Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Monday, May 10, 2010

Well, it's Better Than 4,000

Once again our anti-gun opponents drag out scaaaary numbers! to motivate the herd. This time, courtesy of Xrlq via Uncle, we get the latest on the home-front numbers propounded by Momlogic:
Gun Accidents Kill 500 Kids Each Year

Advice every parent needs to hear about firearm safety.

This week, an 8-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old sister in California.

"It's a tragic case of a sibling who picked up a firearm, thinking it was a toy, pointed it at his sister and discharged one round from the firearm, striking her in the head," said Vacaville Police Sgt. Charlie Spruill.

But these aren't freak accidents. More than 500 children die annually from accidental gunshots. Some shoot themselves, while others kill friends or siblings after discovering a gun.

Here are more scary stats: Americans own 200 million firearms, and 35 percent of homes contain at least one gun. Last year, a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 1.7 million children live in homes with loaded and unlocked guns.
There's more, but this is enough.

The part I've emphasized in bold? It's a lie.

It's a blatant, bold-faced lie.

It's also not an isolated incident. It's not even uncommon. For example, I have more than once pointed to a March 2000 Salon article by Jean Hanff Korelitz, What a few good women can do (still available on the site, you'll note) where she states in no uncertain terms:
And what about the more than 4,000 children who die in gun-related accidents each year? That's 11 kids a day. And we're not talking about crimes, or intentional shootings. We're talking -- or not talking enough -- about accidents.
Korelitz says it's 4,000 a year. Ten years later, Momlogic says it's 500.

Why aren't we celebrating the eight-fold reduction in accidental gunshot deaths of children?

Because they're lying to you. Remember, they're The Other Side.

So what are the real numbers? Well, let's go back to the first excerpt where Momlogic's piece states:
Last year, a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 1.7 million children live in homes with loaded and unlocked guns.
Wow. 1.7 million potential accidental gunshot deaths, each and every day. But I repeat this line to illustrate that the writer of the Momlogic piece is aware of the Centers for Disease Control. This might lead one to believe that the author could be aware of the CDC's WISQARS tools. The Momlogic piece insists that the accidental death toll is 500 children a year. Let's stipulate that "accident" means "unintentional," and "children" are legally defined as seventeen years old or less. How many children died of accidental gunshot in 2006 (latest available data)?

One hundred and two. (102!)

That's a factor of FIVE fewer than the headline states.

Well! What about 2005?


2004? 105.

2003? 102.

2002?!? 115.

What about when Ms. Korelitz was decrying the "fact" that we "weren't talking enough" about the "more than 4,000 children who die in gun-related accidents each year"?

Here's the available CDC data (you trust the .gov, right?) tabulated from 1990 up through 2006:

2006: 102
2005: 127
2004: 105
2003: 102
2002: 115
2001: 125
2000: 150
1999: 158
1998: 207
1997: 247
1996: 272
1995: 330
1994: 403
1993: 392
1992: 378
1991: 419
1990: 417

Not 4,000. Not 500. Two hundred seventy-two in 1996 (four years before Ms. Korelitz wrote her piece) and 102 in 2006 (four years before the Momlogic piece).

Two questions:

Each and every one of those deaths is a tragedy for the family or families involved. Why aren't the actual numbers ever enough for our opponents? Why must they inflate them?

And why aren't we CELEBRATING a four-fold reduction in the accidental gunshot deaths of children over the past twenty years even as well over 60 million new guns have entered circulation during that same period? Remember: supposedly there are 1.7 MILLION households with loaded, unsecured firearms in them that children could be exposed to. I'd say that an annual accidental gunshot death toll of 102 is damned near miraculously small, especially given the fact that 509 children under the age of five died of accidental drowning in 2006 alone.

One more: Why hasn't Salon or Ms. Korelitz ever published a retraction of her absurd assertion? (Never mind. That last one was rhetorical.)

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