Advice every parent needs to hear about firearm safety.
This week, an 8-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old sister in California.
“It’s a tragic case of a sibling who picked up a firearm, thinking it was a toy, pointed it at his sister and discharged one round from the firearm, striking her in the head,” said Vacaville Police Sgt. Charlie Spruill.
But these aren’t freak accidents. More than 500 children die annually from accidental gunshots. Some shoot themselves, while others kill friends or siblings after discovering a gun.
Here are more scary stats: Americans own 200 million firearms, and 35 percent of homes contain at least one gun. Last year, a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 1.7 million children live in homes with loaded and unlocked guns.
There’s more, but this is enough.
The part I’ve emphasized in bold? It’s a lie.
It’s a blatant, bold-faced lie.
It’s also not an isolated incident. It’s not even uncommon. For example, I have more than once pointed to a March 2000 Salon article by Jean Hanff Korelitz, What a few good women can do (still available on the site, you’ll note) where she states in no uncertain terms:
And what about the more than 4,000 children who die in gun-related accidents each year? That’s 11 kids a day. And we’re not talking about crimes, or intentional shootings. We’re talking — or not talking enough — about accidents.
Korelitz says it’s 4,000 a year. Ten years later, Momlogic says it’s 500.
Why aren’t we celebrating the eight-fold reduction in accidental gunshot deaths of children?
Because they’re lying to you. Remember, they’re The Other Side.
So what are the real numbers? Well, let’s go back to the first excerpt where Momlogic‘s piece states:
Last year, a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 1.7 million children live in homes with loaded and unlocked guns.
Wow. 1.7 million potential accidental gunshot deaths, each and every day. But I repeat this line to illustrate that the writer of the Momlogic piece is aware of the Centers for Disease Control. This might lead one to believe that the author could be aware of the CDC’s WISQARS tools. The Momlogic piece insists that the accidental death toll is 500 children a year. Let’s stipulate that “accident” means “unintentional,” and “children” are legally defined as seventeen years old or less. How many children died of accidental gunshot in 2006 (latest available data)?
One hundred and two. (102!)
That’s a factor of FIVE fewer than the headline states.
Well! What about 2005?
What about when Ms. Korelitz was decrying the “fact” that we “weren’t talking enough” about the “more than 4,000 children who die in gun-related accidents each year”?
Here’s the available CDC data (you trust the .gov, right?) tabulated from 1990 up through 2006:
Not 4,000. Not 500. Two hundred seventy-two in 1996 (four years before Ms. Korelitz wrote her piece) and 102 in 2006 (four years before the Momlogic piece).
Each and every one of those deaths is a tragedy for the family or families involved. Why aren’t the actual numbers ever enough for our opponents? Why must they inflate them?
And why aren’t we CELEBRATING a four-fold reduction in the accidental gunshot deaths of children over the past twenty years even as well over 60 million new guns have entered circulation during that same period? Remember: supposedly there are 1.7 MILLION households with loaded, unsecured firearms in them that children could be exposed to. I’d say that an annual accidental gunshot death toll of 102 is damned near miraculously small, especially given the fact that 509 children under the age of five died of accidental drowning in 2006 alone.
One more: Why hasn’t Salon or Ms. Korelitz ever published a retraction of her absurd assertion? (Never mind. That last one was rhetorical.)