The media was all abuzz last week over the news that gun deaths were up this year to the highest point they’d been since 1999. This follows the better part of a year-long full-court press for gun control by the supposedly unbiased mainstream media.
It’s clear to anyone who doesn’t have their head buried in the sand that they’re trying to begin battlespace prep for the gun control fight in the House coming after the first of the year.
There’s just one problem with that statistic they were so thrilled to see. It’s horribly misleading.
If you’re thinking of venturing outside your home today, the news may change your mind. “Gun deaths in US reach highest level in nearly 40 years, CDC data reveal,” blared Thursday’s headline on CNN.com. A press release from Everytown for Gun Safety noted that “39,773 people were killed by gun violence in 2017 — approximately 1,100 more than were killed by motor vehicle accidents.”
The picture these announcements evoke is of mass shootings and random gun crimes that pose a mortal danger to every American. But that image is not quite accurate. The number of homicides actually declined last year — and is believed to have fallen again this year. Our streets have gotten safer.
So what gives? When gun control advocates cite “gun deaths,” they are not talking just about slayings of people by other people. Sixty percent of these deaths, it turns out, are not homicides but suicides.
“The rate of suicide in general increased from 2016 to 2017, and the increase was actually greater for the non-firearm suicide rate than for the firearm suicide rate,” Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck tells me — “suggesting that something that affects suicide but is unrelated to firearms is responsible for the recent suicide increase.”
To lump suicides with homicides is to confuse the gun issue. The causes behind American murders explain very little about American suicides. Murder victims are disproportionately African-American. The suicide rate, by contrast, is three times higher among whites than blacks.
In other words, the issue here is that more people took their own life than normal.
That’s not a gun issue, that’s a mental health issue. Something is driving people to take their own lives at an increasing rate.
Personally, I think the media is more to blame for this increase than the availability of firearms. After all, who is pushing doom-and-gloom as status quo? It’s sure as hell not Smith & Wesson or Glock.
But tune in to CNN, and it’ll tell you all the reasons why the world is completely screwed, all while pretending it’s the unbiased source of information. This can be more than some people can take. They look at the world, they look at the problems in their own lives and figure there’s no other option.
Now, I’m not calling for regulation of the news media. Freedom of the press is just as important to me as the right to keep and bear arms, even if the press is doing a poor job of living up to their responsibilities. Besides, this is just my hot take.
Further, we have to acknowledge an important fact about suicides. Ultimately, it’s a personal decision someone makes. While I won’t say it doesn’t affect other people, they are making the conscious choice to end their own lives. You’re not going to stop it by trying to eliminate a preferred method of suicide.
Consider that Japan has a suicide rate that makes ours look like rookie numbers, yet there are no firearms.
That’s right. Gun control isn’t an answer to suicides. But that won’t stop the gun-grabbing media from trying to pretend otherwise.