right-to-carry laws (among other factors) has led to an ever-increasing rate of gun ownership in the US. Some of these new gun owners will do stupid things, and tragedy will follow. Firearm-related accidental deaths will increase.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I’m thinking you have drunk the Kool-Aid. Personally, I’ll believe that when I see it. There’s gotta be twice as many guns as there were 30 years ago, have those numbers doubled?

      1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

        I assure you Larry, I am an amateur analyzer of statistics, not a Kool-Aid drinker. The NSSF report of accidental firearms fatalities is in the link above, and it’s all good. So far.

        Admittedly, I am speculating here. Concealed carry permit numbers continue to climb. And some of these people getting permits and buying gats did not grow up with guns, nor did they have the four rules beaten into their heads the way I did. They are people acquiring the tools of self-defense, because they can (finally). Many of them are in urban areas and are not surrounded by a safety-minded culture.

        It’s a situation likely to lead to tragedy, and I pray that I am proven wrong.

  15. avatar Wiregrass says:

    NRA doesn’t care about safe storage? Then why did I get assigned to cover storage options as part of the last NRA handgun course where I participated as an instructor?

  16. avatar jack burton says:

    For a mature, and persuasive answer to the question, “Is the damage to society from the misuse of guns worth the freedom to have guns?” read

  17. avatar JWM says:

    How do you fight, with honor, an enemy that has no honor?

  18. avatar the ruester says:

    This clearly wasted man needs to leave us the hell alone and focus on keeping his kids out of his … errr… “medicine cabinet.”

  19. avatar Rad Man says:

    @RF, actually Calvin yelled that to his mom as he was leaving the house. Sorry to nitpick.

  20. avatar John D. says:

    There is some grim satisfaction to be had in the knowledge that Michael Bloomberg is losing heavily in his news business. Why he returned to it after his stint as New York mayor. He has triggered turmoil and turnover since his return.

    Wilkinson is just toadying up to Bloomberg. I see a prolonged vacation in his future.

  21. avatar DerryM says:

    Good article and analysis, RF. This guy is completely insidious, or so he thinks.

  22. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Rolling Stone. That’s all I have to know…

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