When you’re a gun rights advocate, you always know the media is against you. With the exception of a handful of venues such as Fox News and One America News Network, most of the pro-gun media exists on the internet. Sites like Bearing Arms are a significant part of that media, while the anti-gun activists have pull with NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, and a whole host of newspaper and websites.
One of the worst is Salon, which yesterday decided to go after NRATV host Grant Stinchfield in a post titled, “NRATV host: People who kill themselves with guns don’t count.”
In counting down top-three fake news stories about guns from 2017, NRATV host Grant Stinchfield asserted that suicides by firearms shouldn’t be counted as “gun deaths,” even though they very clearly are deaths by gun. Fancy that.
“The final fake news of the year comes in the form of a statistic, the overused 30,000 gun deaths a year,” Stinchfield said. “The left never mentions that two-thirds of those include suicides. Yet it is a number thrown around like confetti. And it’s deceptive to say the least. From The Washington Post to The New York Times, they all use it to wage war on gun ownership.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 36, 252 gun-related deaths in 2015, and while nearly 13,000 were homicides, 22,018 were suicides. In 2016, data from the Centers showed that gun deaths have increased for the second year in a row.
Yes, those are the statistics, and as Stinchfield notes, almost two-thirds of them are suicides.
But Salon knows that, obviously. They know that Stinchfield is factually correct. What they are upset about is that he disagrees with using suicide statistics alongside accidents and homicides.
However, Salon decided to make it personal. Writer Rachel Leah took this fair comment regarding the interpretation of statistics and tried to paint Stinchfield as a callous, uncaring individual who doesn’t believe those who commit suicides matter. Stinchfield said nothing of the kind.
The thing is, Stinchfield is right. Those who are determined to kill themselves are unlikely to be persuaded to not commit suicide simply because a firearm isn’t handy. There are still pills aplenty, tall buildings, cliffs, and rope, just to name a few options. None of those are a topic for debate, either. By including those numbers into the statistic, gun control advocates are intentionally inflating the number of gun deaths to be more bombastic and terrifying to those who are unfamiliar with just what that number means.
No one is saying people who commit suicide don’t matter. What we’re saying is that using them in a statistic that is constantly being bandied about to describe gun violence is disingenuous, to say the least. It creates a mist where the same of the problem is distorted to look even bigger than it is. The unabashed implication is that without firearms, all of these people would be alive.
Yet with suicide, that’s not really the case. It’s impossible to convince many of us that absent firearm access, those with suicidal ideations wouldn’t grab a pack of razor blades and a bottle of tequila and do the deed. You just can’t.
Studies that try to imply otherwise are making assumptions about things they can’t possibly know about. Especially since Russia, Japan, and France, all nations with tough anti-firearm laws, also have far more suicides than the United States.
That’s the point Stinchfield was making, and it’s the right one. Suicides should not be included in statistics used to describe violent crime. They made a choice, one born of pain and suffering, but it was a choice they made for themselves. I won’t pretend to condone it, but I understand it.
What I don’t understand is how anyone could see that and think it belongs in the same category as a gangbanger killed in a drive-by.