What Happens When the Media Narrative™ on Gun Control Loses Traction?

They go back to scaaaaary numbers!  And they beat their drums made from the skins of dead children.

Terrible tally: 500 children dead from gunshots every year, 7,500 hurt, analysis finds

That’s the headline. Here’s the first line of the piece (emphasis mine):

About 500 American children and teenagers die in hospitals every year after sustaining gunshot wounds — a rate that climbed by nearly 60 percent in a decade, according to the first-ever accounting of such fatalities, released Sunday.

Children and teens – which includes 18 and 19 year-old “children” who are legally adults.

But wait! It gets better!

In addition, an estimated 7,500 kids are hospitalized annually after being wounded by gunfire, a figure that spiked by more than 80 percent from 1997 to 2009, according two Boston doctors presenting their findings at a conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held in Orlando, Fla.

Eight of every 10 firearm wounds were inflicted by handguns, according to hospital records reviewed by the doctors. They say the national conversation about guns should shift toward the danger posed by smaller weapons, not the recent fights over limiting the availability of military-style, semi-automatic rifles.

So the urgent need to reinstate the assault weapon ban is not so urgent after all?

Just as an aside, I did a Google search on the name of one of the authors, Dr. Arin L. Madenci. Google returned 9,380 hits. The first eight pages are almost exclusively this announcement. Of the dozen or so stories I scanned, not one had a link to the actual report, just the database that spawned it.

So let’s look at some numbers.

The NBC piece states:

Madenci, and his colleague, Dr. Christopher Weldon, a surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital, tallied the new statistics by culling a national database of 36 million pediatric hospitalizations from 1997 to 2009, the most recent year for which figures are available.
During that period, hospitalizations of kids and teens aged 20 and younger from gunshot wounds jumped from 4,270 to 7,730. Firearm deaths of children logged by hospitals rose from 317 in 1997 to 503 in 2009, records showed.

Wait – “aged 20 and younger? I thought we were talking “children and teens”?

The Centers for Disease Control has a tool, WISQARS, which stands for Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System. It has subsections on fatal injury, non-fatal injury, and violent injury statistics, though the last covers only sixteen states and is “not nationally representative.” That’s OK though. The fatal and non-fatal statistics can be searched by “violence-related” or “unintentional.” The CDC numbers go through 2010.

In 1997, according to the CDC, for “children” aged 0-19 there were 4,223 gunshot fatalities, not 317. Apparently the overwhelming majority of these gunshot fatalities never made it to a hospital. The non-fatal data only goes back to 2000, so I can’t do a comparison, but you’d think they’d want to use the higher number. But here’s the interesting part where this “news” piece becomes an opinion piece without bothering to inform you of the fact:  of the total of 1,005 words in the NBC piece, the first 298 of them are about the study and its results. The remaining 707 are about how you should feel about it. They relate to the tragic death of 3-year-old Will McAnaul who died from an accidentally self-inflicted gunshot wound. As I have said before, this is the kind of thing that really irritates me. As I said then:
 Now, what are you to infer from this? You are to infer that the majority of these injuries and deaths are accidental, are you not?

Let’s look at the CDC’s numbers in more depth.

For 1997, children 0-12 years of age, gunshot fatalities: 318
Unintentional: 84
Violence-related (includes suicide): 226
Known suicide: 20

Eighty-four accidental deaths. Over two hundred homicides.

For 1997, children 13-19, gunshot fatalities: 3,905 (12.63/100,000 population)
Unintentional: 222
Violence related: 3,616
Suicide: 1,242

That means 2,374 were homicides.

Let’s jump to 2009.

Children 0-12, gunshot fatalities: 209
Unintentional: 44
Violence-related: 156
Suicide: 14

Age 13-19 total gunshot fatalities: 2,502 (8.25/100,000 population)
Unintentional: 90
Violence-related: 2,383
Suicide: 735

Excuse me?

The story plainly states that:

…hospitalizations of kids and teens aged 20 and younger from gunshot wounds jumped from 4,270 to 7,730. Firearm deaths of children logged by hospitals rose from 317 in 1997 to 503 in 2009, records showed.

But the Centers for Disease Control data also plainly states that the total “firearm deaths” of children aged from birth to nineteen years of age went from 4,223 to 2,811 – a decrease of 1,412 in raw numbers and a death rate decrease of almost 63%Accidental death by gunshot dropped by 60%.

And all of this in the face of expanding “shall-issue” concealed-carry legislation, and at least four million new guns being purchased each yearat least half of them handguns.

The CDC numbers are far higher than those used by Doctors Arin L. Madenci and Christopher Weldon, and they are nothing to be proud of, but they trend DOWN, and dramatically. You can’t frighten people with declining statistics. Instead, they had to find numbers they could cherry-pick to support The Narrative™ that guns are a disease vector, and that more guns = more “gun deaths.”

And every news service in the country, and many more worldwide picked up the “story” (and I use that word with dripping sarcasm) and ran with it.

LAYERS of editorial fact-checking!!

Agenda?  What agenda?

Remember, they’re The Other Side.  It’s what they do.  It’s all they do.  And they absolutely will not stop.

So we can’t either.

UPDATE: NBC reporter Bill Briggs, who wrote the linked article, is on Facebook. I asked him about his story. Specifically, I asked:  “Mr. Briggs, I read your piece. Don’t you guys have fact checkers?”  His response:

The study conducted by these surgical residents came from the first-ever data mining of firearms injuries/deaths from this statistical set (KID). It warrants coverage. We noted in the article that this pediatric database typically includes anyone 20 and under (although for one year of data, the cut off was younger). We typically try to put faces and personal stories with any numbers reported in all our stories, no matter the topic.

I asked him:

Doesn’t it bother you – even a little – that they reported a significant increase in fatalities (317 in 1997 to 503 in 2009) while the Centers for Disease Control reported a significant DECREASE in fatalities (and a MUCH higher total count)? Does that not tell you that the KID statistical set is pretty much USELESS for the purpose they put it to (if you don’t assume that their purpose was to push gun control)? Doesn’t THAT “warrant coverage”? Doesn’t it make you ask “Why”?

We’ll see if he replies.

UPDATE II:  He did.  Here’s the remainder of the exchange:

Yes, we cover all those trend lines.

Also, if you read the abstract written by these two surgeons, you’ll note that they are not pushing a social agenda. They speak to the statistics from a clinical perspective. They only venture slightly down that road when citing the higher percentage of handgun injuries in contrast to ongoing debates about so-called assault rifles.

Bill, where was the link to the abstract in your piece? I saw links only to the KID website and to Patcine McAnaul’s blog. (And though you chose Will McAnaul as the face for your story, I think even you would admit that stating his case “may” have been one included in the data is stretching it. He was “declared dead” at the hospital, not admitted.)

I saw no mention of “trend lines” other than “hospitalizations of kids and teens aged 20 and younger from gunshot wounds jumped from 4,270 to 7,730. Firearm deaths of children logged by hospitals rose from 317 in 1997 to 503 in 2009, records showed.”

With respect to the doctors, you don’t find this comment suggestive? “Policies designed to reduce the number of household firearms, especially handguns, may more effectively reduce the number of gunshot injuries in children,” Madenci said.

This INSISTS that “the number of gunshot injuries in children” is INCREASING – an assertion BELIED by the CDC data that says it’s DECREASING – dramatically – WITHOUT such “policies” despite the increasing number of firearms in private hands – especially handguns.

In short, your piece provides false information in support of a false narrative, but it “warrants coverage” while the truth – as uncomfortable as it is – does not.

And you wonder why people no longer trust the media?

Thank you for your thoughts. The American Academy of Pediatrics can offer additional information on this research.

Thank you for your responses.

As my daughter said to me tonight on the telephone, “I kept waiting for him to respond, and he never did.”

Quote of the Day – Larry Correia Edition

You bitch about America at the protests, where our police handle you with kid gloves. You pose like little anarchist douchebags in your Guy Fawkes masks (my GOD! These people are ignorant of history!) throw bricks at the cops and destroy other people’s property, and then scream and cry about your civil rights being violated, all while demanding to be more like other countries that would just machinegun you in the streets and be done with it. Monster Hunter Nation, Hate Mail Response to my Hate Mail! (and I Godwin the hell out of this post)

That’s the last paragraph. RTWT.


For that matter, future classroom teachers must search far in ed-school syllabi to find a single reference to any of (E.D.) Hirsch’s work—yet required readings by radical education thinkers such as Paulo Freire, Jonathan Kozol, and ex-Weatherman Bill Ayers are common. From these texts, prospective teachers will learn that the purpose of schooling in America isn’t to create knowledgeable, civic-minded citizens, loyal to the nation’s democratic institutions, as Jefferson dreamed, but rather to undermine those institutions and turn children into champions of “social justice” as defined by today’s America-hating far Left.

E. D. Hirsch’s Curriculum for Democracy, by Sol Stern, City Journal Autumn 2009

Next, The One Will Walk On Water

Next, “The One” Will Walk On Water

It’s the headline of every news outlet in the country: Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize!

Everybody together now: FOR WHAT?!? I suspect I now know the reason why CNN “fact-checked” that Saturday Night Live sketch with such earnestness.

I’m with the London Times:

Rarely has an award had such an obvious political and partisan intent. It was clearly seen by the Norwegian Nobel committee as a way of expressing European gratitude for an end to the Bush Administration, approval for the election of America’s first black president and hope that Washington will honour its promise to re-engage with the world.

Instead, the prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronising in its intentions and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace.

Honestly, I didn’t think the Nobel Peace Prize could get any more “preposterous in its claims, patronising in its intentions and demeaning” than when it was given to Al Gore, but I was WRONG!

UPDATE: Instapundit is staying on top of the snark.

Want a Quick Overview on “Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming”?

I strongly recommend you watch the 50-minute film produced by Warren Meyer, the proprietor of Coyote Blog and Climate Skeptic. (Of course Warren can be ignored by the Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming faithful – he once worked for Exxon, and admits it!)

Warren offers multiple options for viewing his video. I just downloaded and watched the Windows Media version.

Compare the information in his video to this 30-second “Public Dis-Service” commercial designed to frighten our children:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QU7BO35n47I&hl=en&w=425&h=355]

I am now thoroughly convinced that “Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming” is nothing more or less than the latest incarnation of Rachael Carlson’s “Silent Spring” and Paul Erlich’s “Population Bomb” – another excuse to politicize all aspects of life, and to frighten the population into giving unlimited power to government officials in order to “save us from ourselves.”

As Richard Thripp at the YouTube site commented on the “Tick, Tick” video:

Together we can obliterate self-sovereignty!

That is the plan. And that is the Quote of the Day.

“When I Want a Legal Opinion on Gun Control, I Ask a Doctor!”

 or “For the Best Advice on Health Care, Consult the NRA!”

I downloaded the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy “Fact Sheet” (and those quotes are there for ALL the reasons) on “Myths and Facts: Lawsuits brought by Cities or Injured Persons Against the Gun Industry.”

Allow me to fisk it. (Hey, it’s lunchtime. I’ve got an hour to kill.)

“Since 1998 more than 30 cities and counties in the United States have filed lawsuits against the firearm industry for the deaths, injuries, and other costs associated with guns.”

Um, no. Associated with the misuse of guns. That’s a critical distinction which I will return to.

Myth: Guns are a lawful product so manufacturers should not be held liable for selling them.”

This is a myth? Anheuser Busch isn’t “held liable” for selling beer, even though alcohol is misused and is a component in more death than guns ever were. Ford isn’t “held liable” for selling cars, though they’re used in the commission of crimes.

FACT: Makers of every other product are subject to at least some liability – especially if they fail to take some reasonable steps to reduce the chance that their product will harm someone. This is how the U.S. legal system works. Guns should be no different.”

Well, THAT clears it up. Question: Don’t gun grabbers control supporters claim that “guns are made solely to kill people?” Um, then how do you “reduce the chance” that a product – designed to kill – will “harm someone?” Don’t think too hard about that – your brain will explode.

You see, the difference here is that the lawsuits are not protesting that guns are defective, but that they’re Effective. If they filed a lawsuit against, say, Lorcin protesting that they made crappy guns that you couldn’t depend on and that would fall apart if you ran more than one magazine through one (assuming you could get a magazine through one) then that would be a product liability suit. But that’s not what they’re doing. They’re filing suit because the guns do what they’re designed to do: throw a small metal pellet at high velocity in the direction the weapon is pointed, when the loose nut behind the trigger pulls said trigger.

That’s not a failure of the gun manufacturers, it’s a failure of the operator. Case in point, watch this negligent discharge. There’s not a thing wrong with that gun except the moron with her finger on the trigger. When she pulled it, the gun fired just like it’s designed to do.

They counter:

“Myth: Holding gunmakers liable for injuries caused by guns would be like holding car manufacturers liable for injures caused by drunk drivers.”

Yeah, I just said that. But nooooo they claim:

FACT: It is important to understand that lawsuits against gunmakers do not argue that the manufacturers should be liable simply because they make and sell guns. Instead they argue that there are things the manufacturer could do – but knowingly choose not to do – to make their products less likely to harm children and others, or to be used by criminals. It’s the gun manufacturers’ failure to take these reasonable and feasable steps that the lawsuits assert should make them liable. Put another way: if a car maker designed a car so that even a young child could easily operate it without permission (e.g., it didn’t need a key to start), or marketed the car (somehow) to appeal directly to drunk-drivers, we would think they were liable.”

Well, that’s interesting legerdemain. I’ve seen some of the things they want put on guns to make them “less likely to harm children.” Locks, EXTREMELY heavy triggers, magazine disconnects. Things that POLICE DEPARTMENTS eschew because the primary purpose of a handgun is self-defense, and these things make it likely that when you NEED the gun, it won’t function. It’s interesting that in the laws passed requiring the implementation of “smartgun” technologies – ostensibly to do what these lawsuits are pursuing – the police are EXEMPTED from having to implement the new technology. (Question: Are car manufacturers the subject of lawsuits because the market a product (insanely fast cars) to SPEEDERS?)

Regardless, the court isn’t the place to go in order to force manufacturers to change their products, the legislature is. They’ve tried that and failed. I love this quote from an honest judge:

As an individual, I believe, very strongly, that handguns should be banned and that there should be stringent, effective control of other firearms. However, as a judge, I know full well that the question of whether handguns can be sold is a political one, not an issue of products liability law, and that this is a matter for the legislatures, not the courts. The unconventional theories advanced in this case (and others) are totally without merit, a misuse of products liability laws.” — Judge Buchmeyer, Patterson v. Gesellschaft, 1206 F.Supp. 1206, 1216 (N.D. Tex. 1985)

Gee, ya THINK? And Judge Buchmeyer isn’t alone.

“The Court finds as a matter of law that the risks associated with the use of a firearm are open and obvious and matters of common knowledge.”
– Judge Ruehlman, Court of Common Pleas of Ohio, City of Cincinnati v. Beretta U.S.A. Corp. et al., No. A9902369, 1999 WL 809838, *1 (Ohio Com.Pl. Oct. 7, 1999).

“In the view of this Court, the City’s complaint is an improper attempt to have this Court substitute its judgment for that of the legislature, which this Court is neither inclined nor empowered to do.” Ibid. at *1.

“In substance, the City and its Mayor opt to engage in efforts at arbitrary social reform by invoking the process of the Judicial Branch of Government, where apparently the City perceives, but fails to allege, irreversible failures in the appropriate Legislative Branch(s) of Government….The City should not be permitted to invoke the jurisdiction of this Court to overlay or supplement existing civil and criminal ‘gun’ statutes and processes (either state and federal) by means of a series of judicial fiats which, when taken together, would only create a body of ‘judge made gun laws’.”
– Special Judge James J. Richards, Lake Superior Court, County of Lake, City of Gary v. Smith & Wesson, Cause No. 45D05-005-CT-243, slip op. 7 (Ind. Super. Ct. Jan. 12, 2001).

“The County’s request that the trial court use its injunctive powers to mandate redesign of firearms and declare that the appellees’ business methods create a public nuisance, is an attempt to regulate firearms and ammunition through the medium of the judiciary…. The County’s frustration cannot be alleviated through litigation as the judiciary is not empowered to ‘enact’ regulatory measures in the guise of injunctive relief. The power to legislate belongs not to the judicial branch of government but to the legislative branch.”
– Judge J.J. Fletcher, District Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District, Penelas v. Arms Technology, Inc., 778 So.2d 1042, 1045

There have been 33 lawsuits of this type filed. The majority have been rejected on the grounds Judge Buchmeyer cites, or other grounds having to do with the appropriateness of trying to use the courts to accomplish ends the courts are not there for. A couple have been dropped after wending their way through the appeals system, and a few are still pending. But it only takes one to get a judgement that will put the gun manufacturer(s) out of business, and the cost of fighting these cases is enough to severely wound the manufacturers. And THAT is the goal.

Whoops! Lunchtime is over. I’ll come back to this, as there is more crunchy goodness to fisk.