The media has been abuzz for months about how evil guns are and how we would be so much better if they all went away. Every news program has dedicated considerable time to allowing anti-gunners to espouse their rhetoric while making little effort to balance the reports. While there are times they’ll have both sides on a program to debate, they’ll also interview anti-gunners independently like David Hogg or his cohorts.
If they do bring on someone like Wayne LaPierre, the interview tends to be hostile rather than the fawning praise the Parkland kids get.
Now, the media gets something they desperately want. They get data they’ll use to back up their arguments that “gun violence” is out of control.
Shooting homicides are on the rise, though other common methods of murder remain flat, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The most common method of killing another person from 2010 through 2016 was by using a gun, Thursday’s CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report indicates. Knives or other tools that cut or pierced were the second most-common homicide method during that period, while the third most common was suffocation. Overall, gun murders accounted for nearly 70.5% of total homicides — more than two-thirds — for the period.All three methods of homicide remained stable from 2010 through 2014. However, for the two-year period after that, gun homicides increased 31%, from 11,008 shooting deaths in 2014 to 14,415 in 2016. The two other top methods remained stable between 2014 and 2016.As a result, the number of gun homicides was about 8 times higher than those involving knives (1,781) and about 30 times higher than those involving suffocation (502) in 2016.Part of the sharp upward curve beginning in 2014 may be because of a surge of violence in a small number of cities, including Chicago, Baltimore, St. Louis and Kansas City, said Daniel Webster, a professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The question I have is whether the CDC has looked at the role the media might have played in this. I mean, I’m not saying the media is directly responsible for this upsurge in violence, but maybe the reason guns are being used more is because criminals are being told how deadly guns are, thus buying into it and arming themselves with firearms.
In other words, is this the chicken, or the egg?
Of course, the big problem is that something like that is incredibly difficult to quantify, if not impossible. Media coverage may well have something to do with the upsurge in gun violence, but they’ll never admit it even if it can be uncovered.
All that said, there’s one important fact that CNN failed to mention, and that is how the number of defensive gun uses is many times greater than the number of homicides that used firearms. While there are a reported 14,415 firearm-related homicides in 2016, there are still anywhere between 100,000 and 3 million defensive gun uses each year.
In fact, a recent study by the CDC found:
Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed (Cook and Ludwig, 1996; Kleck, 2001a). Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010).
The study does go on to note the discrepancy between estimates, but also notes that surveys with a low estimate also tend to not ask about defensive gun uses, which makes those estimates less than useless.
This gets ignored in reports regarding an increase in “gun violence.”
Wonder why that is?