Right now, guns are being demonized. It seems everyone outside of the die-hard pro-gun factions is entertaining the idea of gun control. After all, we’re told, we’re in the midst of an epidemic of violence. Guns are killing people wholesale. Presidential candidates are claiming that guns kill more people than anything else. Worse, though, people buy it.
We’ve already seen how violent crime is actually down for 2018. Yet people think it’s worse.
However, I can see how that happens. Crimes that were common simply couldn’t be reported on because it’s impossible to cover all of them. When they become less common, it’s possible to report on them and the perception becomes that the problem is worse rather than better.
I’ve argued that’s part of what happens, but I’m not going to let the media off the hook. Why? Because they’ve gone out of their way to fail to inform the public on the reality of not just crime but also gun-related fatalities.
Mass shootings may grab the headlines, but suicides are by far the leading category of gun death in America. However, most Americans don’t know this, according to a new national poll from APM Research Lab, Call To Mind and Guns & America.
Experts say this misperception is handcuffing suicide prevention efforts.
The poll asked more than 1,000 Americans what they think the leading cause of gun deaths is.
Thirty-three percent of respondents chose homicides outside of mass shootings, while 25% thought that mass shootings caused the most gun deaths. Only 23% correctly identified suicides as the leading cause. The remaining respondents chose accidental shootings or said they didn’t know.
In other words, the media has spent so much time and effort prattling on about mass shootings and pushing those as the major problem, people have a skewed perspective on whether or not they’re a real problem. A third of the population apparently believes that most people shot and killed are murdered in mass shootings.
Meanwhile, only a small handful are, as the report goes on to note:
In reality, fully 60% of gun deaths in the U.S. every year are suicides.
Horrific as they are, mass shootings represent a tiny fraction of gun deaths in America. They account for a few hundred deaths every year, as compared to an average of roughly 19,000 gun suicide deaths. There were 23,854 suicides by firearm in 2017, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And even with a murder rate well above other developed nations, gun homicides, which account for roughly 12,000 deaths per year in the U.S, are a distant second compared to suicides.
What bothers me most about this is that suicide is far more preventable. It’s a mental health issue that needs to be addressed from that angle. Trying to interfere with gun rights because someone might commit suicide is stupid, in part because it’s not the only way to commit suicide but also in part because it completely ignores the suffering a suicidal person is going through. It focuses on the tool and not the human being that is dealing with internal torment.
Yet the media has remained focused on things like mass shootings and murders and has willfully ignored the reality of most so-called “gun deaths” being people taking their own lives. They love to cite the total number of “gun deaths” without bothering to break them down into their component parts such as homicides and suicides. While it would be easy to chalk this up to laziness, the truth is that they’ve had this pointed out to them enough times to know better.
No, I have to conclude this is willful.
Because of that, the American public is woefully misinformed about just how most people shot and killed end up that way. While I tend to believe that you should never chalk up to maliciousness that which can easily be explained by incompetence, I just don’t think that’s the case this time around.
Mainstream media? Do your jobs correctly for a change.