As we enter into the next phase of the Pandemic Panic, with the distribution of multiple vaccines, we don’t want to lose track of other important issues of liberty.
Consider the on-going struggle to preserve and restore our right to keep and bear arms. With the apparent opportunity for a new squatter to claim 1600 PA as his home address, we can expect the efforts to prohibit and steal all sorts of weapons to ramp up.
A major part of the effort, as always, is to whip up public panic and anger over the massive death toll, not just of firearms in general but especially of the truly-evil “assault weapons” that “must be removed from our streets.” To this end, the propaganda machine screams out the dangers on a daily basis.
So it is important that we have the facts – NOT the wild claims of hoplophobes and hoploclasts and opportunistic politicians and bureaucrats. If possible, facts even those people have a hard time gainsaying.
One of those is the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Reporting System report, recently published for 2019. This National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) is an incredible compendium of statistics. But some stand out, and good people are willing to spend the time to wash out those nuggets for us.
One of those is this interest chart of assaults and homicides:
A correspondent (thanks, Miguel!) circled some of the key numbers in this chart. You have to wade through the entire report (available here) to understand all of this, but here are nice sparkly points:
- This is based on reporting to the FBI by various law enforcement agencies. (16,551 law enforcement agencies, reporting 6,572,870 incidents involving 7,688,645 offenses, 8,116,849 victims, and 6,543,257 known offenders, and 3,931,924 arrestees.
- These law enforcement agencies use varying methods of classify and reporting assaults and homicides. Some lump all firearms together and others break them out. That is why the numbers above do look a bit weird.
It is interesting to note that although a total of about 7,500 people were murdered in 2019, this is barely more than HALF the number murdered in 2009, 14,748 dead. (This compares to 36,096 people killed in traffic accidents in the States in 2019: less than half.)
It is also worth noting that even if EVERY “firearm” killing listed were using a rifle (and you can be sure they were not), rifles (long arms) still are used to kill people less than pistols. But rifles – especially “assault weapons” – receive far more condemnation than pistols. Even though pistols are used more often.
Why? Once “Saturday night specials” were pretty much taken off the market and the streets, the campaign against pistols, sidearms, seems to have slacked off. At least as compared to the campaign against “assault” rifles and “sniper rifles” and the like.
Could this be because while pistols may generally be more useful against “regular” criminals, rifles are best for other purposes? A pistol is a handy defense against muggers, rapists, stick-up artists and even most home invaders. Even though it is more convenient to commit suicide, use in escalating a fight, or in domestic violence.
Several ideas come to mind:
- It is easier to demonize long arms as “military” and “very powerful” and “cop-killers.” The propaganda campaign is long, well-funded, and eager to stretch every possible idea. No matter how much they stretch or deny the truth, the concept has been planted deep in most people: rifles are more deadly and must be dealt with first.
- Long arms, when carried, are perceived as more menacing, because they are more prominent. This reinforces the propaganda of point 1.
- Fewer people own rifles, and many of those are in rural and frontier areas – not in the large cities. This lets the propaganda zoom in on people seen as ill-educated, hicks, and prone to be violent. Hunting is a myth to people who think that meat comes from a supermarket.
- Rifles are seen as more of a threat to tyrannical regimes who steal liberty. Therefore they have a higher priority for the hoplophobes.
Whatever the reasons for this spin on the overall effort to disarm us, the best defense against the propaganda is the truth. People are killed by many different methods of which firearms are just one. We must point that out, and then point out that we do not respond to knives, clubs and other blunt objects – much less cars and drugs, in the same manner.
Not that an argument from logic works well with emotion-driven people. But it is an approach that will work (and has worked) with some people.
Also, that means that we have to recognize the truth and resist the propaganda ourselves.
Ultimately, perhaps the best approach to counter this sort of propaganda is to work to reduce the powers of government to enforce bans against firearms. Courtesy of the Second Amendment, it is much harder for the gun-grabbers to get their way by influencing the voters and sending them into a panic. Taking back power in ALL aspects of life, not just self-defense, should be easier than just concentrating on weapons. That strategy worked well over the past few decades, but it may have reached the limits of utility in 2020.